So, you want to plan a family vacation. But where do you begin?
Before every road trip, I like to visit our local dollar store and buy my kids a little something new. I like to purchase a small easy craft, stickers, crayons, coloring book, activity/tracing book, new toy and candy. Then, I pack each child their own special little backpack that is just for them and that they can wear. I splurged and bought them toddler backpacks from Pottery Barn, they have been the best investment so far.
If you are traveling by car or plane, bring plastic bags, road trips with kids can be messy. A plastic grocery bag keeps trash off the floor and seats. Bring a few along so you can toss them and hang a new one. They double as dirty clothes bags as well if someone has an accident. Pack extra clothes for your littles, as well as yourself. If your child is on your lap and has an accident on the plane YOU may need a change of shirt/pants as well. (Yes, this has happened to me too many times without having a change of clothing for myself.) Ha!
Pack some healthy snacks and drinks for the journey. Fresh/dried fruits, cheese sticks, trail mix, whole grain crackers and cereals. I always have a special treat, such as sucker that I use as a distraction while traveling to pass time and make them happy.
When packing for a trip, make sure to pack clothing for ALL weather types. The best thing to do is pack versatile outfits for your kids rather than an outfit they can only wear once. *Think layering* When packing your luggage, roll your clothes rather than folding, this allows for more room and actually keeps your clothes more organized. Travel Light. Shed the excess, you won’t need it. Pack light and pack with intention.
Do not over pack, you can buy diapers, wipes, formula, anything bulky once you get to where you are going. Babies and toddlers really don’t need as much as we’ve been led to believe they do. They need diapers, love, to eat, and a safe place to sleep. Pack what you need for the travel, not for the rest.
Flying….ALWAYS double check TSA rules and regulations, they are always changing. When packing a diaper bag, only bring the necessities, if using formula have it pre-measured out and in a small container with compartments. Pack double the amount you think you will need in case of delays and spillage. Fill your bottles with the desired water for easy mixing prior to boarding. If your child requires cows milk, make sure to bring it with you. You are allowed to bring water, milk, etc through TSA as long as you are traveling with a small child that needs it. They do not supply milk on planes. Bring food in pouches, it id much easier and less mess. snacks should be in small individual bags.
Usually you will need to take your baby out of the sling or stroller to walk through the metal detector, and usually they will want you to collapse the stroller and put it on the belt. If you’re flying alone, I recommend getting everything out you need to get out *before* you get in the security line. Wear slip on shoes, slip on pants, no belt and have everything organized in the diaper bag and be prepared to pull it out and have them test everything. You may even have to pass your baby to a stranger, if you have a lot of items to put on the belt.
The HARDEST thing about flying is going through TSA. If you travel a lot, I highly suggest TSA pre-check.
Did you know most airports have a kids play area? Its a designated room filled with things to climb on and let your kids run free. It is usually located by the food court.
In almost all flight situations, people with small children are allowed to board priority. I prefer not too, that’s more time I have to try to not restrain my kids. I let them run and climb everything before we board the plane. We are usually the last to board. Use your judgment, if you have a lot of stuff, board early.
You can take strollers and car seats all the way to the gate and they will check them for you for free. You do need to get a tag for them when you drop off your luggage, so make sure the agent gives you one at your gate.
When on the plane or in the car, kids will always complain if something smells. If you have a child that gets nauseated easily, bring peppermint oil, it soothes the belly. Hold the small bottle under their nose and have them inhale a small amount or dab a small amount on their shirt. If you have a child that gets car sick, I would recommend using purification and lemon essential oils to take the smell out. You can buy them through Young Living online.
Always bring a small, light weight blanket in the car or on the plane. They are easy to roll and tuck in a small bag. Swaddle blankets or a thin fleece blanket are perfect for traveling. Neck pillows are also great for toddlers, and they attached easily to the outside of their backpack so you don’t have to hold another thing. If driving I usually pack an extra blanket just in case someone has a blow-out.
When you are flying, NEVER APOLOGIZE TO FELLOW PASSENGERS FOR YOUR CHILDS BEHAVIOR. This is LITERALLY the hardest thing to do.
When it is hard, just remember, this too shall pass. Have a relaxed, whatever happens attitude. No flight ever lasted forever, no crying spell either, no cold, no jet lag.
Lets talk about pee and poo, going to the bathroom on the plane with your child is a struggle. I found that if you have a small baby, baby wearing while using the bathroom is the easiest. Wear slip on pants (leggings) for easy up and down. If you have a toddler, ask the flight attended to stand by the bathroom door with them while you go to the bathroom or have them sit with your child/children in your seat while you go if you are traveling alone.
Make sure you change diapers and potty kids right before boarding or getting into the car. Limit drinks and snacks until they really need/want them otherwise you will have a lot of unnecessary bathroom breaks. Do not change your child’s diaper in the seat or tray table of the plane. No one wants to smell or see that, lets be honest. No one cleans those things. There is always a diaper changer in one of the bathrooms that folds down over the toilet. If you are driving and don’t want to make a pit stop again just to change a diaper, consider pulling off on a ramp and pulling to the side to change a diaper or a rest area. Those plastic garbage bags keep coming in handy.
When you finally get to your destination or stopping for the night, a lot of hotels can provide a pack ‘n play or a small crib. Don’t lug one with you if you don’t have to. We signed up for IHG rewards and earn free hotel rooms since we usually stay at a Holiday Inn Express. They always have mini cribs available with the necessary bedding.
There are so many ways to travel, I am a minimalist by experience. Being organized is the key to a smooth, stress-free travel day, most importantly, allow extra time. –Jody Tomann, Story of this Mom blogger
My name is Jody! When I began writing my for my blog, Story of this Mom, I thought it would last a week and eventually fall into the category of things I have started and not finished. Now, here I am three years later still writing for my sanity. This is about me trying to live life with some grace and dignity while finding plenty of time to binge watch shows on Netflix, online shop, and run the household. I am thirty-four years old, I am married to my high school sweetheart and we have two beautiful spirited kids. Over the last fifteen years we have lived in seven states, I like to consider myself a gypsy at heart. We have been in Colorado for four years, where we are raising our family in a small mountain town. We travel to Wisconsin quite frequently to give our children the opportunity to make memories with their cousins and family. If I am not blogging, I am a DIY enthusiast, lover of all vintage and farm decor, coffee addict, traveling, and most importantly spending time with my family and friends. That’s who I am. Feel free to stick around. / Story of this Mom on Instagram / Story of this Mom blog.
Note: Jody is part of The Lake Country Mom contributor/blogging team. The Lake Country Mom is growing every single day! We are about to celebrate 5 years of blogging in lake country! The Lake Country Mom was started by a girl with a dream and a vision! Never did we ever think we would be so successful! So now here we are with a team! xo! Each contributor expresses their own thoughts views/stories with support as The Lake Country Mom as a whole.