MAKE TRAVEL WITH TODDLERS EASIER.
The holidays can be the most hectic time of the year for parents. If you’re like me, we have to travel hours to relatives for the holidays, especially Christmas. In addition to the stress of traveling, add kids in the mix and you are destined for a stressful trip if you don’t plan. As a travel agent and expert mom traveler, I have experienced the good, bad, ugly, and pretty of travel with toddlers. I have taken my kids on road trips, airplanes, and a cruise ship.
I can remember the first time we took the twins on a road trip. They were 2 months old and my friend flew from Alabama to Texas and we took a road trip back to Alabama. We drove through Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, and back to Texas- all with two 2 month old’s and two 2 year old’s. Some said we were crazy, some said we were brave, I say we are mothers living life with our little ones.
The key to travel with toddlers is to plan, prepare, and over prepare.
Decide your mode of transportation.
Travel can include driving, airplanes, trains, buses, cargo vans, and a combination of all of these. To effectively plan, you need to decide how you will be traveling to know what you will need.
Packing is the most dreaded part of traveling, especially when you are traveling with kids. To simplify this process, the rules are simple. First, you should check the weather to see how you all should dress. Then pick out an outfit for each day. If you are traveling for 4 days, you want to start out with one outfit per day, per person. Separate each person’s clothes by size so you can keep track of how many outfits you already have for that person.
Similarly, you want to pick out backup outfits for half those days. In other words, if you are traveling for 4 days, you want to pack 2 backup outfits per person. If you have kids 3 and under, I highly suggest you pack backup outfits for each day, so if you are traveling for 4 days you will want to pack 4 backup outfits.
That’s only the first part! Sorry mama, this is a lot but so needed!
After that, time to pick out pajamas and special outfits! I always pack my girls 2 sets of pajamas no matter how long the trip. If you’re going to a special event or fancy dinner, don’t forget to pack those cute little suits and dresses.
No trip is success without snacks. For trips, you want to only bring foods that are in pouches, individual containers, and finger foods. Anything else will cause more of a headache for you. A week before your trip, make a list of your toddler’s favorite snacks. Once your list is complete, total up how much each child eats and stores to buy them from. This helps to plan out how much of each snack you need and decide if you need to buy it in bulk from stores like Sam’s Club or Costco or buy in smaller quantities from a local store. Once you have completed this part, go buy the snacks and pack them in travel bags. Make sure to keep the travel bag in arms reach of you for easy access.
However, If your kids have food preferences, make sure to put those foods in zip lock bags for easy distribution.
You know how Monopoly says “Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200”, you do not want to travel without activities for your kids. Not having activities will not make this a pleasant trip for anyone. We often opt for iPads, coloring books, and Play-Doh. These are our girls’ favorite activities and it makes the trip heavenly for us all. If you are not the mom to give your kid too much screen time, find activities that they can do on their own.
Do not forget your essentials. Make sure to pack all of your chargers, bathroom bags, extra diapers, extra pullups, and extra wipes. Most importantly, pack a changing pad in the event that your toddler has to be changed in a public restroom. Don’t be like me traveling with a baby that has a blowout as soon as the plane takes off and I had to smell poop for a 2 hour flight because I forgot to pack extra clothes. That’s a story for another time!
In conclusion, Travel with toddlers can differ for many people. For us, this is what works. Above all, do what you need to do to make this trip pleasant and cry free. For more travel tips subscribe below. If you’re ever traveling to Fort Worth, make sure you visit SeaQuest.