We’ve all heard the “he won’t remember this” or “you’re bringing the kids?!” comments.
I get it but I respectfully and hardcore disagree. We have a young family and this season is brutal sometimes so when we getaway, I want them part of the highlights.
Maybe our dinners are cut short and I’m packing 3 bags instead of one each time we move but the memories are sweeter, louder, and it feels more like a gift to do life together in the ordinary after experiencing the extraordinary together.
Young moms!! I had to change a poop diaper in an airplane bathroom, was up at 4am often (time change), and was traveling with a lunch box to provide snacks on demand. I’m not trying to say it was easy always, just worth it. So like all things, don’t let those comments stop you from going for it.
Clients frequently ask me for advice on how to travel with littles so I’ll try but I’ll let you know what I’ve (imperfectly) learned along the way. Keep in mind that family travel days aren’t always easy, but the memories are well worth it. Second, go into this family time with the mindset that you’re going on a ‘trip,’ not a ‘vacation.’
These two things will put you in the right frame of mind to power through the unpredictability of travel and focus on the positive. Talk through your WHY for this trip with your travel partners. Is it to create memories of a lifetime? A milestone occasion? Whatever it may be, keep your why top of mind during the chaos of getting there.
(1) Stroller Gate Check: even though you might end up carrying your babes, the stroller works as a luggage carrier or catch all and any form of extra hand is a WIN.
Bonus tip: buy stroller/car seat bags to keep your items protecting + you can throw in any extra blankets/diapers that you may need along the way!
(2) Air Tags: Let’s be real. You never really know what you’re going to get when bringing littles on a long distance flight but knowing my checked bags will be in my destination when I arrive is one less thing to worry about.
(3) TSA Pre: Guys!! I don’t know why I’ve waited this long!! I’ve traveled through TSA where they scanned the formula, made me take the wheels off my stroller, and take apart each and every carefully packed item. All while you can feel eyes of others on you while you keeps your kids close while repacking EVERYTHING. This is a must. Took us maybe a quarter of the time to get through the line.
(4) Airport Lounge: free food, drinks, family bathrooms with private changing tables…it’s a different experience.
Bonus: my kids eat often, and not that much. Stella’s lunch box is bulky but portable food is worth the extra weight. I was able to refill with muffins and fruits from the lounge to go for our next flights! Fresher/Healthier than airport snacks.
(5) Bulkhead Seats: Once on the plane, the scariest part of flying with kids is other passengers! Have the bulk head allows your kids to get up in front of their seat, walk freely between you and your travel companions, and allows for some floor space to play! If you are traveling with a lap infant, a bassinet (if available) can be attached the wall in front of you. So when your little one final falls asleep, they have their own space and so do you. Click here if you want to learn more about the bassinet option.
Now onto the items that make traveling with littles less of a headache:
While the above will elevate your travel experience, here’s a quick packing check-list for items I’ve learned through experience should always make it in your carry-on:
Keep all of your important documents in one place. You’ll need your passports and boarding passes, but don’t forget any necessary visas and a pen for filling out arrival cards. If you’re traveling alone with young children, bring a copy of your children’s birth certificates, as well as a copy of your marriage certificate or significant other’s passport.
Some countries are very strict about children traveling and will require a letter from the non-traveling parent stating that they are aware of the trip. When dealing with immigration authorities, it is always better to be safe than sorry.
Traveling teaches children to be adaptable and to embrace new experiences. Sure, their schedule may be thrown off, but you’re setting a great example of how to arrive prepared and enjoy the journey!