When you're planning a trip and you've got a toddler and a baby, you might be shaking your head because who would sign up for torture on purpose? But I promise it's not impossible, and there are even a couple of things you can do to make it easy on you and your littles!
This month our little fam of 4 is meeting up with our extended family for a weeklong trip, and we'll be flying, renting a car, staying in a house with everyone, and we can't wait! This isn't the first time we've travelled with both of our little ones in tow, but since our son is 3 and our babe is almost 1, we're changing up the way that we're going to travel with them, and I thought these tips might help out families who are taking some trips this summer!
When you're traveling with kids you never want to get caught wishing you had brought something and only having the airport newsstand to stock up. So as crazy as it sounds, make a list! I make a list a couple of weeks prior to leaving for each of the kids, and a general list for the family. Most times I trust my husband to pack for himself, but on our last trip he forgot his toothbrush, so who's really the crazy one? By making a list of their outfits to be worn throughout the trip, any toiletries or medicines, bottles/dishes/bibs, blankets and even toys. By laying it all out I've got a better view of what we might need to buy before leaving, and helps me when packing!
Must Haves for Baby
Depending on your baby's age their travel essentials will change, but there are a couple of things that I think are absolute must haves when you're bringing baby along for the ride!
- A comfortable carrier is going to save your life! It lets you keep your hands free, which is a must if you're walking around and need to keep a hold on big brother's hand, roll your suitcase, or show the TSA gal your passport. I recommend bringing a sturdy, backpack style carrier like the Ergobaby Omni 360 Cool Air Mesh Carrier. You can use it front, back, or hip so it gives you the most options, and is ready to be used from newborn and up to 45lbs so it will be perfect for nearly every baby! The lumbar support and adjustable straps on the Omni will also help to make sure you're not getting too uncomfortable when you're at the airport, walking around amusement parks, or exploring new cities on your trip! Plus it comes with a cool little detachable pouch where you can zip up your ID, keys, or phone for a quick grab.
- Sleeping away from home can sometimes be a challenge for babes (and harder on you) if you don't have the right set up. If you're traveling you need to make sure you're bringing some type of portable crib or bassinet for your little one! A great option for babies is the Chicco Lullago Bassinet-- It has removable, snap-in legs that make the entire thing fold up and store really compactly, and also make it super lightweight. It can set up in seconds which makes it perfect for traveling, and with mesh windows on either side of the bassinet you can keep an eye on your babe when they're snoozing. You can check out our Youtube video to get an idea of how quickly this bassinet is to set up and collapse!
- Babes will want some play time during the trip, so toys are kind of a must. Giving them something like the Skip Hop Vibrant Village Peek and Play Activity Book is going to keep them wrapped up in textures and sounds without loud noises or detachable pieces to worry about. With bright colors, animals, and folds your babe will be able to play with this on the plane, in the car, and everywhere in between!
Must Haves for Toddler
Since your big kid is going to be running around, making demands, and expecting entertainment their travel essentials are going to be a little different from little sis. Plus depending on their own interests and personality will help you to determine the things that will make traveling with them fun, and the things that you absolutely have to bring with you to make sure you all have a good vacay!
- Toddlers are notorious for wanting to switch between running on their own and sitting down and getting pushed around. It's pretty infuriating sometimes, but it doesn't have to be if you bring along the right stroller. The Baby Jogger City Tour is a lightweight stroller that is perfect for traveling, because it folds up super compact and has straps so you can wear it as a backpack when you're not pushing around your tot. It has the features that you'll want like the deep recline for napping and the large sun shade for long days at the park, but you won't be lugging around a ton of weight or dealing with complicated folds. Get a look at how convenient this stroller is for traveling by watching our Cubby Mom try it out in this video!
- Since your toddler is going to be very aware that they're not in their own bed or room, getting them comfortable for bed can be a challenge. When you've got toddlers who are too big to fit in your standard portable crib, but still want to give them a little bit of a cozier sleep than a hotel bed, the DockATot Grand is the perfect solution. Similar to the standard size DockATot, but the Grand has an option to open the bottom to help accommodate your big kids, while still giving them a comfortable, safer sleep. Check the science behind why this could help your babe sleep in our Youtube video!
- When you're away from home you won't have your usual arsenal of toys at your disposal, so you'll want to make sure to bring the right amount of entertainment for your toddler to keep them entertained while on the go, and to play with during any downtime on the trip. The Kid O toys, like the Magnatab or the Family Pack, are the perfect go-to for toddlers, because they aren't going to be making any annoying noises during plane rides or road trips, but they do an amazing job of keeping your little one engaged and entertained! Plus they're small enough to fit into a kid's backpack or diaper bag without feeling like you're packing up the whole play room.