As a committed international adventure traveler, I often get asked for tips for traveling with tots in tow. You asked – here they are!
1. Keep it Simple I swore when we had kids that we would still travel to cool places like Africa and India and more specifically, NOT travel to any big, tacky, all-inclusive resorts. After a few miserable cross-country and international trips, I gave in and realized it just wasn’t any fun. Now, I’m not even embarrassed to admit that we travel to Mexico and stay in those big all-inclusive beach resorts every year, and we have fun!
2. Strategic Airplane Seating If you’re traveling more than 2 hours, buy a seat for your kid, even if your baby is under two. It will be worth every penny. If you don’t have an extra seat, be strategic about your seat assignments. If traveling with two parents, book aisle & window seats — the guy in the middle will gladly move! If that’s not an option, get to the airport early, bring your baby in your arms (mom) for check-in, smile, and ask politely if there are any better seats for your family. Sometimes, unless a flight is oversold, the ground staff may even “block” a middle seat, giving you a whole row.
3. Feeding for Take-offs and Landings Time feedings during take off and landing. If they’re nursing, sucking on a bottle, or snacking on cheerios for take-off and landing, their ears will pop naturally, it will be easier on you, and they’re more likely to pass out with the motion.
4. Car Seats You might hear that you need car seats on the airplane, but you don’t. If you’re renting a car, leave your car seats at home and book car seats with your car rental company. Request infant, toddler or booster based on your child’s needs. If you must bring car seats, check them so you don’t have to bring them through security. You can buy a car seat cover like this to protect your seat in general baggage.
5. Go With the Flow Instead of stressing about naps and where your kids sleep, can you give yourself permission to forget about your routines, where and when your baby sleeps, and just have fun? Your baby will sleep in the car, in the stroller, she may get overtired or want to sleep in your hotel bed with you.
Can you let go of your fear that your baby won’t get enough sleep, or have sleep regressions when you get home? Honestly, it’s going to happen whether or not you stick to your routines and schedules, so why not skip the stress and have more fun!?! I know there’s so much more travel wisdom out there, so if you have any more great family travel tips, share them with us here!