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Psst, traveling with a toddler can be stressful. I know because I just did it.
In general, my calm, chaos free husband and I get along pretty seamlessly and I have a pretty easy going toddler. Even so, the process to get where we were going was still not added to my favorite things to do with them. Traveling with our hands full (literally) made us a little anxious, a little sweaty and created a litttttle tension with the hubby and I. Let’s just say, we needed a day with some distance to get back into our usual groove and give a more genuine smile at each other.
Thereâs some things we just canât make easier like snapping our fingers to be somewhere far from home, we canât have a flock of helpers walking around helping us and most people around you donât have patience for an antsy toddler, frantic mom or ticked off dad because…well because that’s life.
But, my friends, there’s a silver lining. Iâm here to share with you a few helpful pointers traveling with toddlers (or really any kids) that was planned out to make life a little easier during a quick moving, hectic day.
Let’s just dive right in.
- PRE TRAVEL PLANNING
When is the best time to fly with your little? This could vary depending on your child and what fits your family best.
Think about your childâs schedule and look for flights with the best times for their schedule, this will make your life much easier. Iâve heard and found it to be true that airline tickets are most affordable on Tuesdays and Wednesdays-just don’t forget to clear your cookies before you keep visiting sites! I use Google Flights for my search engine because they take flights from every website and show you all your options.
For us, we knew Pano’s nap time is mid afternoon anywhere between 1-3pm so we booked flights taking off in those hours. I knew the hustle and bustle of getting out of the house, through the airport and on our flight would wear him out because itâs tiring even for an adult. Donât forget to check out the rules/regulations the airline you chose has for flying with children. Can you bring your stroller? Whatâs the weight limit? Does your child need a seat of their own? Is there a changing table? If your child is really small, do they offer bassinets, etc.
Do your research where youâre going. The internet can be a beautiful place, look up all the info about where youâre going. Search family friendly hotels, they will be listed, read about the accommodations the hotels provide. Things Iâd look for are: Do they have cribs? Do they have refrigerators if needed? Is there a bathtub? Do they provide water safety?
Planning is necessary when children are involved. Our recent trip was in Coronado California and I highly recommend a visit there. We spent half of the time in a house and the other half we stayed at the Loews Hotel which I will tell you, is very family friendly.
Donât. Wait. Til. The. Last. Minute.
Lists, lists and more lists of what you NEED and what you want. Iâm sure this list could go on forever so get rid of half of what you want. Youâre taking your kid on VACATION, they donât really need everything you think they do.
Try to travel light. Some of my packing must haves that don’t come to mind with your necessities but definitely help for an easier trip…
BabyZen Yo-Yo Travel Stroller– Guys! This was such a splurge for me. By no means am I saying that this is the only great travel stroller BUT…it this is just what I have. I actually returned designer earrings and sandals I was gifted for Mothers Day to purchase this stroller because…mom so hard. I’m not always boujee but when I am, it’s to make life easier for myself. This thing is just amazing. It’s small enough to fit in the over head compartment on the plane, it’s easy to fold up, you can switch the colors out, you can wash everything so easily, it’s just sooo worth it. Again, there’s so many great travel strollers so if it’s not in your budget or you’re on your last toddler, maybe this isn’t the one you need but if you plan on getting yearssss to come with this beauty- do it.
Stroller Fan– Vacation a lot of times = warm destinations, hot strollers. This stroller fan is works for 40hrs, has a clip and your baby will appreciate it.
Packing Bags– these made packing for 3 people more organized and saved space. There’s bags for shoes, under garment, socks, etc. Saved room, kept everything wrinkle free and organized.
Emergency Bag/First aid kit– I made my own with just a regular cosmetic bag but they do sell ones like these that already come in a case and you’ll be glad you have it.
Snack Box: snacks keep kids busy. This bento box keeps things organized, compartmentalized and easy for travel. Give your tot all the no-no snacks just for some peace and quiet.
Insulated Thermo– I even have this in my diaper bag all the time because you can only keep milk out for so long before you need to toss it. And…who wants to buy an expensive milk at a drive through on the go? This will keep your milk (or any beverage) cold for hours!
Portable Charger– because it’s the world we live in. Everything needs to be charged all the time.
I learned the best beach hack too…did you know that Baby Powder gets sandy feet wiped away clean? Don’t forget your baby powder!
Don’t be afraid to call the hotel and let them know you will be getting a package sent to the hotel with any things you may not want to have to travel with…like diapers!
What a time to be aliveâ¦this is the second time Iâve used this California based company called TODDLERS TRAVELS and they are Heaven sent. There are a lot of companies like this around the US but if and when you travel to the San Diego area, this is your company. I personally have worked with Todd, Cory and Sarah and theyâre all wonderful.
I knew I did not want to travel with a pack and play, carseats, beach toys, etc. so I hopped on their website and customized an order to what we needed. They have SO many options for sleep, eating, car safety, water fun and more and then they have packages. I had three kids with us under 5 years old on this trip so we needed it even more customized to what the website had for packages so I called them up and boom! They made the order exactly to what we needed.
If youâre renting a car, they will be at the airport with your car seat installed or if youâre like us who had family with the car, they were at the house installing the seat. They delivered us a full sized crib, pack and play, 2 car seats, a booster seat and beach toys! Aaaaaaaa-mazing!!!!
Made. My. Life. SOOOOO. MUCH. EASIER!
You should probably travel with toddlers to San Diego just to use Toddlers Travels! Let them know that Chicago Pano sent you!
Iâve been honest about my love/hate relationship with iPads. I wonât go on my big rant about why I donât personally like them but I knew that this was a âtreatâ along with many other no-noâs that would help me get my son to stay in our seat during a 4 hour flight.
I wanted to make sure if he was going to be doing screen time during our trip that he was at least doing something educational. Thatâs when I got the application, KidloLand. This kept Pano SO busy and I love the app so much, it made me feel better about screen time for him even when we settled back into normal life. With a subscription, your child has access to so many educational games, puzzles, short stories and music. My tot has gotten sooo good at (what I questioned may be too difficult for him) the puzzles and games he plays and sings along with the songs. It’s nice to be able to read him stories when we don’t have books with us.
The good people at Kidloland were kind enough to give me a discount code to share with you guys if you’re interested in checking out the great app!
Get your own subscription to Kidloland by clicking here and use the code SPOILEDMILK for 10% off your annual fee.
Although traveling with an infant last year was a lot more “stuff”, traveling with a toddler was a tad bit harder but…we did it. We made it. And the things I mentioned in this blog is what made it a lot easier. And of course, because of the adorable prince in my arms in the photo above.
Whatever comes up in your travels, where ever you go, make the very best of it because you’re building closer bonds and making sweeter memories with your family.
Find joy in all of your journey