Can you tell us your #1 tip for traveling with your little ones?
Have realistic expectations for yourself and your kids. Remember that keeping little humans alive and well-fed is WORK: beautiful, privileged work, but still work- regardless of if you’re traveling Europe or still in your pajamas at 3pm. Set your expectations accordingly. You won’t be moving as quickly and seeing as much as you did pre-kids, but sharing the experiences with them is well-worth it.
How did you prepare for your two week long trip?
We like to buy children’s books about the locations we will be traveling to. It is a fun way to learn about the places beforehand and to get excited about the trip. When we return from the trip we paste photographs of the family in the front and back cover of the book.
How did you pack for a long trip without bringing a U-Haul?
Bring less, spend less, do less. There’s nothing worse than hauling extra stuff across the country, or the world. For a 2.5-3 week trip we typically pack about 3-4 days of clothes and do laundry at our Airbnbs. Since having kids we almost only stay at Airbnbs for the sake of maintaining some kind of routine (eating, sleeping, laundry, built in rest days). We’ve actually found traveling with kids to cost about the same, if not less expensive, as we cook more and do less money-costing activities
How do you manage to keep your children occupied during long spans of travel?
During our most recent road trip we tried to plan short hikes before long car ride days. Before our trip to Israel and Palestine last year we let our 3 year old run around the airport before and after each flight. This greatly increases the likelihood of a good nap and them feeling less antsy when they’re required to sit. It also helps parents get out some stress re: the realities of traveling with kids! During flights we also let our oldest roam the aisles whenever the seatbelt signs are not on.
Any tricks you have for traveling on airplanes?
During an eleven hour flight our oldest cried for three hours straight, which obviously led me to also spend that time crying. Most airlines are pretty accommodating to parents with kids. When we arrive at the gate we ask the gate agent if there are any seats with empty seats around us in order to spread out. For infants, you can request a free bassinet ahead of time. We always, always, always keep an extra change of clothes (for everyone) in our carry-on bags. I also make sure to have our multivitamins, vitamin c, probiotics and elderberry with us during the flight. No one wants to come down with a cold just as your trip starts.
Any last tips?
BRING A STROLLER. For sanity purposes we’ve decided we need a stroller with us at all times. The reality is, when traveling, we are asking more of our kids than typical. Having a stroller helps give them a break or a space to take a nap when needed. We brought our Geo² (with the expandable set) to every location on our road trip. The compact size of the stroller allowed us to bring it into restaurants to use as a highchair, on hikes, or just to have for on-the-go naps. When flying, we made sure to have a stroller with us all the way to the gate. Airlines will let you gate check it for free (and are often more gentle with them at the gate). During one delayed layover I spent hours pushing the stroller and screaming baby through the Chicago airport. I put in some headphones, turned on my audiobook and got my work-out in for the day. We bring a portable sound machine that can clip inside the stroller and cover the top with an article of clothing or blanket to make a dark cave. We have an upcoming Europe trip this Spring and intend to invest in some of the fun Joolz accessories to be prepared for any type of weather.
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