Traveling is one of our family’s favorite things to do! My husband and I always said that after having kids, we would continue to travel and bring them along so they can see and explore different parts of the world, and also have the opportunity to experience other cultures! But after I became a mom and was packing for our first trip with our daughter, there was an equal measure of excitement and dread.
Since that trip, we’ve been on countless others as a family (that weren’t perfect by any means, but they were memorable!!!). Here are some tips to make your next vacation with your little ones as easy and fun as possible:
1. Don’t Postpone Packing
My biggest piece of advice would be to start packing as early as you can. Life gets busy and often times vacations sneak up on you! It’s also smart to think about what the climate will be like and if your baby has accommodating clothing in their size (for example, if it’s winter and you’re heading to the beach, the suit your child wore several months prior in the summer may not fit them anymore).
2. Pack Snacks, Snacks, and More Snacks
One of the best ways to a child’s heart is yummy snacks… at least in our family! Pack a variety of options that both you and your baby loves and can easily be eaten in the car or on a plane. Plus, depending on where you are headed, food or snacks may not be cheap!
3. Bring A Stroller
You may or may not need a stroller on your vacation, but I always travel with one when bringing my children. Having one that reclines and is comfortable is super important. And most airlines will allow you to gate check your car seat and stroller so that when you get off your flight it's right there waiting for you!
4. Make Sleeping Arrangements Ahead Of Time
Ask your hotel to reserve a crib or Pack 'n Play so that when you arrive and check-in, your room is ready for the whole family!
5. Be Diligent About Naptime
Sticking with your baby’s nap routine is essential when you travel, especially if you’re dealing with baby jet lag. I know it’s not always ideal, but I’d rather have a happy, rested baby as opposed to a tired, cranky one.
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6. Pack A Few Favorites
Every time I travel with my kids I always bring one of their favorite blankets (it helps them fall asleep in the stroller), toys that they love (or even brand new ones that they’ve never seen before to hold their attention for longer periods of time). For my toddler I load my tablet/iPad with shows, games or educational apps that they enjoy. It’s good to have these things on hand just in case.
7. Avoid A Too-Full Schedule
It’s a good idea to stagger busy days and mellow days. For example, when we go to California we’ll do Disneyland for one day followed by a day at the beach. It gives us all a day to relax and rejuvenate!
8. Be Prepared For Anything
When traveling with children and babies, it’s always good to pack double of everything; clothing, diapers, wipes, food, formula, etc. And don’t forget medicine (Tylenol, Advil, diaper cream, gas drops). Whatever you think you or your child might need while away, pack! It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
9. Slow Down And Savor The Moment
Children live so much in the moment and are so curious about everything. Take advantage of that while you’re on vacation! Rather than trying to squeeze every single thing in, slow down and focus on making the most of every moment with your kids.