5 Travel Tips From a Mama to 5
First of all, cheers to you mamas for even considering travelling with kids (lol). I've done it, and I'd definitely do it again, but the first couple times I was so nervous I actually considered putting vacations off till they were older. But I did it, asked a lot of questions to my mama friends, and definitely super over packed the first couple of times... but it was all well worth it.
Spring breaks, summer breaks, long weekends + good weather. The season's are changing and families are getting a bit more time to travel. Whether you have 1 baby... or 5 (or more), travelling with kids is always an adventure (and then some). What better way to travel than getting tips from mamas who have "been there done that" ;) because really, that's what it's all about. Sharing tips, laughing at the struggles and helping one another out with survival suggestions.
Betty, one of our resident Baby Consultants and mama to 5 is here to share her top tips when travelling with kids on road trips, or via airplane.
The most important thing that I can’t address enough when traveling with kids is to try your best to stay calm and relaxed.
1. Leave around their bedtime. Feed your babes, bathe them, dress them up in their PJs and off you go! The goal is that at the very least they sleep a good chunk of the time while driving and you enjoy a little peace and quite.
If flying, try to get the first early morning flight, that way they are tired enough (but not overly tired) to sleep on the plane. Keep them in comfy clothes as well so they don’t complain about anything bothering them.
2. It would be ideal if each child has their own backpack packed with activities and a Ziploc baggie with a change of clothes. A Ziploc with snacks, a bottle of water, and a plastic bag for the garbage is another good addition as well.
3. For every few hours of travel that they do well in the car or plane, I like to reward them with a treat or a special surprise! And if they're being extra good I also allow them some iPad time.
What works best for me is to continue feeding baby on their regular schedule, baby-wear if on a plane, play a small portable sound maker on low, and cover them with a blanket to help shade them from the light or distraction. For baby I pack their own Ziploc bags; a change of outfit, diapers (one for every couple of hours of travel, just in case) and wipes in each bag so that they're easy to access. I also have empty Ziploc bags to fill with any dirty diapers, etc.
Another personal preference when flying is that I give my children Tylenol Kids, it helps with their ears from being in pain when they get plugged or pop during take off and landing. I also like to give them each a few gummies to chew on for take off and landing.
4. Keeping as organized as possible is key. I love having the kids' backpacks, as well as everything inside labeled. That way when they need something they can easily see what is what. And hubby can help grab the specific bag you need, when needed. It's a win for everyone ;)
5. Carry on luggage should always have of change of clothes for each child, each packed in its own Ziploc bag, as well as PJs. Personally I also like to pack swimsuits, depending on the destination. That way, with the off-chance luggage gets lost, we have lots of extra items to keep us equipped while the luggage gets located. I pack lots extra snacks too so that the kids (and the parents) are always fueled ;) I like to pack things like granola bars, crackers, fruit bars and cookies for treats, plus anything else that’s easy for your child to eat.
For babies or young toddlers I personally like packing a light weight stroller. My current favourite is the BabyZen Yoyo Stroller. We love it because it is so compact (it can fold down to fit in the overhead compartment), it's super light and you can even wear it over your shoulder.
The most important thing that I can’t address enough when traveling with kids is to stay calm and relaxed (yes I know, sometimes easier said than done). But if you are full of anxiety or stress, they will feed off of that energy and make the trip miserable for everyone, but if you are calm then they are calm.
For hotel stays I highly recommend (if possible) a suite big enough for the kids to sleep on one side and the parents to be on the other. I like to have a playpen for baby (you can bring your own travel one, or you can rent one from a local company/hotel) that way you can get baby to bed on their regular schedule (relative to where you are + what you're doing, we try our best to anyways). We stick to the kids routine as much as will allow, and don't forget to pack your travel-sized sound maker to help block out new noises as well as blackout fabric to help make sure the room is dark enough for sleep (you can even use black garbage bags to cover up the windows).
Finally, when I travel with my kids I always make sure to pack light (well, as light as possible) so that I don't have to carry too much or worry about a lot of laundry. Pack the important essentials of what will be needed for the trip. And when we get to our destination we make sure to buy all those loose-end items; diapers, aloe vera gel, sunscreen, floaties, etc.
Hope this helps. Happy travelling + have fun!