Today is the first day that I am traveling with my children in a year, so I thought it was appropriate to post this article that I wrote a few months ago!
Traveling with babies, toddlers, and kids can be super stressful.
I've had friends and acquaintances tell me that it’s so stressful for them that they decide to give up on travel and stay home.
While I completely understand, I've concluded it's so important to keep your sense of wonder alive — to explore the world outside of the home.
I've learned that the secret to a beautiful trip with kids surrounds organization. It's about preparation and then feeling like you can let loose and enjoy the adventure.
We have been fortunate enough to be able to travel with our children. It has taken a few trips to figure out how to make it work, and I'm hoping the following tips will help guide you and inspire you to take the trip you've been dreaming about.
#1 - Make a list of everything you think you'll need and how much is needed.
I make a list a few days before I pack, so I'm not rushed. In doing so, I can think clearly and go beyond my fears of not being prepared.
Take the time you need to purchase the items you're running out of, as I've learned one of the most stressful parts of getting ready to leave is racing around trying to find what I need. Last-minute stress can completely throw off the vibe and lead to bad energy before the adventure has begun.
I have a list that I created when Kensington was a newborn, and I'm constantly adding or editing it as my kids get older and their needs change. Keeping this list close saves so much time and energy while reminding me that travel doesn't have to be stressful.
#2 - Organization is everything when packing.
The more organized you can stay the less stressful your packing experience will be. Color coordinate each of your child's clothing, shoes, and accessories.
A friend of mine shared the most amazing travel hack with me. It's using packing cubes like these:
My favorite brand (pictured above) is Ideasort Packing Cubes. I pack both of my kids in one large suitcase and this makes it easy to keep everything together, yet separate.
#3 - Choose your toiletry bag carefully.
I have the most amazing hanging toiletry bag on the planet. It has many compartments that are visible so that I can keep everything easily accessible.
I always try to keep it stocked and ready to go and am constantly collecting sample containers and samples of my kids' favorite shampoo, soap, and lotion.
I also have Q-Tips, a thermometer, saline spray, nail clippers, and bandaids, among other needs that we may have at any given time.
I love this bag because it folds down amazingly well and it's cute. Also, it's SUPER inexpensive. So if you use it for a short amount of time and discard, you can easily replace.
#4 - Bring items from home.
I try to pack items that are familiar to the kids from home. It seems to make the transition easier for them.
For example, I bring their favorite books, toys, sippy cups, utensils, and baby blankets. My daughter Kensington has a little snuggly silky called "Pill and Baba" and she finds comfort in it when she sleeps. Sean Jr. has a little plush bear, "Blue Bear", that he cuddles with as well.
My kids also use a sound machine while they sleep, so I bring ours along. Our favorite is the Hatch and Baby Rest Sound Machine:
I find that mimicking home life as much as possible helps so much. This includes having them go to sleep at the exact same time as at home. I can't tell you how you how it important this is for everyone's enjoyment while exploring different locales.
#5 - Bring a separate snack bag.
I always pack a separate snack bag with all of my kids' favorite snacks, treats, and sippy cups. Whether we're driving or flying,
Plus, I bring nutritious and delicious snacks and treats packed. Eating gives them something enjoyable to do and helps keep their blood sugar balanced. This all helps keep the mood positive. I also have a secret area for candy that they can earn with good behavior.
#6 - Pack a separate diaper bag.
I also pack a separate bag for diapers, wipes, and include an extra change of clothes, blankets, Tylenol, hand sanitizer, sweaters, iPads, and travel activities. It's my "go-to" easily accessible bag that has all of the immediate needs for them.
Traveling with kids can literally be the most beautiful and exciting experience. If you've had one or two bad experiences and have decided that traveling isn't for your family, I strongly advise reassessing the experience and making a list of what worked and what didn't work. You may be amazed that a few simple shifts can change everything!