One thing that I know very well is how to travel. For the last decade, I have booked and planned travel for thousands of families… not to mention the countless trips that I have done with my own growing family. I have traveled with my 1-month-old newborn and have survived flights with teething babies and naughty toddlers. Here are some tricks that I have learned over the years. Some of these are great for your adult self!
Flying on an airplane is only enjoyable when you are childless, in first class and flying to an amazing destination. From the rest of America… we are sitting in row 14 on a Southwest flight being tackled by your 3-year-old son (this is currently how I am writing this post!) I have learned some things that are beneficial for the fearful first-time travel mom.
Packing a good backpack or diaper bag! This is key, make sure your bag include some of the following:
- Snacks for your child and you! Having a hungry mama or daddy is not good either. I like packing an easy enjoyable snack for kids such as Goldfish, Pretzels or Popcorn. For me- I love RX Butter Packets and Protein Bars. While you are at it, make sure to pack a cup with a lid for your children. Things spill ALL THE TIME when you are on the plane. Having a backup cup is KEY! If you forget, don’t stress! Ask for a lid on your drink. Currently, I am sipping my ice water from a tiny cup with a lid and miniature straw. The things we do!
- Treat, yes sweet things that you don’t typically give your child. Bribery is your friend on planes! Prepare to detox your child after a week of traveling. For me… sanity is my friend and if my child is happy everyone is happy! I pack a baggie filled with things that I wouldn’t typically give my child. They love fruit snacks (the gateway snack, these are sweet and taste like candy but aren’t as bad as the full candy bag!) Red Vines and other non-chocolate treats. I try to stay away from anything that would melt. Why? Well… let’s just say that typically they spill a couple into their seat and it will melt all over their adorable travel outfit! The only “sticky” item I always have are lollipops/dumb-dumbs… when you are taking off and landing this will mimic gum for their little ears and help them from screaming due to the discomfort. Plus they taste YUMMY!! When in doubt… order your child a sweet drink on the plane. If everything has hit the fan… a sprite will do the trick! Your welcome!
- Cleaning Supplies! I love my space clean and my children clean. I feel best when I have a baggie (yes baggies are my favorite) filled with things that make my space nice and comfortable. Clorox cleaning wipes (I find these in the travel section). These are awesome… spill in the stroller? Wipe it up! Dirty airline tray? Don’t stress just sterilize it! I can’t tell you how many times I use these cleaning wipes when we travel. I also throw in my favorite Honest Company hand sanitizer. Keeping the kids clean is also a priority of mine, so a similar baggie exists for them too! I love to have the Johnson and Johnson head to toe wipes, extra babies wipes, a brush/comb, and rubber band as well as plenty of diapers!
- Entertainment! This is a given… but most people just think about what their kids love on the day to day basis. When your kiddo is sitting on a plane for a longer period of time, try to throw in a couple of new items! Download a new game on your phone/tablet, a new TV show/movie, pack a water coloring book (no mess!) pack paper and stickers… think new and fun!
- Extras! Make sure you have an EXTRA change of clothes… including undies for your fully potty trained 4 year old child! Funny story, one time the security lines were so long that my daughter (who was fully potty trained at the time) tinkled in her undies. Of course, I didn’t want her to sit on a plane in wet clothes… so she wore her brother’s diaper and a pair of PJ’s I had in the bag! I now always have a fresh pair of undies in the bag for that “just in case” moment. I also back a couple of smaller blankets if it is cold. On long flights, I also throw in a little something for me too. I have been spilled on many times and nothing is worse than arriving at your destination looking like a hot mess express. We all know that traveling is difficult with kiddos, but it doesn’t mean that we have to look like it 🙂
- Electronics! I make sure to have a phone and a tablet on every flight. Fully charged with an external charger as our back up! If technology is going to make a peaceful flight… then technology is what they will get! Don’t forget the headphones too!
Packing for the long haul!
Since the flight is only a portion of your trip, it is important to make sure that your suitcase is loaded up with all the proper “goods” to ensure you have a smooth vacation. Here are some things that I keep in mind when packing!
- Toiletries. Make sure you have all of your standard day to day toiletries to keep up with your routine. Including kids tooth paste! I made this mistake one time and my youngest refund to brush their teeth on the trip! HAHA joke was on us. We had to chase him around the hotel room and hold him down to get those candy infested teeth clean!
- Plenty of clothes. I plan for 1.5 outfits a day. This way I have some backups if we get dirty or our plans change. If we are going to Disney, I always plan for a sweatshirt or a sweat outfit for the evening we are in the park. I like to change the kids when it gets cold and get them washed up (surprised? I love clean kids!). I love to lay out the full outfits and pack them that way in packing cubes (THE BEST WAY TO PACK!!) Also, when packing– try on the FULL outfit. This has been very helpful. If you love it– pack it with everything you tried on! This will eliminate packing things you know you won’t actually ware on the trip.
- Back up undies and diapers. It is ok to thrown in some extra. You will be glad you did.
- A back up… I always toss in an extra blanket and sippy cup.
- More snacks and baggies! It is good to have snacks in the room and to have baggies to give them individual snacks (when sharing is difficult!)
The not so obvious:
I may be bougie… and that is ok! My friends like me for it 🙂 From my own personal experience and the tips I have learned from my other bougie friends I have found some go to travel items that make your hotel room feel a little more like home!
- Candles! I love to light my Dyptique Lavender candle in my room at night time. It makes the whole room feel a little bit more relaxing. (It is also amazing if your room doesn’t smell that well!) This candle is pricy, so it is a treat when we are on vacation! Don’t forget your lighter too!
- Soap! If you are like me, you probably cringe when you have to wash your hands with a bar of soap. I hate it! I like to pack a pump soap and keep it by the sink.
- Wine opener! There are times that buying a bottle of wine and drinking it in your room or by the pool is like heaven… Make sure you can get the bottle open.
- Shout and Landry Soap! I hate dirty laundry (are you seeing a trend?) I like to pretreat the clothes before they go into the dirty clothes bag and then I try to do a quick round of laundry IF the facilities are convenient and I have time. I throw in a little bit of soap to use for this. I also like to have a small shampoo bottle of laundry soap for bathing suites. If you are swimming in the ocean, your suites can get a funky scent. Use a little bit of soap and scrub them in the sink, then hang to dry in the shower. Your welcome 🙂
- Smaller Cooler! This is a new one for me… since there are 5 of us and we are planning to do 8 days in Disney World just 2.5 weeks after doing Disneyland… I decided to pack a collapsible cooler for healthy snacks and cold water bottles. We will go to the grocery store in Florida to get a couple things for the room including water bottles. Since it is so hot and humid there… I plan to keep things cold either by the pool or in the parks in this little cooler. Can’t hurt, right? Since I will already have baggies (see above) I can use these to fill up ice bags and pop them into the cooler 🙂
The last piece of a successful trip is to make plans! My suggestion would be to list out everything that you would like to do and then plan only one concrete thing per day that you feel like you can make work. For example… when we go to Disney, I only make 1 food reservation per day. For us, eating is our enjoyment and having a reservation is a priority! I do this in other places other than Disney too. Set up one thing you want to do and then leave the rest of the day open to being flexible. If you are too planned out, everyone will be exhausted and then you will become disappointed!
Don’t be afraid to travel with your children. We have created many incredible memories by getting on a plane or in a car and going somewhere! I love sharing these special moments with our children and I honestly like to do this over giving gifts… the memories last forever! Hopefully these little tips and tricks that I have learned along the way will help you plan an awesome adventure for your family!