This month's REAL TALK REAL MOMs' topic is on travel and I think I'm more excited about reading all the other moms' posts on this topic than writing my own, haha! We haven't traveled a ton with our two girls yet (we really love being home), and when we have traveled, it's only been by car. We're planning a getaway this November, so I am going to soak up all the advice from all the seasoned traveling mamas participating in this series!
In our limited travel, we have learned a few tricks along the way. Some seem like common sense, but they're pretty tried and true for us!
1. Bring along as many comforts from home as you can/space allows. When littles are away from home and in strange settings, it's wise (especially for naps and bedtime) to surround them with familiar things. For Zoe, our two year old, we've actually been bringing her toddler bed mattress (we have a minivan, so it fits no problem!) and bringing it along. She LOVES sleeping on it in the airbnbs we've stayed in this year (she also loved sneaking into our bed around 3 am [see photo], like she recently started to do at home...we just let her while on vacation since it meant more sleep for everyone). She also has some animals that she loves to snuggle as she's falling asleep or as we're driving in the car. Both of our girls sleep with white noise, so we always travel with a fan to drown out any noise that may keep them from sleeping. The girls also love listening to music when falling asleep, so we bring along their music, too. Everyone knows that babies still need to sleep when on vacation.
2. Stay in a rental home/cabin/bnb & not a hotel, if you can. The more space we have, the better. If the girls are able to be in separate rooms (even if that means one of them in our room), they nap better. Having a kitchen, a room to play in, a yard to run around in...it all makes vacation and travel so much easier! Hotel rooms are tricky because, unless you have joining room or a suite, everyone basically has to go to bed at the same time and there's usually no comfortable area for communal activities (if you're traveling with friends or family) in close proximity to where the kids are sleeping. Plus, rental homes always seem cleaner for crawling babies.
3. Bring snacks. Ever since Zoe started eating, I pretty much don't leave the house without snacks, and when we travel, there are several snack bags that make it into the car. There's nothing worse than a tired, hungry, or thirsty kid for whom you have to make several pit stops when you're trying to drive long distances. And when you're out doing things on vacation, babies need snacks then, too. Lots of snacks (raisins, lara bars, dried fruit, water bottles, etc) are always in my bags.
4. Bring some new (inexpensive) toys. Kids have short attention spans, and this is totally normal. We've found that new toys to play with are essential with if you're trying to do things (other than sit in your rental home) with kids on vacation. Mini animals, small books, anything that can easily fit in a stroller and is noiseless ;)
5. Travel in early morning or evening. Crying kids during a road trip is torture, so we try to leave at hours they would normally be sleeping. We do best early in the morning (rather than late at night when Joe and I struggle to stay awake ourselves)...we get the girls out of their beds, buckled into their carseats, and get a few hours out of the way before they'd even normally wake up.
6. Backpack for hands free. I've recently been converted to the wonderful world of backpack diaper bags. When you have two kids and are trying to easily travel and get around and put them in and out of strollers and buy things and change diapers and hold hands and not have your bag fall off your shoulder a million times, backpacks are the way to go! This one is my favorite; it has so many pockets to keep things organized, AND it has awesome stroller straps.
7. Reliable stroller & baby carrier. We're still working on finding the perfect double stroller, but we've found that places to put kids (other than holding them in your arms) while walking, hiking, shopping, etc., is so important! Parents get exhausted so easily if carrying babies, so we always have a stroller and a baby carrier. Naomi goes into the stroller until Zoe is tired of walking, and then into the stroller Zoe goes, and Naomi goes into the baby bjorn.
That's it for my tips & tricks for traveling with littles :) Be sure to check out all the other mamas in the series (I sure will be)!
Hilary /// Our Style Stories