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With summer approaching and the excitement growing for our upcoming Hawaii vacation, I also feel the slight twinge of stress in the pit of my stomach that comes from knowing in just 45 short days I will be trekking through the airport towards a 5+ hour flight with my two littles in tow. The only thing keeping me together is the fact that I have amassed a list of must have tips, tricks and gadgets over the years and many family trips, to help traveling with kids go a little smoother. I share them with you today in the hopes they also make your family vacations just a little bit easier!
I’ve done this a time or two before, and each time it actually went significantly smoother than I anticipated. Minus a melt down here or there, my kids have been total troopers during our travels. But each time a vacation gets close, I worry about the fact I could be THAT MOM on the plane with the crying baby. And nobody wants to be THAT MOM. As much as everyone around her is “inconvenienced” by the noise, I promise you she feels one thousand times worse. It is every mom’s nightmare.
That being said, I am also a habitual over planner. And while we may end up over prepared, the last thing I pack just may be the thing that saves the day (and the flight for the other passengers)! I’m also a glass half full type of gal, so I will call it “meticulously planned” and “expertly coordinated for the what-ifs”.
So here goes, the ultimate list for traveling with littles!
Traveling With Baby
Traveling with a baby will come with more gear than you ever could have imagined! Remember looking at all the things you got at your baby shower? Great, now take all of that to the airport with you! Thankfully, there are a few things that can make it easier!
In most cases and with most carriers, you should be able to wear baby right through security and onto the plane. Not only will this free your hands for all of the other gear, you won’t have to worry about baby touching things that hundreds of other passengers touch every day (yuck!). We love this Sash Wrap Baby Carrier! Not only is it cute and easy to use, but it also adjusts easily to different size users and babies.
I really loved my Ergobaby Carrier with my first baby, but it wouldn’t fit around my husband and I couldn’t justify buying a separate one for each of us, especially since we take turns baby wearing. Carrying two just doesn’t seem practical. It is a great carrier ergonomically speaking though, so if you don’t have those challenges give it a go!
Bonus Tip: Make sure you are wearing easy shoes to slip on and off. You are going to have to take them off going through security, and hands will not be in abundance as you lug your kiddie caravan through the airport. We got these Walking & Water Shoes for the whole family, that are easy to slip on and are also pretty darn stylish for water shoes.
Getting to The Gate
Another lifesaver (and hand saver) is this Car Seat Travel Belt combines your car seat and suitcase into a makeshift stroller. For being so simple, it’s pretty genius. If you decide to check your car seat, you will want one of these Car Seat Bags to keep everything clean under the plane. We usually skip that part since we have our kids sitting in their car seat during the flight, but if you skipped buying your kiddo a seat you will want to snag one before your trip.
Bonus Tip: Traveling with a stroller? Most airlines will allow you to check your stroller for free at the gate, just ask for a tag when you check in. Also, there are special rules regarding liquids for parents flying with babies or nursing mothers traveling with expressed milk. Each airline and airport has slightly different guidelines, so to avoid an issue (or losing that liquid gold) check in with the airline before heading to the airport.
Traveling With Young Kids
So your littles are not quite babies anymore, still young enough to make you nervous about traveling? That is exactly where we are at with our oldest, who starts kindergarten at the end of the summer. One day I’m sure I will have tips about traveling with older kids and teens, but we just aren’t there yet! But I am certainly envious of those parents in the airport!
Packing The Stuff
One thing I am excited about this time around is that my son is old enough to carry some of his luggage, that is with the right suitcase. Roller backpacks are great for this occasion, but we took it a step further and got this Ride-On Suitcase to hopefully provide some distraction in the airport. We initially got it for baby brother, but he’ll be too young to use it for his trip. Big brother wasn’t not disappointed by this oversight on our part!
Screen time limits kind of go out the window on travel days. Sorry I am not sorry, just being real here. Here on the blog I’ve made it no secret I love our Kids Edition Tablet, and we use for it for everything from games to movies to our favorite kid’s podcasts and more! Amazon FreeTime Unlimited is not only a great way to access tons of great kid friendly content, but also puts key parental controls at your fingertips, and I highly recommend it to any parent who has a child using a tablet. We also got these Kids Headphones to use with his tablet. We chose these specifically because they have three levels of volume control with recommendations based on your child’s age. I also like that they easily change within those levels since we had to go up a level above our normal to hear the volume over the sound of the plane.
Traveling As A Mom
Let’s not forget about you mama, you probably need this vacation more than anyone! And don’t get me wrong, family vacations are amazing ways to bond and build memories that will last a lifetime! But oh my gosh, getting to your destination with your kiddos without first losing your mind is no easy feat!
In case you missed it above, refer back to Section 1, Traveling With Baby, for a refresher on just how much stuff comes along with traveling with littles. I do plan on us being able to keep it to just two checked bags, but was sure to pick up this Luggage Scale to make sure we don’t go over weight. Getting to the check in counter to discover one bag is over by ten pounds and one is under is no fun! Do you suck it up and pay the charge -which is usually pretty steep- or open your bag and try to do the balance of stuff while holding up the line and praying your underwear don’t all come flying out? Don’t be THAT guy, get a luggage scale.
Now let’s talk about your carryon. Really any old bag will do, but when you can upgrade, why not? We picked up these Travel Backpacks, to make things just a little easier. They of course have the basics like durable, water resistant fabric. What sets it apart is the awesome travel features like a luggage strap and anti-theft pocket for your wallet and valuables. Cool bonus feature is the USB port, that you can use to charge your devices. That line of people sitting next to the charging station at the airport? That line wont be for you!
You know I had to right? Nothing is more disappointing than bringing a great bottle of wine back to the hotel only to realize there is no wine opener. Or the time in Hawaii when we planned to take some wine out to the beach but only had solo cups or wine GLASSes. We all know you can’t take glass around the pool or beach. But solo cups just don’t do your wine justice.
This time around I will be PREPARED! We picked up this awesome Wine Bottle Opener that also doubles as a phone charger! I’m like the modern day MacGyver! Also a must, this Wine to Go Bag and Silicone Cups set, that makes any wine experience mobile, but also folds super flat in the suitcase.
Beach days are fun! But can also be a huge pain in the butt with all the sand, and tiny resort towels. I picked up this super cute XL towel from Sand Cloud. It is super thin and lightweight, but big enough for me and both kids (and maybe the hubby too). Not only do they make a great product, but they also donate 10% of profits to saving marine life. And, If you order through this link you will also get 15% off your order!
It’s A Wrap!
That’s all I’ve got for you today, but I will share more after our trip this summer! I would love to hear your tips and tricks for traveling with littles in the comments below! If you have done it, you know we need all the help we can get!
Cheers, or should I say Aloha!