Traveling with our children can feel daunting at times. There is so much to remember, especially when they are infants. I’ve learned a lot from traveling with our son. We take him everywhere with us. I’ve had people tell me, oh you need to take time for yourselves or just leave him with family. That is easier said than done and it’s just not something I feel comfortable doing. Don’t get me wrong, we have plenty of family and friends we know he will be in good hands. I think there is a time for everything and we just haven’t hit that time yet. Ha!
I used to try to travel “light” with our son. I don’t know what I was thinking. I would try to carry all of our stuff on a carry on and pack my bags to the max. I’ve learned that I should pack what I feel is important for my family and who cares if it’s too much stuff. So I makes lists of everything I need. I start with clothes and shoes, then move into toiletries, medicine, etc. When our son was an infant, I packed the breast pump a few diapers for the ride, bottles, etc. I learned about some things I don’t have to pack if I am visiting family such as a pack and play for sleeping, a stroller, and even a car seat because it just makes everything easier. I order a box of diapers and formula to arrive before us. I decided that we all need our own suitcase.So we each have a suitcase and packing cubes. Packing cubes changed my life. My son loves using them now. They are so easy to use and very helpful for organizing. My son has a set of toys he keeps while visiting family as well. I allow him to pack about 5 toys and a stuffed animal and his favorite blankie. If we are on vacation, he still takes the same amount of toys because we are so busy, he barely plays with them. I make sure that the hotel we stay in has a bed and child friendly activities for him that do not include watching television. I also specify that I need a car seat in the car picking us up. If they can’t supply it, then I bring my own car seat. I take everything I think will make my son feel comfortable for the flight and stay. If he is unhappy. then we are all miserable.
Once on the flight, he plays and reads books and he is allowed to watch a movie now that he is older. He knows he has to sleep at one point. It’s just a given and he doesn’t fight it. When he was an infant, I would walk him up and down the aisle and let him do whatever he wanted. I think I remember one bad flight where he just wasn’t happy, but overall he is a good traveler. As long as he doesn’t bother other people or make noise. I’ve seen parents try to keep their crawling infants or barely walking toddlers still and not let them out of their seat. I know it’s hard, but just let them roam, they need the movement and sensory input. I remember one time my son refused to sit or lay down on the seat. He wanted to lay on the floor. I know I am cringing! I set all his blankets on the floor and he fell asleep on top of them. It wasn’t something I would allow him to do, but it was a battle I didn’t want to fight.
As for food, I pack snacks and a meal for him. Some snacks I love are Babel cheese, crackers, organic fig bars, fruit and a veggies. I try to pick easy meals like pasta with veggies or a turkey and cheese sandwich.
Traveling with kids is a learning experience for the parents too. I say all rules are off, be flexible, and let them walk up and down the aisle. It will make things easier for you in the long run.
Here are some of my favorite things to travel with: