People ask me ALL. THE. TIME. about traveling with kids. And new moms particularly fret about the thought of leaving the house with their newborn baby. Let alone leaving the state or country! If you’re a new mom reading this and your baby is less than 4-months old, travel NOW.
Travel every single day.
All jokes aside, this is by far the easiest stage to embark with tiny humans in tow. They’re not mobile and if you’re lucky they’ll be fast asleep with the aid of your anatomy or a bottle.
Once you pass the 6-month mark, it’s a whole new ballgame. And at 1-year?? A different realm you cannot begin to fathom. Does it have its challenges? Yes. But with proper planning and preparedness, you too can have a fun fam vaca. This is where I come in. Thus far, I’ve survived three 1-year old stages (two at once!) and continue to travel and learn with each new adventure.
So with that, I present to you my top tips for surviving travel with a 1-year old:
1. Be prepared to nap your kids. So this is kind of a buzzkill BUT I promise you, it will make the rest of your day and evening run far smoother. The last thing you want is to sit down for a nice family dinner at the end of a great day of vacation only to have an absolute colossal, exhausted, toddler meltdown. Talk about an unfortunate way to spend your remaining moments of an otherwise fab day.
2. Make a list. Ok, I admit it. I’m SUPER Type A but trust me, make a list. I always make a packing list in the days preceding any vacation, long or short. This list is divided into ‘girls, Rory, me and miscellaneous.’ Even though we’re well-traveled and the list always looks the same, it’s a valuable tool when #mombrain kicks in. As you’re packing, you think, ‘ok, I have to remember Rory’s rain boots’. And so, this item is then ascribed onto said list and is not forgotten. Without the list, it gets lost into the black-hole that is my sieve for a memory.
3. Snacks. All the snacks. And make sure you have one for each hand. One of my favs are Happy Baby Teething Wafers. They come in a 2-pack and essentially dissolve in the baby’s mouth, keeping them occupied for AT LEAST the next 3-minutes. Any food that travels well, does not require refrigeration, and is not an imminent choking hazard, is a win. If you’re traveling by plane, one of my more impressive inventions was taking a jewelry organizer and filling it with an assortment of snacks: cheddar bunnies, raisins, cereal, nuts, etc. The girls loved exploring the different treats and it satisfied their hunger (and boredom) throughout the long flights.
4. Carrying devices. ALL of them. Stroller. Carrier. Sling. You name it. Whatever you baby enjoys most (and will potentially nap in), bring this. This doesn’t mean an excess of ‘things’ because when packing and traveling with kids, less is more. You DO want to be prepared, but also don’t want to be lugging around a mountain of gear. That being said, you also don’t want to be lugging around an irritable, overtired 1-year old. So, if your baby has ever once taken a nap in the carrier, and you intend to be out and about, bring it.
Carrier for the #win! Afternoon siesta while we explore the Village of Pinehurst
5. Freedom to run around. Things Rory hates: highchairs, car seats, strollers, being held; basically anything and everything that limits his ability to run around like a crazy man. Yes, exploring Disney with your baby sounds ever so romantic. But trust me, if you don’t build in some ‘free’ time into your itinerary for your little one to stretch their legs…game over. Which leads me back to Tip #1. Allow for time to burn off energy AND nap! I repeat RUNNING AROUND and NAP. (I mean, I love naps, too!)
Burning off some energy and running around the green at the Orlando Marriott World Center
I can’t say these will make your family vacation 110% seamless. But, I can ensure you’ll have a heck of a lot less headaches if you can anticipate what to expect!