Traveling with toddlers can be a grand adventure. As a mom of three kids under the age of five who logged over 30,000 miles in the car or air with all three in tow in the last year, I consider myself somewhat experienced when it comes to the subject. Here is my list of do’s and don’ts when it comes to hitting the road with little ones.
I received samples and compensation for this post. All opinions and ideas are my own.
Be Over Prepared– Pack a change of clothes for you and each child. When your baby throws up all over you and herself 20 minutes into a 3 hour flight or your three-year old has an accident, you will thank me. Pack a water bottle with straw and lid that does not leak. Transfer any liquids to the cup whether you are flying or driving. A spilled drink is no fun.
Plan For Rest- Plan times for rest and make your kids aware of them. If you are flying a red eye, explain to them how they work. Toddlers understand more than they let on. Let them know they can play with their iPads or toys for X amount of minutes and then it will be time to settle down, then follow through. My kids always settle down much better when they know it is coming. Bring a read aloud book or audiobook, help them relax and settle in.
Pack Surprises- When we are driving I wrap little dollar store items and snacks and throw them back to the kids every few hours or when they are restless. When we are flying, I pack the backpacks. The kids can’t open them until we are in the air. You would be amazed at how far one surprise can get you. Not knowing what is coming keeps the excitement flowing!
Bring Food- There is NOTHING more hard to control when traveling than a hangry toddler. Pack more food than you imagine they might eat and throw in some more for good measure. Don’t just pack treats. In fact, I let my kids pick one treat for their bags and the rest I try to pack with healthy and filling snacks. When the melt down’s start (and they are bound to) pass them a snack and give them a hug. A full belly and physical contact go further than anything else when a kid is feeling restless and overwhelmed.
Plan For Comfort and Safety- One thing travel always means is hours logged in the car. My children’s safety is the number one priority on my list, but I also want them to be comfortable. When it came time for my almost 4-year old’s car seat to be replaced I chose the Advocate ClickTight by Britax. I did so for several reasons, but the number one reason I chose this seat is because my daughter can still be comfortably rear facing. With a rearfacing hight and weight limit of 40lbs and 49 inches. I know that she will be as safe as possible for as long as possible.
With the Britax-exclusive ClickTight Installation System, I know that the seat is safely and correctly installed every time. By using the Click & Safe Snug Harness Indicator I can also be sure that her harness is in the range of proper tightness as well. The advocate has 3 layers of side impact protection, an impact-absorbing base and steel frame. When it comes to buying a carseat, remember that buying second-hand is not necessarily worth the saved money. Never buy a second hand seat if you are unsure of its history, it’s missing its original parts or has cracks, or it’s too old. Also, make sure you register your seat so that you know of any recalls or safety notices.
The Advocate ClickTight by Britax is roomy and comfortable, but actually takes up less room in the car than her previous convertible seat. It will provide many hours of happy travel rear facing, and in the future forward facing, for my little lady. But, let’s be honest. My daughter’s favorite feature is that amazing floral pattern.
Britax has a Stars, Stripes, and Seats this month which offers up to 25% in savings on select Britax Infant Car Seats, Convertible Car Seats & Harness-2-Booster Seats from July 1st to July 31st. If you are in need of a carseat or are ready to upgrade yours, head over and check it out!
Now that we know the things we should do, here are a few to avoid:
Over Schedule: Don’t try to do to much. Kids need downtime to regulate their feelings and actions just like adults do, even more so when they are being bombarded with new places and faces. Allow them some extra down time.
Assume The Worst: I hear this phrase all the time, ” I can’t think of anything worse than an airplane trip with kids!” or a road trip, or a long weekend. Kids can make travel so much more fun and exciting. Sure, there are parts of traveling as a family that are tricky, but I am almost always pleasantly surprised by my kids behavior. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Assume things will go awesomely.
Use Your Time Table: Do you prefer to drive straight through and eat when you get there? Can you make it long amounts of time with a potty break. Do you prefer music to audio book? Kids also have opinions and preferences and it is always easier to work around their needs rather than your own. My husband is famous for saying, “I am not hungry,” when I ask him what we should make for dinner. I am usually not quite hungry either, but we have three kids so dinner has to be made!
Summer is in full swing. Hit the road with your kids and make some incredible memories together as a family.