HOW TO TRAVEL WITH SMALL KIDS
If you've been following along on instagram you may have noticed that this month has been quite possibly the busiest month of my entire life!! From traveling as a family of five to website launches, it was jam packed. It started in the beginning of the month when I won a website template from Go Live HQ which is a company that creates easy-to-use website templates. It was easy-to-use & took me just under two weeks to launch. I poured my heart & soul into it & here you have it, all graced up blog. Their expertise & customer service is amazing & it was such a great experience working alongside so many likeminded & determined individuals.
It was also my birthday month, I hosted a giveaway through the blog, I released a new tank design & I was on the One Story Podcast! You can find my episode here. The biggest part of the month was going to Tacoma, WA to see my sister-in-law marry her best friend. The experience was timeless & breathtaking.
The most important detail is that we survived the trip AND the wedding with three small kiddos. My 2 year old had a rough time on the take off, both up & back in the plane, but nestled in for snack & nap. So when I say we survived I mean, we survived, lol. We had an amazing time overall. Things are never perfect with kids, but I believe they can be made a little easier & I'm excited to share with you some tips we used to make our travel with small kids a little more comfortable.
Take breaks. I know this may seem a little obvious, like duh, of course you have to take breaks with kids. But what I mean is literally hang out in your hotel room, or wherever you're saying, & do absolutely NOTHING. We took breaks for more than a couple of hours & it was so necessary. Kids can only go for so long before one of them has a melt-down because they're too hot, too hungry or too over-stimulated. So avoid toddler tantrums, take breaks. I read this really helpful article, on traveling with kids, before we left.
I'm not saying that melt-downs won't happen if you take a solid break, but I am saying kids needs breaks & hold please, this mama needs breaks. I'm more apt to dealing with the melt-downs if I feel rested & under-stimulated too.
I'm an introvert so when you're putting me in an airport with hundreds of people, I'm likely to need a break afterward. We took our breaks during nap time & it worked out for everyone. A helpful tip to getting kids to take naps in the hotel, white noise & black out curtains. Hey, you might even be able to catch a snooze. Overall, I think it's important to feel rested when having to be alert in an area you're unfamiliar with.
Bring a 'goodie bag'. My tag line for the trip was, "You get to go in the goodie bag if you're goodie.". This works if the kids are rested & fed. It was fun for me to reward them & fun for them to choose from about 10 different dollar spot items. I kept each individual item at $1 & it was the best $10 I'd ever spent! We had everything from bubbles to activity books (these are Amazon pricing & items). Keep in mind, we have a 6, 4 & 2 year old & our standards for what 'goodie' is factors in how much they've had to endure for the day. The goodie bags were really well for the plane ride, for my 4 & 6 year olds. The baby preferred snacks, but did enjoy some coloring. Here are similar items to the ones we had in our travel 'goodie' bag.
This set of coloring & sticker books is fun!
Sticky Spider Man kept my son busy through an entire party! He's 4.
My son loves anything sticky & squishy!
We saved these for the very end, unfortunatley my 2 year old dumped hers our seconds after she opened it.
I found this same poster in the dollar spot at Target. It was all the hype.
What kid doesn't love an emoji activity book?
This is similar to the apple (color sorting) activity poster
Magic Ink Books! I had one for each kid & this kept the older two busy the entire plane ride there. How fun is this Moana one?! I've never seen a Moana one before.
Bring snacks. I brought snacks for the first part of the trip & this is what kept my 2-year old busy. She felt like a big girl with her plane tray table & didn't want any help setting herself up. She had some yogurt bites & fruit snacks that she would count & tell me the colors so this helped pass the time. Next time I may bring a few books. She also really liked the activity posters. I had pre-packed some snacks in bento box like containers. I found a similar option at Target here. The snacks sustained their hunger until we were able to grab happy meals & get to bed. The next day we stopped at the store to grab fruit, Cliff bars & drinks & then took them back to the hotel. You can never have too much food around when you have growing kids. So I say bring all the snacks & when you run out, buy more 'cause it'll keep energy levels higher (hopefully) throughout the trip.
Pack light, but smart. Thankfully my kids have surpassed the age where we have to bring the entire nursery. Sigh. I remember those days as they aren't that far behind me. But they're also at the age where I need to have all of the (just in cases) like band aids, snacks, water, diapers & wipes. I brought this backpack & it's everything I'd hoped for in a baby bag & more. It was our carry on & it worked out great! Here are some photos of us carrying it around town.
Tacoma holds history & beauty that I cannot explain to you here. It's peaceful, with lots to do. I highly suggest Point Defiance Zoo or driving through Point Defiance as they have a park & a rose garden. Hey, you may even catch a peacock or squirrels.
I hope you'll share some of your best traveling hacks below.
With grace & coffee,