We are not routine travelers by any means. Our honeymoon was a complete disaster filled with food poisoning and hurricanes. We took one trip when McCoy was eight months old and left him with my in-laws. That vacation was relaxing but I spent most of my time missing my baby and making trips up to the hotel room to pump, ha! I was so nervous for this trip. Now having completing this and surviving it haha, I would definitely do it again. Below are the tips Nick and I came up with when it comes to traveling with littles, or even just one. If you have anymore to add, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
Keep their Night time Routine and Essentials Consistent to Home: Both of our kids slept amazing on our vacation. In part it was because we had very busy days and McCoy didn’t nap for most of them. But I think another reason why they slept so well is because we kept their night time routine similar to what it is at home. No matter what time it was when we got back to the house from the parks, we gave them both baths and had a little time to wind down. We packed our Dockatot for Riggins since this is what he is used to sleeping in at home and for the most part he was making it all the way through each night.
Keep Toys and Snacks Simple: I packed a large Ziplock baggie filled with McCoy’s Tot Fruit Pouches, animal crackers, yogurt melts, and some Lara Bars for myself and Nick. I probably had too much to be honest with you. I also had water bottles for us but since we were so busy from the time we reached the air port and completing check in and security and potty breaks and several blowouts from Riggins, I didn’t even fill them. We just bought bottled water when we reached our terminal. So I would probably do without the water bottles next time. I also had two small travel size containers of my Thieves hand sanitizers and Thieves wipes for wiping down hands and the plane seats. Paci wipes were also in my carry on and they came in handy.
Bring your own Car Seats and Stroller: We were really debating on this but I am so glad we decided to bring our own. First of all, having the stroller to use at the airport really helped free our hands for other luggage and carry on bags. Secondly, we looked into renting car seats that would come with our rental car and it was an extra $35 PER CAR SEAT/ PER DAY. That would have costed us an extra $560 compared to just being able to check everything for free. We checked the car seats at check in with our luggage bags and we checked the stroller right before we stepped on the plane at the gate. They gave us our own tags and everything - it was really convenient.
Have Patience with your Spouse: We spent eight days in house with 9 people. There were times that were stressful and I prepared myself for this before even leaving for the trip. To be honest, just leaving our house to get to the airport to head out for vacation was stressful. But each day became a little easier and we got into the swing of things. Nick and I realized that we had to communicate with one another. He made sure I was stopping for water and snacks as much as we needed. I always had the bags and snacks packed for the parks and ready to go the night before. He held the blanket up until I was situated breastfeeding and he always offered to take Riggins’ to be changed. We figured out what worked well and just kept communicating. I will say we did a lot of on the fly diaper changes (on our laps in the plane, on hidden park benches, and even on the floor of the air port). You do what you have to do and move on. It’s all good.
Clip the Important Things Together: Before leaving for the airport, we had our boarding passes printed. We clipped these together with both of our licenses and the kid’s birth certificates so when it came time to check in, everything was together. We had so much stuff and so many bags and car seats, so I just wanted the important things together for smooth transition through the air port. We left at 4 AM so when we arrived McCoy was sleepy and needed me to hold him basically all the way through security and it was so nice to be able to just have everything we needed clipped and ready for handling.
Be Flexible with their Routine: I wouldn’t say I’m a strict routine follower while being at home with my kids on a daily basis, but we do get on a weekly rhythm. McCoy is still an amazing napper for me in the afternoons and Riggins is just starting to start a nap schedule when we’re home as well. We let all of this go while vacationing. McCoy really only napped one of the eight days unless we happened to be in the car around that time. And Riggins just sort of slept when he could or would while in the stroller or in my carrier. I just remained flexible and in the end, we had some really crabby toddler meltdowns, but it all worked out - and like I said before, our kids slept great at night and until at least 8:30 in the mornings.