Oh, The Places We’ll Go
Now that I’m around 6ish months pregnant travel is a no go for me, it’s too uncomfortable and not worth it. I know women can still travel up to 36 weeks but I’m playing it safe and just staying close to home for the time being. BUT, just because I can’t go the distance doesn’t me I can’t dream of all the places we’ve been and the places we’ll go! Traveling with children can be exhausting and you may even think it’s plain NOT worth it, don’t fret in my personal experiencing bring your kids along for the ride is amazing. Bringing your little ones with you can help you truly appreciate the things we all take for granted every time we travel. We are all concerned with getting where we have to go that sometimes we forget to stop and look at the amazing sights we don’t get to see every day. Just thinking about traveling with Gunnie gets me excited and now that we get to bring Bodhi into the mix, well I just can’t wait for all the fun and stressors that come with it.
I come from a family of travel lovers. We just love it and generally get antsy if we don’t have a trip planned out for the near future. With children and well life happening that’s made the amount of family trips we go on smaller and smaller. Thankfully though we always have one to look forward too. Every year my entire family, my mom, step-father, father, brother, sister in-law, their kids, my child, my husband….All of us go on this huge trip to the British Virgin Islands. We have a villa there and once we get to the house life is golden for the next two weeks but the process of getting there is intense. From planes to boats, even an opened taxi or two we lose at least two days traveling getting there and back.
With children this can be trying and Gunnar has definitely tested our limits once or twice. Thankfully though he has also helped us learn many lessons along the way. So Sam and I have come up with some good tips for traveling with the little ones. But before I list all we’ve learned and try to help you out a little just remember one thing for me. No matter what traveling with children is hard, it can be stressful and it will make you want to go into that airplane bathroom and cry just a little but it’s going to be fine. Once you get to your destination you are going to have the most amazing time and create memories for you and your little ones that will last a life time. So please take a deep breath before you step on that plane and remind yourself of that! Repeat after me: it’s all worth it!
- Balancing your carry-ons: This for me is the most important factor. I’m always concerned with the size and weight of our carry-ons. I can’t handle lugging around something extremely heavy or it puts me in a bad mood, this isn’t good when you are also bring children with you. So balance it out. If you’re traveling with someone make put all your electronics in one bag and all light weight baby toys in a larger than normal diaper bag. I always make Sam carry the electronics, chargers, wallets aka all the adult stuff in his back pack while I carry the baby/toddler items. I use the “Be Prepared” Diaper Tote by Juju be when we travel, it cost me a pretty penny but nothing beats the comfort of having everything at my grasp in a lightweight bag and organized bag. This baby even has a second strap for travel comfort and a crumb drain to keep the bag clean. Separating your items is a good way to keep everything organized and easy to pull out at a moments notice. Whether the baby is crying or customs needs your passport one of you will have it under control. Now say you are traveling alone I HIGHLY suggest getting the Juju be bag I have or something comparable it has separate pockets for each child as well as a separate space just for us mamas to put our thing. So you will literally feel like you have a helpful travel companion to keep it all together.
- Don’t go crazy on packing food: This won all depends on your family(Children) If your child has allergies OF COURSE you are going to have to pack accordingly but if you like I have a little one who doesn’t have to worry as much then I wouldn’t suggest going crazy. I know people say to stock up on snacks for the plane but I’ve found that if I buy them at the airport they are packaged perfectly for a flight as opposed to that huge bulk bag I just purchased and had to put into little baggies that will ripe faster than you can open them. I know this can mean a costly day but plane ahead and put that into your budget and you won’t have a problem. In my experience I’ve wasted so much time preparing snack only for him to ripe the ziplock open( my child is a beast). OR and this is just the worst and it used to kill me every single time. We will be grading waters and milk for the flight when Gunnie spots certain treats me wants. Well, my stubborn little two-year old will then refuse to eat anything I’ve packed the ENTIRE trip because I didn’t get him what he now decided he had to have that little store in the airport. So besides a few basics I suggest you do away with a ton of prepared snacks and just go light expecting to buy a thing or two on your way.
- Entertainment: Okay so this is where you may disagree with me, Sam and I don’t really agree with electronics for baby on the flight. Don’t get me wrong we bring an iPad just in case something goes wrong. But we or at least I try to use this time to really focus of Gunnar. We bring a couple entertaining things and spend the majority of the flight playing with him. He is surrounded by new people and that can be exciting for a little one so I figure if we keep up the human interaction( even if it is just with Sam and I) He will get out the extra excitement he may have stored in that little body.
- SMALL Cars/Action Figures: Why do I specify bringing only small items. Well, first let me state I like to prepare for the worst and expect the best out of our little one. So while I’m hopeful he won’t have a major freak out I’m constantly preparing for when it might happen. The smaller the toy the less it will hurt your fellow passengers in the event that he/she goes loco.
- Mess-Free Markers/Original Crayola Crayons: I love Crayola for inventing the mess-free markers, they only draw on the paper and won’t mess up the tray tables or seats when he “accidentally” draws on them. Plus they are 6 bucks and everywhere throughout the airport so its fantastic. I also love crayons because they are wax and I have the entire flight to rub off the coloring from the tray table and they don’t easily color onto the fabric of the seats.
- Straws/Screw on baby bottle caps: You never know when your little one is either going to lose or throw their bottle sometimes it’s as easy as picking it up other times and especially while flying or say you’re traveling on a boat it can be not so easy. One time when on a ferry to the Island aka our destination, Gunnie decided to throw a fit and chuck his bottle over board. This was hilarious to us newby parents until he decided it wanted it back again and we had nothing. Our luggage was on a different boat meeting us there, the other bottles were dirty and we didn’t have a sink, soap, or baby brush to clean them. Basically we had never felt more helpless. I swore that would never happen to us again and then I found toddler water bottle caps. LIFE SAVER they have them in a few different styles so no matter what age you will be good to go. Another option is stocking up on straws for your little one can take sips from a regular beverage as well.
- Essentials are key: Now I know I said don’t stock up on snacks and there’s another reason I suggest this. You need as much room as possible for baby wipes, extra clothes, the all mighty diapers. Those are your essentials everything else look to the airport for but when it comes to baby products like butt paste and all the others I’ve listed above STOCK UP. You never know how much your child will decide to pee that day or if they end up with a diaper rash out of the blue and you don’t have enough baby cream, well I suggest you just start drinking as many mimosas as possible because sugar it’s going to be a long flight. These things are the creäture comforts to your little one don’t if you run out…excuse my language but the shit is literally going to hit the fan.During one of our first traveling experiences with Gunnar he was right around the age he could start to drink other things instead of just milk. So we thought, “Oh apple juice will be fun for him and a special treat for the flight!” Well, that kid didn’t stop peeing the entire flight, he peed on me like 4 times and we just couldn’t figure out what was going on. On top of all that we ran out of diapers. ? Thankfully there was a woman traveling with her own little one who just happened to be sitting near us and noticed the panic in my eyes and must have heard me tell Sam we were out. She came up to us and politely handed us 5 diapers and said, “Don’t worry I have extras.”….In that moment that woman didn’t just hand me 5 diapers she handed me my sanity and I will forever be grateful for her. Later on when we met us with my parents we told them the story and my mom just burst out laughing. Apparently apple juice is more likely to run through children so they will pee more often, so basically we had killed our own travel vibe and didn’t even know it!