The prospect of traveling with your new baby for the first time can be totally overwhelming, and you know what? Your right. The first time my husband and I planned a plane trip after my first daughter, Esther, was born, I wasn’t sure if I could go through with it. Now, with four kids, travel can still be quite an ordeal, but I’ve learned a few things along the way to help ease the anxiety. This picture is our youngest Zmax, we were on our way to Disneyland in May and he walked right out of the airport and tried to hail his own cab, he was so excited.
No matter how many times I get on a flight with my kids, I lose sleep the night before we leave thinking through all the possible scenarios: Will one of their ears hurt? Will they scream the whole time? How am I going to get through security? How will I keep my kids from getting bored? Prep for a long road trip causes a similar amount of stress, just take out the 150 people who accompany you on the airline that your kids could possibly annoy and realize "Hey, it's just me that my bored kids will be driving crazy". To be honest, sometimes I prefer the public scenario because it helps me behave better when my kids are out of control, when were on a long road trip and no one is watching, it's to easy for scary mom voice surface!
I had a great laugh, and could empathize, when I read this post about staying sane while traveling with kids and it got me thinking about my own lessons learned. In this series of posts, I’ll offer tips and things to consider before you embark on your next family trip.
What do I pack?
Packing your baby up just to go down the street to the store can often seem like a chore, let alone for an overnight trip. It is unbelievable that such a little child can require so much stuff and so many bags.
For the carry-on
Make sure you have the essentials such as food and snacks for the trip as well as enough diapers and wipes. Sometimes I take just enough to last me through to my destination and then pick up a package once I’m there to avoid one suitcase just full of diapers. I also bring tylenol if I'm flying and I know one of my kids has had a cold. I often give it to them right before we get on the plane. If you have ever been descending with a baby or child who has sensitive ear drums and had to comfort them through the screams and pain, you would want to do the same!
For the suitcase
While many moms probably tend to be over-packers, when it comes to what our children really will need, planning ahead and being organized is the best tip I......no, I take that back, it's the best tip my friend Crystal Venti can give you. Why didn't I give it to you? I have a moral conviction to only give advice that I practice. I am the worst packer you have ever seen. I have this strange and sadistic part of me that enjoys the risk of not packing right. I oddly enjoy the thought that I may have to make a quick run to the store for something I forgot or perhaps buy a new outfit because I didn't pack for every weather option. Crystal on the other hand packs an outfit for every day & every type of weather. She puts each outfit in a ziplock bag with the day of the week on it incase someone else is dressing the kids for her. Another mom blogger Rachel, packs like this (the picture below is hers) and has great travel tips! Would you just die and go to heaven if someone came and packed your kids stuff like that for you? Its not that I don't want to pack like that......for some reason I just can't bring myself to do it! I guess there is some comfort in the chaos I have created around me.
Make your trip easier with these 3 things!
- Baby food squeeze pouches: I swear the mom who invented the baby food squeeze pouches was a frequent traveller. Here's the best price I've found. If you haven't used them yet, than first of all, welcome to motherhood, and I would like to introduce you to your new best friend.
- On the Go Fun and Snack Tray: This is amazing for a road trip! And its a great price!It stores all the games and gadgets your little one will need and they can't just drop the tray on the ground because it's belted in! Someone give a holler for that!
- Flyebaby Airplane Baby Comfort System: This little airline gadget by Flyebaby could really make a trip easier and give you some hands free movement if you aren't going to buy a seat for you baby.
Make a list and check it twice!
This traveling momma offers up an informative packing check-list worth referencing. I especially like the ‘forbidden’ snacks item. Similar to those ‘new’ toys that appear on the airplane, having a snack that they don’t generally get at home can be a good way to keep your kid happy and quiet during the trip.
Also, I know some moms have differing opinions on this, but when they say families traveling with small children can board early, you might want to take them up on it. With all the gear and bags and kids, it’s nice to be able to get in there and situated so you’re all ready to go at take-off, not to mention you won't have to face the embarrassment of nailing every other row in the head with your diaper bag as you try to squeeze down the middle isle, getting dirty stare-downs.