Traveling with Toddlers and Babies Series
Part 4 ~ When You Get There (you are here!)
When you get to your destination with your kiddos, there are a few more things you'll need to think about.
Wherever you go, Whatever you do
|Suitcase Stack by Moxiedoll|
- Make it a habit of turning around when you stand up to leave from wherever you were sitting--the train seat, the church pew, the park bench. If you do this all the time, you'll be much less likely to lose toys, sunglasses, backpacks, etc.
- If you have a newly-mobile baby and you're staying in a non-child-proofed environment, consider buying a used Exersaucer, Jumperoo or Bumbo from Once Upon a Child, Craigslist.org or a local garage sale. You can always sell it again at the end of your trip.
- There are some creative solutions for childproofing rooms like Travel Tot's Travel Childproofing Kit (I haven't tried this one but it looks great!).
- Do some research online to find out family-friendly destination-specific advice
- Have older kids keep a travel journal to remind them of what they enjoyed about the trip.
- Let them walk as much as possible, reserve the stroller rides for only when necessary.
- Don't have your heart set on your little one enjoying something that you're really looking forward to. Let them enjoy what they want to enjoy.
- This an obvious one, but play up parts of travel that might be really boring to the kids: Wow, we get to ride on a bus for 3 whole hours!!
- Do your research on kid-friendly restaurants. Sites like Urbanspoon.com can help (choose your city, then under Special Features, click on Kid Friendly).
- Use website guides or blogs written for traveling with kids at your specific destination.
- Take advantage of some good apps for traveling. My favorite free apps are Urbanspoon, Sit or Squat (locates public restrooms), Converter Plus and Google Places.
- If you have a Netflix subscription, you can get the free Netflix app to instantly watch movies in your queue.
- Also check out location-specific websites and apps, such as those offered by TimeOut, Frommer's, or Fodor's.
- This probably goes without saying, but always have snacks with you!
If you're a tourist
|My Sweets and Little Sweets at the park behind Westminster Abbey|
- Plan for LOTS of stops at parks and grassy areas throughout your day to let the energy burn off! I had no idea how many parks there were in London until I went there with a 20-month-old.
- If you're a schedule/routine person like me, don't hesitate to take your baby back to your hotel for a nap in the middle of the day. It's nice for us grown-ups to have a break, too!
- ...or recline that stroller and get your baby comfy for an on-the-go-nap.
- If you're going to an amusement park, you can buy from the kid's menu (even if your kid is not eating solids yet). This is a great way to save a few dollars. (Thanks, Tiffany G.!)
- Keep a selection of toys/activities from your Busy Bag accessible for restaurants, waiting in lines, stroller rides, etc. (Be sure to keep a few packed so they're still novel for the way home!)
- If you're taking a tour somewhere that strollers are not allowed (a museum, castle, etc.), they will sometimes have hip carrier/fanny pack type things (no idea what they're really called, can you tell?). You strap it around you like a belt but there's a little platform where your kiddo can sit. That way you're not carrying his or her full body weight during the whole tour.
- If you're going to an amusement park, read up on what kind of strollers they have available for rental. Some do not recline. Some look like they're as hard as a rock. Some don't have storage basket. Better to know ahead of time so you can bring your own stroller if you need to!
If you're staying in a hotel OR with family or friends
- If at all possible, sleep in the same place every night. In our experience, moving from one place to another on trips has led to sleep issues. Consistency is key for a little one in a new and unfamiliar environment.
- Don't hesitate to rearrange furniture to suit your kid's needs.
- You may want to drape a blanket or towel over the side(s) of baby's crib or Pack 'N Play to keep the light out and the distractions to a minimum.
- Hopefully before you left, you read about crib safety. If you're unsure about the crib, rent one (check here for U.S. travel, here for international travel).
- Spread out a sheet or plastic mat under the high chair at Gramma's. If you do this, she might consider inviting you back. =)
If you made it through this entire Tips for Traveling with Toddlers and Babies series, you now know every single thing I know about traveling with tots. Thanks for sticking with me and I hope you feel more prepared and at ease for your upcoming trip!
As my tot gets older and as our family expands, I'm sure there will be much more to learn. If you have tips to share with me and others, please leave a comment here. I'd love to learn from you, too.