Observations on Traveling with Kids

27 July Csehy 8 {empty cups = amazing for a 10 month old! And yes, United served us stroopwaffles!}

Since S was born, we’ve taken two US road trips (+ lots of 5 hour trips), flown internationally 3 times (round trip), and numerous times in the US. About half of that has been since Ellie was born… and I don’t think I could do both kids by myself very well. Just S and I was not too challenging for me most of the time (but, much of the solo air travel I did was in Japan, where it’s much easier to go to the bathroom with a baby in tow because they have infant seats in some stalls).

I feel like all ages have their challenges, but we have found that some are easier than others:
Before 3 months, they really are just along for the ride! You do have to stop more frequently for feeds and diaper changes, and pack more clothes for them, but they don’t need a lot.
Then we found that 3-4 months was hard in the car, because they wanted to be entertained but couldn’t do it themselves. But, they’re not eating solids yet and don’t nurse and fill their diapers quite so much so you can drive longer stretches and don’t have to pack as much for them.
4 months – mobile seems to be a sweet spot for traveling with babies. At that age ours have been content to sit and play in the car seat or on a lap for longer periods of time, they’re going longer between feeds and eating some solid food but not relying on you having packed food for them, and they’re not going through as many clothes from spit up and diaper leaks.
I feel like the most difficult age is when they can crawl and are learning to walk – they’re not content to sit on your lap, are less easily entertained (though there’s still a lot to be said for a cup!), need solid food, and don’t sleep as comfortably in a carrier or stroller, but aren’t flexible to skip naps like an older toddler is.
Then it’s been easier again in our experience, especially once they turn two and need their own seat on the airplane (but then they definitely need you to pack food and things for them to do!).

Packing:
We try to travel as light as possible, which never looks like it sounds with 2 kids, since that still includes 2 car seats, a stroller (or two), a peapod (better than a pack n play for travel!), plus clothes, toys, books, etc.
S gets her own backpack and it’s usually filled with books (usually a week before we travel I hide what I’m going to pack so it’s “new”, and try to pick books that entertain her for a long time), stickers (we love Melissa & Doug’s puffy sticker sets), and a paint with water book, plus a few small toys like cars.
Ellie is pretty entertained by non-toy items like magazines, cups, etc. but we always pack her bolli, rings, and a few books.

I organize my suitcase differently depending on the length of the trip:
for short trips (2-5 days), I pack an outfit for each person for each day and throw in a few extras at the bottom. It’s arranged by day, with each stack having an outfit for me and each of the girls.
for long trips (5+ days), I pack each person’s clothes in a separate section of the suitcase and pull outfits together each day, since on longer trips we take most of our clothes anyway.

Travel days:
If we’re leaving early in the morning, we make overnight oats to eat on our way out the door and try to have the car packed as much as possible.
I plan what I wear pretty carefully, since with all the ups and downs and ins and outs, lifting, reaching, bending, nursing, etc. I want something comfortable easy to nurse in but also modest, so I usually end up wearing a longer nursing tank and then a higher-necked shirt on top, with jeans and shoes that come on and off easily.

Food
We generally pack our own meals for the airplane, but don’t usually get more creative than sandwiches. I pack pouches and larabars for snacks and sometimes try to make something else… but this is an area I really want to grow in!
We do love our beeswrap for packing sandwiches, and have some stainless steel containers that we use for other snacks.

Do you have any travel tips or hacks? What are your go-to travel foods?

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