Traveling with young kids tips to make your life a little bit easier.
We are going on a 10-day Costa Rica trip with the whole family (my husband, 4-year old, 15-month old and I) so I got inspired to write a blog post on tips that I have used for the past almost 5 years.
I started flying with my first baby internationally since he was 6 months old. It is actually easier to travel with them when they are infants. All you really have to worry about is food, getting them to sleep (a baby carrier is wonderful for this), and changing their diaper.
I was so overwhelmed at first I almost didn’t book it. Luckily, I had no choice. This first trip was to my own wedding in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
The thought of traveling with young kids can be daunting. Having to force them to sit for a long time on an airplane, knowing they are probably going to have a hard time, can make you not even want to book a trip at all.
So the absolute first traveling with young kids tips is to change your mindset.
Knowing that yes, they will have a hard time, but they are so resilient they will get through it. They have to get out of their routine in order to grow. To really work that resilience muscle. Otherwise, when they are adults and things do not go their way, they will not know how to handle it.
Mentally prepare to have to deal with a lot of meltdowns. Think about it, as adults, we have many meltdowns. It is only human for them to have many meltdowns too. It doesn’t mean you are a bad parent and you shouldn’t have gone on the trip. It just means they are learning a new skill. Learning a new skill takes challenging moments and getting through them.
Also, mentally preparing them really helps. Even if they are infants, they fully understand. I mentally prepare my children months in advance. I start to talk about where we are going. How they will have to sit for long periods of time. How they will probably not get enough sleep. They will sleep in new environments. Eat different foods.
Mentally prepare them all the way up until the beginning of the trip.
Then even while on the trip.
For example, “baby we are about to get on the plane. Which means we will be sitting for a long time. You probably won’t like it because you are not used to it. If you need to get your wiggles out, let me know. We will get through this together.”
Also, bringing all of the equipment. That never goes away though until they are over the toddler years.
That gets me to my second traveling with young kids tips.
Make sure to get a passport if you are traveling internationally! I would do it 6 months in advance because getting a passport is a lengthy process. You have to first, get their picture taken. Which has a lot of rules.
I just recently used Passport-Photo.online with my 15-month old and it was the best decision I have ever made. You can take your picture right at home. I tried taking her in to a Fedex to get her picture taken. Let’s just say she was not having it and we had to go home with no pictures taken lol. They will give you all of the guidelines and then send you an approved photo. All you have to do afterwards is get it printed out. I went to a Walgreens and it was a pretty smooth, easy, process.
Then you have to make an appointment online. Fill out paperwork. Show up to the appointment with both parents. Submit paperwork and payment. Then weeks to months later you will receive their passport in the mail.
Let’s get back to “bringing all of the equipment.” Which will lead to the third traveling with young kids tips:
- One thing I wish I would’ve bought from the very beginning was this stroller/car seat. It is a car seat and stroller in one. How perfect!
- If you have an older child, this car seat is great for traveling too. They are pricey but seriously so worth the hassle of bringing all of the heavy equipment.
- For sleeping, this pack and play is so light and easy to maneuver.
- Sound machines are an absolute must. Especially if they already sleep with a sound machines at home. Recreating their sleeping environment is so critical.
- You never know what kind window situation you are going to get, especially at Airbnb’s. I’ve had this portable blackout curtain delivered to me before because I did not bring enough.
- This single stroller is light, portable and we have actually have had for years and it still works great.
- If you need a double stroller, we just bought this one.
Fourth traveling with young kids tips is to bring LOTS of snacks.
Snacks make the world go round when it comes to traveling. It keeps them occupied, happy and content. It is also hard to predict when you will be able to buy food at the airport or when on the road. To be honest, the airplane snacks are kind of terrible.
Don’t forget snacks for you too. You do not want to get hangry. You want to be able to keep your cool throughout the entire trip.
Which leads me to my fifth traveling with young kids tips.
Take care of you. Always. Probably first especially because you will be the captain of the ship. If you are traveling alone, this is a nonnegotiable obviously. If you are traveling with someone else, you both need to be able to keep your confidence throughout the whole trip.
Here is how I take care of myself while traveling:
- Bringing all of the my supplements. I recently posted on my Instagram and Tiktok which are the specific ones I bring and why.
- Make space for moving my body, even if that means on the floor somewhere. Just literally anywhere.
- Making space for stillness and meditation. Before the kids wake up is usually the best time but you just can’t predict how the days will go. So anytime of the day will do.
- I choose to see the opportunity in whatever comes our way.
- I stay present as much as possible
- I eat and enjoy myself. I will also try to scope out fruits and vegetables though whenever I can. They simply just make me feel good. Internally and mentally.
- Ask for help or breaks from my partner whenever I am starting to feel moody. My moodiness indicates I need time to myself.
My sixth and final traveling with young kids tips is to start packing days ahead!
That way you have time to order or buy whatever is missing. You feel inner peace the night before knowing that you have everything you need. But if you do forget something, c’est la vie!
I will post my next blog post when I get back from my Costa Rica trip with the family. Any tips and tricks that we learned along the way. What to do, what not to do and where to go.
Any professional travelers out there want to give me any more tips that I can add to the list?
Thank you and so grateful you are here.
Alejandra at Living Well Co.
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