The thought of traveling with a baby can be overwhelming, even while packing. Traveling with multiple small children can seem like an even more daunting prospect. Preparation is the key for any trip that involves little. You have to be ready for every possible situation, including entertaining bored children, changing clothes covered in vomit or needing an emergency snack. Planning before you go on your trip will help to keep you from losing your mind while you are in a car or on an airplane with your little rugrats.
1. Food on the Go
When traveling with babies or toddlers, you have to be prepared for them to get hungry while you’re on the move. Bring easy snacks, such as crackers, chips, fruit or oat cereal, with you in plastic baggies or travel cups for children. Think about taking pureed foods in pouches to minimize messes and the need for plastic silverware.
Try to get your baby to eat, drink or suck on something during takeoff, if you are flying, to minimize ear pressure.
Don’t overload your child with sugary snacks, such as candy, gummies or juice, early in the trip — then you could have a hyper child on your hands.
Bringing your own food can save you money because airport snacks can get expensive, no matter how many children you need them for. If you are eating in your car, bring a plastic bag or a cereal box lined with bags to use as a trash caddy.
While you are on vacation, do everything you can to make the eating process easier. Look for a hotel that offers free breakfast ahead of time. When you go out to eat, try to find a restaurant with a children’s menu and high chairs for babies. Take food for your children if you go to a restaurant they won’t like.
2. The Power of Toys
Keeping a baby or toddler entertained is important, especially when you are on a plane full of passengers. Pack a number of different types of toys. Choose familiar toys, such as a favorite teddy bear or stuffed animal, to bring a sense of home, but also incorporate new toys that will engage your youngster. You can purchase cheap yet fun toys, such as crayons, coloring books, yo-yos, books and stickers, at dollar stores and in discount bins. Make the new toys special by wrapping them up and giving them individually to your child. Throughout a flight or car trip, try to give your baby or toddler toys that are progressively more fun.
Purchase or bring along portable technology, such as a DVD player, Leapster or tablet, with movies and games for your child. If you have multiple youngsters, make sure they each have their own devices, especially if they are different ages. Bring headphones with you so that your children can watch their favorite TV shows or movies without disturbing the other passengers.
If your child gets tired of toys, try playing easy games such as the Alphabet game or I Spy. If possible, sit next to other families; that way, young children can entertain each other, and you will have more sympathy if you child starts to cry or throw a tantrum. If your children start to act up during trips, threaten to take away their favorite toys. If you are having a problem getting them to listen, this may be the only solution.
Consider bringing fun items for rest stops and outdoor play time, if you are on a car trip. Bubbles, Frisbees and balls can be a fun and easy way to engage your children. Play time can also help to tire them out when they are over-stimulated and give them time to move around. Time to move around is especially important for toddlers who have just started to walk. Try to plan fun daytime excursions to museums, aquariums or parks to make the trip more fun for your children. During your vacation, go on short excursions and plan for naptimes, so you can both have fun with your child and have time to relax.
3. Try to travel as early in the day as possible; children tend to tire in the afternoon and evenings. Stick to some type of routine while traveling, although it may be difficult to follow the rules you use at home. Making sure your baby naps and eats at the same time each day can help make the adjustment easier. Remember to be more flexible than you would be at home and give your young ones a day or two to get used to a new time zone.
4. Devices and Objects to Make Traveling Easier and Safer
Bringing extra clothing and items to use on your trip can make traveling by car or plane much smoother. Some devices can also be helpful during the duration of your trip. Try to pack well before you travel to make it easier on yourself and your significant other.
5. Never overlook the importance of having extra help from your partner or a nanny or babysitter, especially when traveling with multiple children. They can help you to keep your little ones engaged and fed, and put them down for naps.
6. Small preparations, such as taking a change of clothes with you in a sealed plastic bag, can be extremely useful. If your child doesn’t make it to the bathroom or throws up, you have a change of clothes and a sealable place to store the dirty clothing.
7. If you are traveling with children to a busy place, such as an airport, have them wear colors or designs that stick out in a crowd. Consider dressing them in matching clothes, such as shirts that are the same color, so that you can easily find them if they wander away from you.
8. Baby wipes are useful in different situations. You can use them to wipe off your tray table or arm rest, and to clean off your baby. Also, think ahead and bring “sick bags” with you, in case your child starts to feel nauseous during a car or plane ride.
9. To make sure your child stays as safe as possible when sitting or walking during trips, consider purchasing a safety harness such as a Yochi Yochi. You can use a safety harness throughout your trip, whenever you need a makeshift high chair, walking harness or safety strap for your child.
10. Try to make your vacation as convenient as possible, especially if you are traveling by car, by bringing a portable car seat, “boppy” pillow, travel high chair and portable stroller.
11. If you are not allowed to take a car seat onto a plane with you, the airline might allow you to check it. If you can take it on the airplane, the car seat provides a better method for securing your child than the plane’s seatbelt. If you hold on to your child during a flight, a “boppy” pillow can help you to support your If a travel stroller is inconvenient, a baby sling might be a better solution. A device such as a BabyBjorn allows you to conveniently carry your child. It is also easy to pack and stow during trips.
12. A baby backpack with multiple pockets, such as an Ogie backpack, allows you to carry bottles, diapers, formula, pacifiers, a first aid kit, toys and other necessities wherever you go.
Consider carrying a special pocket designed for travel documents in your luggage or carry-on bag. This device will allow you to keep any passports and other important documents, such as emergency checklists, car and hotel rental information, and travel documents, in one easy location.
13. Whether you stay in a hotel room, a relative’s home or rental house or cabin, try to set up areas such as toy spaces and kitchens, even if you need to improvise. You could use a drawer or shelf for toys and books or make a bathroom into a kitchen area with baby food, bottles, formula and dishes.
14. Don’t underestimate the importance of comfort objects such as favorite blankets or pillows. Although they can be a pain to drag around with you everywhere, they can help your child feel more secure and make the trip more bearable for you and the rest of your family.