We're willing to bet you're doing a little bit of travel next week. For so many of us, Thanksgiving ushers in the season of holiday travel. And whether it’s two hours or twelve, traveling with kids can be stressful. If the thought of managing a crying infant on a plane (or in the back seat of a car) makes you sweat, you're in good company! Most parents feel at least some level of stress navigating travel with little ones.
Of course, it’s not realistic to think about avoiding all travel—sometimes you’ve just got to make the trip. So we reached out to the experts—moms who have been there, done it, and learned something along the way. Here are seven of their best tips for making the most of any trip with kiddos.
There's nothing worse than sitting in front of an empty suitcase hours before you're supposed to leave for vacation—especially when you're packing for kids. Now’s not the time to “wing it”. Trust us. Start making a list and organizing a few days (or even a week!) in advance. Take note of everything you’ll need (in transit and at your destination), and give your bags as once over to make sure you’ve covered everything (double check for the win!). @sarahblxhm says this will help you feel like a more confident traveler (and we all know confidence is key when you’re managing children). @kaiwhi25 agrees—she once packed breast milk bottles but forgot the nipples! If you've got an toddler (or older!) consider packing a bag with a few items she hasn't seen before (stickers, little plastic toys from the dollar store).
@dfitzpdx suggests “packing an extra outfit in the diaper bag (or carry on) for baby AND yourself! You never know when you'll need it.” This is a must for mama and baby–mid air diaper explosions are tough to recover from without backup! Plus, you'll be all set if the airline misplaces your luggage.
The last thing you want to worry about are little fingers on germy surfaces—and airplanes tend to be one of the yuckiest places out there. Give things like trays a once-over with antibacterial wipes before using them; and spritz hands regularly with sanitizer. A thermometer is always good to have on hand, and pack extra liquid pain relief for achy joints and potential fevers. When you're en route (or get to your destination), children's melatonin drops can help to calm and relax. For infants, stash a Nose Frida—it’s the best for dealing with congestion in little noses. Keep it all organized in a pouch so you're not digging through your bag when you really need things.
Time is a gift when you’re traveling—it’s important to account for delays due to things like airport security or traffic. @dfitzpdx says this will help keep your anxiety in check, and reduce the stress level for everyone.
Have a crying baby? Try to keep your nerves under control. The majority of travelers are sympathetic to parents traveling with small children—and you shouldn’t be worrying about the minority who aren’t @cmstreit agrees. “Stay calm," she says. “When your calm your baby is calm and not stressed. Don't get stressed over your child screaming on the airplane, it's part of traveling.” If your baby is fussy and needs to sleep, consider wearing her! The comfort of being secure and close to you will calm her down. Plus you’ll be hands-free!
Yes, it’s not always possible, but if you can coordinate your time on the plane or in the car to fit with your child’s nap schedule, you may get to enjoy some peace and quiet. @anaaa__v90 says “don’t let them nap before traveling, diaper changing and feed minutes before leaving. They will nap through it all. I've done 2hr trips and 5 hr trips 3-5 times a year and this has worked with both my kids even as toddlers. For older kids a charged tablet and snack for the road helps too.”
We hear from so many mamas who think our multi-use covers are indispensable for traveling—for nursing and covering their littles while they rest. @dreaday says “this @coveredgoods nursing cover isn't meant to be worn this way but when I wear it as a tent, they both knock out in minutes! They both slept almost the entire flight!" And bring an extra—it can double as a blanket in a pinch.