When it comes to travel I have two options, either don’t do it all or bring my kids. I bring my kids. Yes it’s a different kind of vacation and requires much more planning, but it’s worth it to me. The alternative is sitting at home. No thanks. My hubs and I brought our Idris (our oldest) with us everywhere and he’s an awesome traveler because of it. When the second one came along, we really didn’t want to slow down. So far, Cyrus has been a champ!
Here are some of my personal tips for traveling with my kids.
- Manage expectations. This is the most important tip I have. It’s going to be a different kind of trip when you’re rollin with the youngster crew, so get in the right mind set. Try really hard not to loose your shit, even if your kid(s) are throwing fits or being little a-holes. Kids can totally feel your energy. If you start to freak out and get angry, things will get even worse. No bueno. TRY and find humor in the craziness that is parenting.
- Get all the documents in order. When you’re traveling internationally it’s necessary to have all your kids’ documents in order. Even if your baby is 1 day old, they need a passport to travel outside the country. You need to have a passport picture and birth certificate for your kids to obtain a passport. The Federal Building in LA was surprisingly helpful at expediting Cyrus’ passport for our Mexico trip.
- Plan activities for the kids. My oldest is truly happy playing at the beach ALL DAY LONG and my baby is happy just being outside in the fresh air. For our recent Mexico trip my goal was to chill on the beach all day, er’ryday. No big expeditions or adventures, just lounging. When I went on my cross country road trip last summer I made sure to stop at at least one new playground a day so Idris could get his wiggles out. In my experience as long as we had a toddler friendly activity every day, we had a good day. Happy kid = happy mom= happy dad.
- Dining out. First off, it’s totally possible. Have you heard of an IPad? Of course I don’t want to be one of those parents who shoves an iPad in front of my kid so I can ignore him while I eat- but on vacation, I’m totally okay with it! It’s honestly a win win for my family. Why not let my toddler watch Cars for the 700th time so I can enjoy a meal like an adult? No shame in my game!
- Airbnb vs hotel. There are tons of pros to each. In an airbnb you can have the option of having a kitchen which can be great when traveling with kids. This way you can go grocery shopping and make a ton of meals, snacks at home, or heat up a baby’s bottle. I’ve personally always loved staying in nice hotels and I’ve been lucky enough to experience some really beautiful kid friendly hotels. Four Seasons Hotels have been very well documented on my blog and YT channel as being a phenomenal hotel for kids. They really do offer a plethora of amenities for your little ones. Yes it’s pricey- but sooo fabulous. It just depends on the ages of your kids and what you plan on doing. If you’re traveling with other families with kids, airbnb might be the best bet.
- Babysitters. We’ve had A LOT of weddings that we’ve traveled for in the past few years and kids haven’t been invited. This is when babysitters come in handy! I’ve hired at least 8 different sitters on trips and they’ve all been wonderful. If you’re staying at a hotel you can call the concierge and ask them what babysitting service they work with and give them a call to book. Sitters can come to your room and watch your kids. Idris is super social and has never had an issue being alone with strangers. Hiring a sitter can be expensive (anywhere from $15-25 an hour) so make sure your night out is worth it!
- Pack Light. I think one of the most challenging things about traveling with kids is lugging all the crap around. Minimize it if you can. We always pack enough diapers to get us through the first night and then we buy supplies, like diapers, sunscreen, etc when we arrive at our destination.
- Bring Snacks. While I do think it’s important to pack light, I also think you need to have some emergency snacks or treats with you at all times. When you’re traveling, you never know if your plane is going to be on time, how long it will take to get your luggage or where you’re going to find a meal, so it’s crucial to have something to eat for your kids. AND- if there is a particularly long line or flight, it’s nice to reward good behavior with a lollipop or pringles. (Those always work well in my family) OR just good old fashion bribery works well too, i.e.: “Be good in this long line and I’ll give you a cookie.” Genius.
- Recruit family to join your vacay. Obviously, this may not work for everyone but when I think about a vacation somewhere I run it by all of my family members to see if they want to join. Most of the time I can recruit at least one family member to join. This particular trip to Mexico I had my dad and brother along for the ride. I happen to love my immediate family, but it you don’t try and recruit friends and their kids. The more hands on deck the better.
*The top 5 photos the boys are wearing matching outfits from Miki Miette. They are the perfect vacation pieces- super soft and comfy.
Merci Bubajune for a great trip and wonderful photos! You can see more of my Dad’s photography by clicking here.