Oh, the places you’ll go …
We just got back home from upstate New York. 2,877 miles! The trip was fun and we were glad to spend time with family and friends. The traveling… well it was definitely an experience.
Traveling with a toddler and a newborn is nothing like I expected.
Plane rides, melt downs, no naps, messed up schedules, time changes, oh my.
Initially, I thought if I did a lot of researching on the internet and pinning on Pinterest that I’d be
ready for this trip. That wasn’t the case.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a miserable experience. It just wasn’t as easy as I had originally hoped.
I’ve included some pictures of what I packed as carry on items. I wish I could have gotten some pictures from our travel days, but my husband and I were managing a toddler, 2 month old, and a lot of luggage.
< (Tula baby carrier pictured)
I decided to do one bag per person.
[[ Honestly, we only needed a bag for Austin’s toys and a bag for snacks/electronics/changing necessities. Three bags was too much. ]]
MOMMY’s BAG ^
I love my JuJuBe Bag. There is so much storage. There is a pocket/pouch for everything. If you love being organized like I do then you’ll love these bags.
The front pouches were for my essentials. I packed a nursing cover and lanolin cream for the little nugget (Luke). I also had a flashlight (just in case haha), some pens, a stain pen, hair ties, chap stick, hand sanitizer, and my inhaler.
< (Kokadi ring sling pictured upper right corner)
The inside is for the kids.
- Changing pad
- Wipes (butt wipes, hand wipes, boogie wipes, pacifier wipes)
Let me tell you, those pacie wipes come in handy because binkies were being dropped left and right by a cranky toddler.
- A change of clothes for each kid
- Small travel tubes of butt cream, first aid cream, and sun screen from California Baby (nice organic company that doesn’t have all those icky chemicals)
California Baby sells an AWESOME travel bag that is only 20 bucks at Target. If you’re interested in trying before you buy a big bottle then I highly recommend the travel bag.
- Wallet with cash (in case of emergencies or for tipping the bag boy)
- Plastic bag for trash and diapers if you can’t leave your seat or the stewardess hasn’t been by in a while
- M&Ms to bribe the toddler to behave
- Wrap for carrying baby in
I packed my Kokadi ring sling and my Tula SSC (soft structured carrier)
[[ I wish I could say that I used this bag frequently during the trip, but I ended up with the baby and only decided to have a wrap/carrier with me and a small drawstring bag with my nursing cover and diapers/wipes in it. ]]
AUSTIN’s BAG ^
I packed a bunch of goodies for Austin. My goal was to keep him preoccupied on the flight.
- Coloring books
- Paint with water pages
- Color wonder kit
- Matching game
- Flash cards (ABCs & shapes/colors)
- Electric toothbrush
Any other toddler would have LOVED this bag, but my toddler went through the whole bag in 10 seconds. He couldn’t keep his attention on one toy for too long. The big hit, however, was the electric tooth brush. He was preoccupied with that little treasure for a while. Although, I did have to take it away from him when he started brushing the backs of seats and the floor.
DADDY’s BAG ^
This was the snack/electronic bag
- Snack cup
- Empty juice cup
- Lolly pops for take off and landing
- Various snacks
- Fuzzy blanket
- PJs (since we were flying at night)
- Portable DVD player
Ah, that DVD player was a life saver. We need to invest in one that hold a charge longer.
Some little TIPS & TRICKS:
Going through Security
- You don’t have to remove kids’ shoes who are under 12 years of age
- Carry your baby in a soft structured carrier (like an Ergo, Tula, Becco). TSA will swab your hands and you don’t have to take your baby out of your carrier.
- Bottled breast milk (of any size) can be carried through security. Just let TSA know you have breast milk for baby (I exclusively breastfeed so no bottles here)
- Wear flip flops (easy to take off for security & in the plane)
Navigating the Airport
- I would HIGHLY suggest investing in a cheapo umbrella stroller. I’d say a cheap one because it WILL get a little bumped up and scratched traveling with other bags.
- Bring food so that you don’t have to make a mad dash to the restaurants between flight (wish we did that)
- Know your terminals, bathrooms, elevators, baggage claims, etc
- Get there at least 2 hours ahead of time. You never know how long the line will be for check-in and/or security.
- The less bags the better. Traveling with a ton of bags not only slows you down, but it is more to keep track of. They say two bags per person, but I’d recommend one bag per person.
- If you’re traveling with car seats and a stroller then check these bags AT THE GATE. This ensures that it’s not bumping around with all the other luggage and getting destroyed. You can transfer your car seats to your final destination and have your stroller meet you at each connecting flight. Having your stroller with you will make carting around a toddler so much easier.
- Have a separate drawstring bag for diaper changing essentials so you’re not taking your whole diaper bag to the bathroom. I found cute little drawstring bags in the dollar section at Target and used it for diaper necessities and my ring sling.
- Wear your baby while flying. I brought my ring sling and my Tula. I wore the Tula through security (no metal) and my ring sling while in flight. The SSC was nice for running through the airport and provided extra support while we were walking from gate to gate. The ring sling was light and soft so my son could fall asleep easily. If you do decide to wear your baby on the plane then you’ll have to take them out for take off and landing. Sucky, I know. However, if you’re wearing a SSC then you can just unbuckle the straps and still keep your baby in it and hold him in the carrier until it’s safe to strap him back up.
- Distractions for toddlers
- Binkies or lolly pops for take off and landing
- A variety of DVDs for the DVD player
- Book flights with a layover. Kids do not like being cooped up in an airplane for long periods of time. A direct flight is not a good idea if you’re going cross-country.
THE MOST IMPORTANT TIP EVER: make sure your kids have napped. DO NOT book a red eye in hopes that your kids will sleep on the plane. That may or may not happen. Don’t count on it. It’s best to plan a flight after nap time or right when they wake up.
When we flew, my son refused to nap. What a horrible day to skip nap time. He was overtired and cranky on the plane. A complete nightmare. The trip back home was significantly better because he had a whole night’s sleep. He even napped on the plane. We got compliments on how well our kids behaved on both our flights back home. Obviously, they weren’t PERFECT angels, but they did well enough to get complimented.
Some of the tips and tricks I read about helped A LOT and others… not so much. The only solid advice I can give you is know your child and figure out what works best for them. I guess what I am trying to say is that “you live and you learn.” No amount of preparation can cover ALL of the bases. You just need to have experience traveling and figure out what works best for you and your toddler or newborn.