Toddler Travel Tips

Vacation! So fun! So relaxing!

Just kidding. We are going on vacation with three kids four and under. Traveling with kids. Oh so fun. Not kidding. I love showing them new adventures!

To be perfectly honest, we have never driven more than four hours with our children. From where we live, driving to Florida would be two full days each way, and we don’t have that kind of time (or patience). I have several sweet friends who do the driving through the night so kids sleep trick. But if you follow me on Instagram you know that I turn into a pumpkin at 9pm so that option isn’t available to us. Therefore, every tip or story you see here is from our flying adventures.

The first time we flew with children they were 2.5 years, 18 months, and 5 months. On top of their young ages, we had only known each other for three months. We were straight in the middle of figuring everyone out and learning how to trust. Before we flew I did a ton of research, some helpful and some not so much.

Here is my complied list of helpful tips if you’re flying with littles (especially if you’re also traveling with special needs and trauma):

1. Know your airline!

Researching your airlines policy on traveling with children is extremely helpful. We’ve only flown Allegiant with our crew. Allegiant only allows one lap child per row because of oxygen masks. But they do let each child have a free diaper bag. Knowing these kind of policies before arriving will put you at ease. Or, when someone tries to tell you that you’re not allowed to do something, you’ll be armed with policy language.

2. Don’t arrive too early.

Has anyone ever told you that littles are squirmy? Having time to kill at the airport is the worst. Airports are not sensory friendly and cause a ton of anxiety for a couple of my small humans. If you can, leave just enough time to get through security and let everyone pee.

3. There can never be too many snacks on travel day.

A couple of days of snack overload will not kill your routine. And trust me, we are the house where snacks are on a timer, and I still believe this tip. Snacks distract, but they also help clear airplane ears, and keep blood sugar high. Many a travel meltdown has been cured with a box of raisins. I put a gallon zip lock of snacks in each child’s backpack for easy access.

4. Pack brand new never seen before toys and activities.

This might be the most circulated tip but I believe it with all my might. I grab activity books, tiny stuffed animals, and trinket toys after major holidays when they are on super clearance and save it for travel days. Small children don’t care if they are coloring Jack-o-lanterns in June…for them it’s a brand new experience and keeps them engaged longer.

5. Stickers.

Same concept. Melissa and Dog have some awesome reusable sticker books. The reusable stickers can stick to almost any airplane surface and can easily be removed and restuck for at least 12 minutes.

6. Must have Accessories.

Blow up footstool, everyone’s favorite blankey, water cups with straws (again, help those babies clear their ears!), earplugs/headphones (my oldest has a hard time with noises, headphones make all the difference), socks.

7. Breathe.

Hey moms and dads! Take a breath, give grace, breathe. People are going to be grouchy and rude. But guess what, even if they never had annoying loud kids, at one point they were an annoying loud kid. Although we try our hardest to make sure our children are respectful and quietish…is that really legitimately possible at all times? No. So go ahead and plaster a smile on your face and enjoy the fact that your children get to experience the wonder of travel at a young age!

In travel, and in life, your mood and attitude will be reflected in your children. If you feel stressed and overwhelmed, your children will pick up on that energy and everyone will start to spiral. You can real and absorb all the travel knowledge. However, if you haven’t figured out what keeps you cool and calm, do that first. Find an essential oil to wear around your neck, do a breathing exercise, eat a snack. You can do this! You can make adventure fun for your family!

Advertisements

Finding Beauty in Vacation

bishophillguesthouse

 

Extremely early in our marriage we made a choice to take vacation. To have periods of time without cares, technology, and alarm clocks. For the past four years we have honored this choice in large and small ways. We have gone on huge trips, and we have taken a backroad just because. Instead of grand dates for birthdays and holidays, we save that money and go on little adventures that find us vacationing in grand ways.

This Valentine’s Day we found ourselves in the Stars Hollow of Illinois…Bishop Hill. Bishop Hills, Illinois is a Swedish settlement with a rich history from the mid 1800s. Most of the buildings that were originally built (between 1840s and 1860s) are still in use today. It has a beautiful history and architecture. And the bustling population of 150 have done a wonderful job maintaining the beauty of this little village.

screen-shot-2017-02-22-at-3-28-22-pm

We are a strong supporter of AirBnB and this trip did not disappoint. We stayed in a renovated 19th century farm cozy farmhouse. Josh and Carlee were fantastic hosts and we recommend anyone who wants a quiet getaway with all of the amenities of home…click here!  Vacation = Relaxing. And The Lilla Vita guest house was just that. Oversized chairs and couches, old records on the record player, and fresh smelling candles. It didn’t take long for us to be in true vacation mode.

The nice part about vacationing in small towns is with limited choices you do not have to waste time deciding what to do. There is only one spot for breakfast, two spots for lunch, and one spot for dinner. Between all of the wonderful country cooking is…shopping! So many handcrafted do-dads. Christopher and I loved exploring the sweet town and making memories together while lazily strolling down the brick paved roads.

We realize that many would not call a 24 hour getaway a “vacation”…however we choose to be optimistic. By leaving behind our phones (yes, which may mean getting a little lost on the way), quietly reading books on the porch, and dreaming up our next trip, we have our perfect vacation.

Whether you are a single explorer, adventurous couple, or a family with a travel bug…go out and do it. Don’t spend time planning every detail or making every reservation. The money will never all be there and the time will never be “just right”. But go! Explore. Even if it is just a day away. As we invite children into our home for short or long periods of time…one thing is for sure…they will all have the opportunity to experience the beauty of vacation.

bishophillBishop Hill has a “Lukes”!

datenight

My Handsome Life Date.