Summer is fast approaching, and for all you beautiful mommies that typically means you’ll be venturing out on those big summer vacations. Whether you are headed to Oklahoma, or New York or any of the Disney parks, these ten summer travel tips might help you!
Let me preface this post by sharing my children’s ages, because these travel tips may or may not be age appropriate for some older kiddos; my daughter is a fresh three, and my son is five months old.
My daughter has been on about ten or so flights and a couple long road trips. I’ve carted her to a few Hanson concerts across the United States, which means she’s become a very seasoned little traveler. (Yes, THAT Hanson. Yes, Mmmbop Hanson.) We just returned from our first major vacation to Walt Disney World with two kids this past weekend. So, while I am certainly not an expert in travel with children, I do have a fair amount of experience and these ten travel tips have always helped me.
1. Bring a baby carrier AND a stroller.
I know, this sounds like extra work, but I promise you will thank me. We have had moments where both my son and daughter absolutely refused to be worn but napped perfectly fine in the stroller, and moments where they refused the stroller and wanted to be held close.
My two favorite baby carriers are my Lillebaby for no-fuss baby carrying and the mesh ring slings by Beachfront Baby. My mesh carriers are super lightweight, and easy to pack in a little zip lock bag. They also dry really quickly when you get poured on, and they’re from South Texas so that’s another win in my book. Additionally, my stroller saved my life when I was fifteen weeks pregnant with my son, and decided I wanted to take my daughter on a “quick walk” to the Central Park Zoo for 48 blocks in Manhattan. I like to travel with both just in case. My airline of choice does not count a stroller as a carry-on; I typically like to gate check it.
2. Bring a carseat travel dolly.
It will make your airport experience much MUCH better. This past weekend we breezily strolled through Austin and Orlando airports and about ten other moms stopped us to ask where we got our carseat dolly. I’m sure there are many other brands for purchase; I even looked up some DIY ones on youtube before we bought ours. We have this mini travelmate, and absolutely adore it.
3. Prepare yourself for the possibility that your little traveler may not always have good days.
I’m reminded of that time I took my daughter to see the Liberty Bell, and the little lawbreaker thought it would be HILARIOUS to run underneath and attempt to touch the bell. Mortified doesn’t even cover how I felt. I thought I was going to have to get on my knees and beg the President of the United States to NOT arrest us both forever.
There was also that time my daughter decided my husband and I were the enemy because we wouldn’t let her board a bus to Disney Springs all by her lonesome.
4. Give your kid a window seat.
Seriously, if you’re on an airplane, a boat, a bus, a car or a train… window seats win at life in the eyes of a baby or a toddler. This might be the obvious suggestion if you plan on taking your car seat on the flight with you; the flight attendants will tell you your car seat MUST go by the window. If your baby is flying lap, I still recommend a window seat. My kids loved looking out the window on the airplane and Disney park transportation systems.
4. Prepare for heat and rain.
Water, travel size sunscreen, hats, more water, umbrellas, stroller fan, etc. are essential in the summer months. I even go as far as allotting shaded breaks in my itineraries. If you’re a spreadsheet-making-color-coding-plan-everything-out traveler like me, the scheduled breaks will help you maintain your time. Pack some emergency ponchos that can easily fit in your bags; you never know when the sky will just open up and cry all over you. We visited New York City smack in the middle of June last year and about two blocks from the Central Park Zoo I got drenched. My daughter was nice and dry though because I had packed her a lightweight raincoat but forgot all about a poncho for me.
5. Get a pressed penny.
Souvenirs are expensive, and add extra weight to carry home. I like pressed pennies to document my children’s travels. They’re small, unique and affordable. We found a fancy new pressed penny machine in the Norway Pavilion at Epcot where it charged $5 for eight pressed pennies. Even at $0.92 cents more than the cost of pressing eight individual pennies (typically $0.51 each) you still get an affordable, compact, take-home trinket.
6. Do something that your kids want to do.
Little ones have such short attention spans and they get bored rather easily. So, if you’re planning on visiting Benjamin Franklin’s gravesite in Philadelphia, make sure to toss in a kid-friendly activity shortly after, like a visit to the Franklin Square carousel. I promise these little side activities make for a much happier kiddo. If you are unsure of kid-friendly activities near your destination, check out a sister site for ideas.
7. Get a backpack style diaper bag!
This is incredibly helpful when flying or during your planned activities. I invested in a lovely Vera Bradley campus tech backpack and that has been my go-to travel bag for every flight we have been on in the last two years. I absolutely adore having two solid, and sturdy, yet soft straps and free hands while we are out and about.
8. Try not to plan your day past normal bedtime hours.
I’ve found that it’s best to leave some wiggle room around bedtime to allow for travel to and from your hotel. Planning too close to a typical bedtime hour can cause unnecessary stress and disrupt your plans in the worst way.
9. Have fun!!!!
The best thing for all the traveling mommies and daddies of the world to do is to enjoy yourself. Sometimes we forget that our kids feed off of our emotions. If you are having fun and you’re oozing all the excitement from your pores, your little one(s) will typically pick up on that. My daughter takes her cues from me more often than I realize.
10. Don’t forget to bring your kids.
I know, I know, it all worked out for the McCallister’s when they left little Kevin at home… alone, but I thought I’d mention it just in case. Happy vacationing!!!