Yet another mom post where I feel the need to add the disclaimer that yes, I know I'm a new mom and don't have the experience of older, more seasoned mothers. Yes, I know not everybody can afford to travel or even enjoy traveling for that matter. But, for that mama out there who is worried about her upcoming family vacation and fretting over how to make it all work, I hope this post brings you some inspiration, ideas, and relief!
When searching for a hotel:
- Does the room have a fridge for your baby's milk?
- Does it offer a free breakfast?
- Does it have an indoor pool? Outdoor pools are nice, but if you are traveling with kids and the bottom falls out of the sky (translation:rains) then you'll want access to an indoor pool. Plus indoor pools are always warmer to me and you don't have to worry about sunscreen!
Surviving road trips:
- When planning your road trip, take note of the local malls along your route. I was hoping to find a splash pad or park on our way to Washington D.C., but malls were right off the interstate and easier to find. A mall is a great place to let your kids run wild, have a snack, ride the little kiddo rides, and have a bathroom break.
- Hold OFF on the fun toys, games, movies, and music. You've got to stretch the road trip party out for as long as possible. I've seen great ideas on Pinterest about having a box for the kids to open on certain legs of the trip filled with various goodies. For my 16 month old, we fed him breakfast, then entertained him with tickles and peekaboo, then brought out the bubbles, then he fell asleep. THEN, we got out the stuffed animals, another snack, and a Netflix movie.
Hotel room travel:
- You made it and here lies the real adventures! Before unpacking, take care of a few things first:
- Hide the remote in a place only the adults can find, remove batteries if your little one has already discovered it.
- Hide glass cups in the closet.
- Unplug the phone and remove from the wall completely, hide it in the closet (you think I'm joking don't you?!)
- If your room came without a fridge, place milk and other items in your sink and cover with ice (about 3 buckets worked for us for a half gallon of milk).
- Don't hassle with dragging along a packnplay, shove the mattress against the wall so that your little one won't roll off the other side and get ready to snuggle! Little Monkey slept beside me on the D.C. trip. If your kid is anything like mine, ask for extra pillows from the hotel staff to add cushion to the wall. He's a mover and flipper in his sleep, but such a cutie pie!
- If you happen to get a hotel with the vent style A/C unit on the wall, BEWARE of what your little one can drop into those areas. Car keys, hotel keys, food, and makeup (I say this from experience!).
- Don't forget the Do Not Disturb sign! This is a necessity for hotel naptime. If your child is anything like mine, running up and down the hallway squealing then the staff will get to know you by name.
- Pack a bookbag with the essentials. Water bottles, diapers, wipes, map, swim suit (never know when you'll stumble upon a splashpad), and snacks.
- Ergo it up. Out of everything we were given or bought for our little one, the two baby carriers I own were the best purchase for the money. Little Monkey outgrew his K'tan, but we LOVE our Ergo. If you plan on doing a lot of walking, wear your baby. Umbrella strollers are great for quick in and outs, but wearing your baby is so much easier. I wore Little Monkey all over the zoo, metro, Arlington, and around the museums. It keeps him from stressing out about crowds, keeps my anxiety at bay about losing him, and gets in a little work out, am I right?!
What have you learned from your experiences traveling with a toddler?
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