My family loves to travel and go on new adventures. Before Pat and I had kids we traveled all the time. We haven’t let having little ones stop us from doing what we love, instead we have embraced the fact that we can take them with us and expose them to so many different cultures, helping expand their horizons and view on the world.
Piper has been to many places; before she turned 2 she had 3 stamps in her passport traveling to Ireland, Rome and Venice Italy. (A random note: she has the cutest passport picture I’ve ever seen.) She’s also flown to New York, Portland, Chicago and most recently Mexico for her 4th stamp. She’s a lucky little girl.
Kenzie just went on her very first plane flight and got her first passport stamp on our most recent trip to Mexico. Traveling with 2 toddlers is much different then traveling with one. I’m not going to lie, it’s twice as difficult. Flying with Piper was always a breeze, she’d sleep most for of the flights and was happy eating snacks and coloring once she was over 12 months old.
With 2 toddlers things change a bit on the plane. I think Kenzie would have done better if she didn’t get woken up by her sister every time she fell asleep, or if she were walking and could walk down the isles instead of being stuck on my lap or in my arms the whole flight. Crawlers are not the easiest travel companions. Having 2 on a plane was very different but we made it and I’d do it again.
I’ve learned a few things on our travels that might come in handy for anyone traveling Internationally with little ones.
Here’s my list:
Get your passports taken care of early. It takes 6-8 weeks for the passport office to get you your passport. You can expedite them but it costs more money. I’d rather save that money for souvenirs on the trip. Check out my tips on getting a passport for your little one here.
When booking flights: If you are traveling a long distance with a lap infant request a bulkhead seat. The airline attendants will attach a bassinet to the wall in front of you essentially giving your baby their own seat/bed. Such a life saver on a long flight!
Pack an extra set of clothes for your kids and yourself in your carry on! I always have an extra set of clothes for my girls but never for myself. I learned this one the hard way when Kenzie’s diaper slipped off and she peed on me on our way to Mexico and about 15 minutes later she knocked Pat’s cocktail into his lap. We just had to laugh it off! Now I’ll always have a light weight dress in my bag in addition to all the kid stuff.
Pack more diapers & wipes then you think you’ll need for the flight. Sometimes babies go to the bathroom on an airplane more then usual, maybe from nerves. Plus if there are any problems with your checked luggage you definitely don’t want to run out of diapers or wipes! We love Parasol diapers, they call them wearable underwear because they are lightweight and super soft. My favorite thing about traveling with them is they don’t take up much room in my suitcase and they work overnight as well as during the day. Use code 2Blondemamas to get $20 off your first bundle order.
For little ears on the flight: If your little one is nursing, start nursing a few minutes after you have taken off to help with ear popping fussiness, if you start too soon it won’t be affective, and try the same on decent. If they aren’t nursing try a bottle or food pouches, anything to suck on helps. I’m still nursing Kenzie who is 13 months old. Piper is 3.5 so I give her a lollipop to suck, she love the special treat!
Bring a good umbrella stroller: if the baby isn’t in it it helps hold all the luggage you have to lug around with you in the airport, if you don’t use it any other time, this alone is worth it. You can check your stroller at the gate for no charge. We have a MacLaren that we love. It’s light weight and easy to travel with but also very well made and I find it sleek and fashionable. We’ve brought it on all of our trips starting with New York when Piper was just 4 months old.
Sleeping: If the place you are staying doesn’t provide a pack-n-play I recommend bringing one. We have a Guava Family Lotus Crib that is great to travel with, it is lightweight and has backpack straps making it easy to carry. Flying to Mexico was the first trip we have brought a portable crib with us on an airplane. I wasn’t aware that any baby item is free to check! This includes car seats, strollers and cribs. I’m so happy to find this out! I was sure we’d have to pay $25 each direction to check our crib.
Get the app Mobile Passport for re-entry into the United States! All you do is scan each person in your family’s passport into the app and fill out the customs survey on your phone. It took me less then 5 minutes to set up all 4 of us and saved us at least an hour of standing in line at customs. Scan the recipe they generate for your family and skip the lines. It’s free and soooo worth it! The last thing anyone wants to do after a long flight with tired kids is to stand in line forever. Even without kids this is an awesome thing to know!
Before you leave: If you can leave the house clean with beds made, and toys put away it makes such a difference when coming back home! When you walk in the door to a clean house you might actually be happy to be home after a long trip. Coming home to a mess of work to do is never fun.
Don’t stress out about traveling with your little one. I was so nervous about taking Piper to Italy for our first adventure together overseas a year and a half ago but it ended up being more amazing then I could have ever imagined. Our trips together as a family are among my most favorite memories. Showing our girls the world has been the most amazing experience for all 4 of us. Quality time together can’t be beat. I can’t wait to go on our next adventure where ever it may be!
I hope these little tips help you on your adventures! If you have any travel tips you’d like to share I’d love to hear them in the comments below. 🙂