I have been asked by a lot of people how I deal with traveling with my daughter. Specifically, when we go to cities and are visiting museums, galleries, churches etc… Here is my list of a few must have things that make our experience easier and more fun.
Traveling to cities sometimes isn’t easy with kids. Especially toddlers that want to walk around and touch everything. Sometimes you move into survival mode to be able to get through some situations. As an art lover, I am always keen to visit art museums while in new cities. A lot of times it’s not easy to keep a very active toddler in their stroller and quiet through an art museum. But I have done it! We have been to countless cities in Europe and the USA and art galleries and kept my daughter happy (mostly).
The Umbrella Stroller:
Get a good umbrella stroller with a rain cover, but don’t have high expectations for them, they aren’t like jog strollers, with enough wear, they will probably die. I am now on my second umbrella stroller. My last one was laid to rest amongst a row of scooters in Rome, because where do you put a broken stroller in the middle of Rome? The Roman Forum was the straw that broke the camels back with my stroller… It just couldn’t take anymore bumps! It lasted 2.5 years of cobblestone, snow, rain and countless airplane flights. A lot of people ask me which stroller I recommend and I always tell them, “buy a stroller that your child is comfortable in and can sleep in”. That’s all that matters! Yes, cup holders, umbrellas, large storage spaces are great for us, but if your kid wont sit and sleep in it then it’s not going to work. Right now I have a Chicco, because it was the only one I could find on a Saturday night at 8 PM in Rome. Before, I got my stroller at the local Migros here in Switzerland on the way to the airport. A lot of people say Maclaren’s are amazing. I don’t know. Several of my friends have them…some hate them, some love them. This is why it’s best to test the stroller with your child…They are the ones that need to be comfortable!
Ipad or an Itouch:
Get an Ipad or something similar (with a good cover). I know. Kids shouldn’t watch TV. But let’s be realistic. When you are on a 12 hour flight and just need some down time, I my opinion, there is nothing wrong with your little one watching a little Elmo or playing an educational game. No, I am not saying stick your kid in front of the ipad for days on end, I am just saying it has saved my life more than not and I recommend an ipad for anyone who has a kid and wants to travel. They are also great for museums….when you want your child to be quiet for a few minutes so you can see that one painting you have been dying your whole life to see. The ipad can be a great friend! If you are one of those parents whose kids have never needed an ipad to travel and your kids sit quietly and nicely in museums, airplanes, resturants etc.. bravo! I would love to hear your secrets on how you get your kid to do that!
M&M’s are fantastic! I know they are sugar and kids shouldn’t eat sugar but did you know your kids can learn their colors from M&M’s? Mine did! They also make great little treats when traveling. If you don’t want your child to have a lot of sugar but think that a little sugar could assist in your efforts to help them behave, M&M’s are perfect! I never travel without them. You can play color games with them and your child gets a little reward without them going into a sugar high. They also fit nicely into any bag. I always put my M&M’s in a ziplock bag so I have easy access and they don’t spill. LOVE M&M’s!
Munchkin Arm and Hammer Diaper Bag Dispenser and bags.
These little babies are perfect for traveling. Not only are they for dirty diapers but they work great for dirty clothes and anything else. They are slightly scented which helps when you have stinky baby clothes to hoof around a city. While my daughter was in diapers I never traveled without these. LOVE these!
One of the first things I do when I arrive at my hotel or in a new city is scout out where the closest grocery store/convenience store is. It’s difficult to pack food for kids for a whole trip. As soon as you arrive in a new city, find the closest store to your hotel and stock up. Many times you can fit a few items such as milk in your refrigerator in the hotel room. This way you don’t have to worry about bringing massive amounts of food/milk etc. in your bags and can focus on packing light. Obviously, if your child has a favorite small snack and you know you aren’t going to a place where it is available, it’s always a good idea to bring something familiar for them….But usually I can find something my daughter will eat and I swear she is the worlds worst eater!
If I know I am going to a place where I am not sure I can get medicine easily for my daughter, then I will bring along her medicine which includes a small bottle of fever reducer, ear drops for the plane, Vicks vapor rub (in case of a cold), and a few other small capsules I got from my DR for throw-up and diharea. We go a lot of foreign places, and I never know what I may or may not have access to, so to me, this is the most important because if my daughter needs food, we can find food she will eat but medicine is a bit trickier. I do put everything in small carry-on sizes so not to take up too much space and they can be taken on the plane with me.
This may be obvious to most but once your child is potty trained it’s still good to carry wipes with you for spills, wiping dirty hands and faces etc.. I never travel without my antibacterial wipes. I use them to wipe down the airplane seats before we get settled etc.. But I try not to get too crazy with the wipes. A little dirt may be good for kids
There are lots of travel toy options. I like to keep mine simple and easy to pack. Here are my top 3: I adore this crayon roll I bough here. It’s easy to pack and carry in my purse in the event my daughter wants to color on the road. Along with the crayon roll I bring a small pocket size sketch notebook like this one from Moleskin. These are perfect for traveling because they are small and easy to carry. They are also nice because you have all your child’s art in one place. My daughter used her’s for a year of traveling….so I have on year worth of her travel art in a small notebook. I also bring stickers…LOTS and LOTS of stickers and usually pack them in a zip lock bag. Kids love stickers and the notebook is a great place to stick the stickers and then color around them. Though, I have been on flights where I have had stickers all over me!
So, there you have it. My travel list of things to bring and/or do while traveling with a small child. If you have any tips for traveling with kids, PLEASE leave them in the comments below. We are always looking for new ideas.
Traveling with kids is the BEST! I love traveling with my daughter. At times, yes it is more work, but to see their face when they see or try something new is priceless. And the day your child recoginzes the Eiffel Tower or a famous painting because you have been to that place is one of the most rewarding things ever! Travel with your kids! Do it now! You wont regret it!