This post is from Kelly of Cloudy Day Gray. I first “met” Kelly a few months ago on her blog and instagram and was so very touched by the story of her little girl Matilda who had to have a liver transplant as a tiny baby. She is such an inspiration to me as a mother. She has traveled the world and has some great tips on traveling with kids. Thank you Kelly for being a part of Travel Parent Eat!
On paper, I look like a seasoned traveler. I co-piloted my Papa’s plane to Alaska when I was eight, lived a year in Australia where I had my son Parker, drove across the country from Montana to New York with a two-year-old in tow, and had countless adventures in between. But it wasn’t until this year that I felt like a pro when it comes to traveling with kids.
My daughter Matilda had a liver transplant when she was six weeks old. It was unexpected and required an impromptu ambulance drive to New York City when she was nine days old. I didn’t have anything with me and learned to make do with diaper bag essentials. Matilda is doing extremely well now, but every three months we drive eight hours to NYC for blood work and hospital visits with the transplant team. Because Matilda is immune suppressed (her anti-rejection medication makes her more susceptible to everyday sickness), traveling can easily become stressful if organization is lost. Here are my top five tips to feeling confident when hitting the road with your little ones.
1. Keep it simple Really think about what your family needs and narrow it down to the necessities. You might think bringing more will make your life easier, but, in reality, the hassle of cramming everything to fit, carrying massive loads, and searching through bags for what you really need is not worth it.
2. Contain the kids We bring a stroller that can fit either of our kids and a carrier that fits Matilda. That way, when we need our three-year-old Parker to be contained or to move more quickly, we can. Containing, for us, also means keeping clean. We always have disinfectant wipes on hand, as well as hand sanitizer, but having a clean and reliable space for changing diapers, eating, and napping makes a huge difference in my book.
3. Keep them fed I keep a tote bag full of healthy snacks and drinks in a place I can easily reach in the car. Rest stops stress me out. The germs, the gross food, the smell. We try to avoid stopping at all costs. Once we are in the city, I transfer a good amount of snacks (applesauce, granola bars, nuts, and fruit leather) into my diaper bag for eating on the run.
4. Let them sleep As tempting as it may be, don’t skip nap time. Kids live by routine. Traveling can be overstimulating and everyone will have more fun well rested. You should nap, too.
5. Make time for play Whether you are traveling for fun, doctor appointments, or visiting family, make sure to carve out some time for your kids to play like kids should. Find a park, kick a ball around, or take advantage of the hotel pool.
As stressful as traveling can be for you, it is that much and more for your kids. They don’t know what is coming next, they are constantly being shushed or redirected, and boredom is bound to sink in. Being prepared, setting limits, and keeping your kids informed can turn a nightmare of a trip into something everyone looks forward to with excitement. Happy travels!
That was awesome Kelly! Don’t you just love her pictures of New York City? Definitely makes me feel like taking a trip there! What are some things you have found helpful when traveling with children? Please comment below or on Facebook.