Traveling with Toddlers--without Help
Going on trips with kids is definitely an adventure from the potty stops, baby gear, and endless questions. But, it is doable and can be an enjoyable experience. I am currently packing for a 4-day trip with my toddlers and baby. While it’s not fun to prepare for, the trip itself will be something I enjoy. Here are some tips on how to survive traveling alone with your tribe.
If your kids are like mine, they like to be involved in packing. My oldest daughter will continually try to give me extra things to bring that we need. I start days in advance. I put my suitcase out and put clean clothes in as I do laundry. Packing early allows me to change my mind but it also helps me not stress out the day before we leave. My kids see the suitcases and usually want to know how many days are left and where we’re headed. It makes the trip something to talk about and be excited about.
I am not an expert here. With babies and toddlers, there is so much stuff. I try to remind myself we are always close to Walmart store so I don’t need to panic if I don’t have everything or forget something. For example, Audrey just started eating baby food and loves puffs. I don’t want to stress about her running low on food. I’m taking what I can, and then if I need to run to the store, that’s okay. Consider washing clothes if you will have a washer and dryer and not bringing extra outfits.
Be prepared in the car.
What do your kids like to do in the car? We always have a portable DVD player with several movies or TV shows. I usually bring coloring books for my toddlers with the magic markers from Melissa and Doug that don’t make a mess. For the baby, I bring a small bag of toys that I can easily access and pass on if she gets fussy. She loves her teethers. My bag is always packed with snacks in Ziploc bags and extra diapers and wipes, because you just never know. When we used to live farther away and go on longer trips, I would also go to the dollar store and buy my kids small prizes. I then would wrap them and they would get a prize when we stopped. This prize was only if they didn’t complain during the duration of the driving. Then, that small toy or reward would occupy them until the next stop.
I try to start out our trips when we first get up, but life can intervene. This last trip, my dvd player broke 5 minutes down the road from my house. We then spent an hour at Walmart finding a new one, using the potty, and nursing the baby. We still arrived, but we were an hour or so behind when I had hoped. That’s okay. Try to stay relaxed and be flexible. Kids may need extra potty breaks or babies may want extra nursing sessions. Just get there safely.
So traveling with toddlers and babies is possible, just try to remember life happens. If you have someone traveling with you, that’s the best! If not, be super mom and you can do it!
Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of three in Arkansas where she regularly goes home with her kiddos.