I took my first summer trip with both the kiddies a few weeks ago and learned the importance of a few essential travel accessories when the babies are on board.
First and foremost? The accessory of it being sleep time when you’re driving or flying to and from your destination! I either wake the kids up super early to ensure a nice long nap if we leave the house at around ten .a.m. (To avoid traffic), or I keep the kids alert, active and awake all day, and leave the house for a trip wit the kids at around seven p.m. to make sure the kids fall asleep at the beginning of the trip, and sleep the whole time. And I did realize that right now my kids’ max traveling time without utter madness is about five hours. Even when I left at bed time to come home, after a few hours the kids started to wake up on and off and complain that they were hot or uncomfortable.
The second non-material accessory that’s a must-have is the knowledge that it is not going to be a relaxing experience. When I went to visit my aunt a few weeks ago we were talking about traveling with kids, and she told me how she brought her newborn and her toddler to Europe all by herself. When I asked her how she did it, she just said: “The only word to describe it is to say that the plane ride was a nightmare.” And she said that she just braced herself for a chaotic experience, which it was, and she just ignored anyone who gave her a hard time for her kids screaming or wahtnot, and when she finally got to Brussel to see her family, she had a great time, so it was worth it.
In terms of actual material accessories? Of course a DVD player with an AC adapter for hours of entertainment is a necessity. That’s what kept my Toddler boy occupied when he was done with his brief nap. I put on his Cars, and he was hooked. You do need to be careful that that sort of thing won’t make your child car sick, though. Just keep asking them how they are feeling and keep things like water and crackers ready just in case – and of course, a baggie.
If you don’t have a DVD player, a Panini sticker book is a great way for your kids to get engaged in a story. They are sticker books that tell the story line of whatever Disney movie is out in theaters, and you buy packets of stickers to go with it. Each packet of stickers has only a few random stickers that your child can either match up or trade with other kids to complete their collection. And that will keep your child busy while they try to figure out in which order the stickers go with the story line, and gives them a chanse to save any doubles that they get in their packet and trade with their siblings. My toddler boy had his Toy Story 3 one during the trip, and he loved it!
And when in doubt, pack snacks! Lots of them! And pack enough food and drinks for yourself so that you don’t need to stop to re-energize when your kids are mid-nap! If your kids are sleeping, just keep trucking, and refuel with some great prosciutto sandwiches, or a cold Starbucks mocha. Absolutely spoil yourself if you can. If you’re going to be stressed about keeping the kids entertained, at least treat yourself otherwise to make the trip that extra special for yourself.
And FYI, if it’s the beginning of the summer and you’re contemplating potty training your kids, it’ll actually be more beneficial to hold off until the end of the summer if you plan to travel a lot. That’s one situation where diapers will actually save you. Also if you plan on spending a lot of your days at the pool, it’s probably not the best time to potty train either.
Don’t forget the duct tape! Anywhere you go, it’ll baby proof just about any thing. Just be careful the surfaces you do it on, because you don’t wanna be an unwelcome guest by ruining furniture! You can put it over plugs to keep prying fingers away, you can duct tape certain types of furniture shut, and it’ll fix just about anything in a pinch! Temporarily, of course! A friend of mine went on a car trip with her baby and her husband and was hit pretty hard by another vehicle, and she even used duct tape to temporarily fix the bumper so they could drive their car outta there!
And as the summer travels continue, I will be posting more tips as I learn some more important travel accessories myself! And if you’ve got some for me, by all means, chime in! Because it’s gonna get crazy this summer…crazy good!