Summer is here and for us this means our first staycation as a family will FINALLY become a reality. We’re packing up the car, the kids and all of our necessities and heading to Carlsbad where we’re lounge in the Carlsbad Seapointe Resort, spend a day at Legoland, take bike rides, long strolls on the beach and so many other activities that I’m going to need an actual vacation to recuperate from our staycation.
Our family consists of me, the Hubster, our 4.5 year old and our one year old. Our oldest has been out of town before. We’ve spent days in Mexico and Walt Disney World and along the way I’ve picked up a few tips that we will use with our one year old. These tips include:
Packing a toiletries bag for each person. Include their must-haves (in travel versions) including little tubes of sunscreen, sanitizing wipes, baby wipes, lotion, toothpaste, toilet seat covers, etc. Yes, it may seem excessive to pack a bag for each member, but I would rather have too many toiletries, than not enough and have to shell out big money for small things. Include those disposable changing pads for babies and you can just throw the baby’s toiletries bag in your handbag when it’s time to head out for an adventure.
Electronic entertainment. I’m not one to let my kid(s) use electronics in the car while running errands, but if they’re going to be in the car for hours then yes, bring on the games, movies, apps, etc. Don’t forget to pack the car chargers and any other external batter power that you may have. If don’t have those, it may be a good idea to get some. I would also recommend that you get a child-proof case your electronics. If you have an iPad or iPod, Fisher-Price makes fun cases that protect the device, and look cute too!
Stock up on movies and apps. Unfortunately, we don’t have a portable DVD player or TVs in our car. We’ll instead be taking our iPads and filling them up with movies, TV shows and apps. This is where the digital download copies come in handy (you know, the ones that come in the movie combo packs). And because we don’t have 3G/4G on our devices, we can’t depend on Hulu, Netflix, I Heart Radio, etc. for our entertainment and you probably shouldn’t either. Internet connection can fall through depending on where you’re traveling so try to keep all media non-streamable and avoid the whines of kids (and adults) every time the movie stops to reload.
Blankets, pillows and ear buds. They’ll use these items every time they sleep and they’ll sleep much longer because they’re going to be comfortable. Win-win.
Pack a first aid kit. Fill it up with medicine you don’t think you’ll need including Pasta de Lassar (a multi-purpose skin protectant cream), cold and flu medicine, thermometer, Boogie Wipes, Benedryl, etc.
Snacks and drinks. This is such a no-brainer, but I wanted to emphasize just how important it is to keep a kid fed, especially a kid under 2. A fed kid is a happy kid and that’s what traveling with kids is all about. Whatever you pack, ensure that it doesn’t melt, drip or spill. That means no chocolate, pudding and anything that cannot be poured into a cup with a straw. You can even take this a step further and include new snacks that they haven’t tried yet, or good-for-them foods like multi-vitamins that can be mixed with drinks (like alternaVites Kids). I also suggest dried fruits and freeze-dried snacks like Funky Monkey that have three servings of fruit per ounce. Of course, you can’t go wrong with Welch’s Fruit Snacks either. Stock up on water and maybe includes some 100% juice in there as a treat? Frozen juice boxes double as ice packs and are ready to drink cold later in the day. If you’re nursing, I recommend packing some Milkin’ Cookies for yourself. It’ll help keep your milk supply up and they’re delicious.
Portable high-chair. Not every place that you visit will have a high chair. Heck, we don’t either but we have a Prince Lionheart bebePod Flex seat that works as a high-chair for us. We sit it on the counter, stick the baby in there and put on the tray and voila, a high chair! Of course, there are portable high chairs that you can purchase. These attach to the rim of the table and hold the baby up there safely. We had one of these for our first born (because they always get the best stuff) and it came in handy.
Pack less clothes. Yes, LESS clothes. Whatever you have packed for your trip, pack less. It’s easy to do this for babies – just pack them rompers. They are my go-to outfits because they are all one piece and when I need to change his stinky diaper I just unbutton it from the bottom instead of taking off his entire pant. By the way, when you pack clothes, roll ’em up. Don’t fold them because it takes up more space. I also use this tip in their drawers. Don’t forget the hats. Preferably those with an SPF defense built in.
Stroller or wagon. We’ll be sporting our new Britax B-Ready stroller, attach the scooter board and take it to Legoland. It’s been on test drives already and I’m sure it’s going to hold up just fine down in Carlsbad. I love the wheels on this stroller and it has A LOT of room down at the bottom. Such a great stroller for long days out on the town.
An infant sleeper. We used one when the baby was younger and what I loved most about it was the fact that it could be folded and taken on the road. It was very convenient to take along with us and it was the baby’s home away from home when he used it.
I should clarify that I am not one to take everything plus the kitchen sink. Heck, I even forgo the diaper backpack most of the time choosing instead to carry a handbag that matches my outfit. I only do the bare bones packing for myself and the kids. What about you? Do you have any tips or must-have items for traveling with young kids? Do you pack more than you need, or are you like me where you pack the bare minimum?