image credit: Rifle Paper Co.
This Labor Day, our little family and best friends are hopping down to our second home, LA, for a sun soaked weekend. We’ve rented the cutest westside airbnb and have reservations to some new and old faithful food spots. But since the guys need to haul their surfboards down south, they will drive and I will brave SFO and the Jet Blue flight with our 2 1/2 year old little dude.
I’ve traveled solo with T before and each time gets a little easier and a little more challenging at the same time. I’ve mastered the art of packing for 2 in one small carry-on suitcase, but now have a fiercely independent, always curious, mad dashing toddler as my travel buddy. He’s too big for the Baby Bjorn carrier and chooses to
walk run over a ride in his stroller any day.
For my fellow mamas who will travel with kids this weekend, here are a few stress free, easy to prep, travel in style tips i’ve received or gathered while traveling with Lil’ T.
How-to Travel with Kids in Style
No. 1: Hands Free
Use a backpack as your main carry-on to keep both hands free to hold your little’s hand, push a stroller, and reach for your wallet or ID and boarding passes. We are a Patagonia family and use their backpacks for all travel adventures. Roomy, clever compartments, and super comfy – Patagonia is backpack perfection.
No. 2: Beware of Carseat Rentals
For short trips, opting to use carseats from your rental car company can add up quickly – sometimes more than the cost of a lightweight travel carseat. We use and love our Evenflo carseat as our 2nd carseat for travel or for my hubby’s car – it’s super lightweight and easy to install.
No. 3: Check That Stroller (unless your kiddo is super sleepy)
Strollers are a dream when you have a newborn, but a PITA to lug through the airport when you have a toddler. Unless it’s a super early or late flight when your littles are super sleepy, I check in our lightweight UppaBaby GLX Umbrella Stroller the second we get to the airport (along with our Evenflo Travel Carseat).
No. 4: Luggage Cart Love
The struggle is real when flying solo with your littles. When traveling solo with kids, luggage carts are your Best Friend. At baggage claim, I can easily stack our stroller, carseat, suitcase, and backpack and roll it easily over to the car rental office. Without it, I can manage – I wear the carseat strap on my shoulder, put Lil’ T in the stroller, and push the suitcase with one hand and the stroller in the other – but the luggage cart just makes everything EASY.
No. 5: Little Carry-ons are a Big Help
T is at the age where he feels pride when he gets to do grown up things. So, my hubs got him his own little carry on suitcase by Skip Hop to tote his toys, snacks, water, hoodie, and diaper changing stuff for the flight. He loves it so much and rolls it all the way to the gate!
No. 6: Flight Time x Nap Time
I try to fly around the time that T goes down for a nap. This makes the flight more relaxing and ensures T gets a decent amount of rest during the day. Sometimes this doesn’t work out, but when it does, it means I get a few hours of quiet time, too.
No. 7: Wipe Out Those Germs
Call me a germaphobe if you want. For this mama, wiping down the armrest, flight tray, window, and anything else my little guy will want to grab or touch gives me a little more peace of mind. We use Clorox Disinfecting Wipes and always keep a pack in our travel backpack.
No. 8: Bright, Shiny & New
For the flight to and from, new or rarely available toys/puzzles/books capture T’s attention 10x longer than his usual stuff does. So, we have special travel toys/puzzles/books that we bring out just for travel that he loves (and you can shop here!). Extra Travel Tip: Use Extra Large Ziplock Bags to organize all the small travel stuff: Snacks // Toys // Wipes, Kleenex, Hand Lotion // Boarding Pass & ID’s.
No. 9: A Grand Adventure
No matter how anxious you feel, making our kids feel like they’re about to go on a wonderful new adventure makes the trip so much more fun. Point to all the cool, new stuff as you walk throughout the airport and make a big deal about it! Have enough time at the airport to wander and explore a bit. Post up in front of the big windows to watch the airplanes take off (T LOVES this). Ask the airport customer service desk for a kids travel pack (usually coloring books, stickers, crayons). Resist the temptation to hurry along your littles and keep the travel stress at bay. If they feel like traveling is super fun, it makes them more cooperative and fun!
No. 10: You Can Do It!
Traveling with kids is an unpredictable experience. But with enough prep and a positive state of mind, you can do it! I’ve missed my flight with my little guy and had to wait 2 more hours at the airport for the next flight. It felt awful for a second, but then we turned it into a scavenger hunt, counted airplanes, and met all the nice people that worked at the airline, airport shops, and fellow travelers. When unexpected hurdles come your way, stop, breathe, and think about how to make the situation fun for your little one. And I promise, you’ll have fun too.
The Honest Company SPF 30 Sunscreen
The Honest Company Hand Sanitizer Spray
SKIP*HOP® Zoo Little Kid Rolling Luggage in Giraffe
The Honest Company Wipes
Samsonite Vibratta 21″ Carry-On Hardside Spinner Suitcase, Only at Macy’s
Vans ‘Surf Patch’ Trucker Hat (Big Boys)
Tea Collection ‘Little Explorador’ Zip Front Cotton Hoodie (Baby Boys)
Skip Hop Pronto Baby Changing Station & Diaper Clutch Metro Stripe
The Honest Company ‘Skulls’ Diapers (Baby)
Skip Hop ‘Zoo’ Fold & Go Placemat
Oh, the Places You’ll Go! By Dr. Seuss
Lift-the-Flap Tab: On the Go Board Book
Speck ‘FitFolio’ iPad mini Case
OTL Technologies Peppa Pig Junior Headphones
UPPAbaby G-LUXE Lightweight Stroller
UPPAbaby G-Series TravelSafe TravelBag
Evenflo SureRide DLX Convertible Car Seat
Magna-Tiles® Clear Colors 37 Piece Set
Ella’s Kitchen Organic Baby Food Stage 3 Nibbly Fingers Apples Strawberries 4.4 oz
Baby Bjorn Soft Bib
Crayola Disney Pixar Coloring and Activity Book with Markers (Styles Vary) Planes/Cars
Skip Hop Zoo Straw Bottle – Unicorn – 12 oz
Clorox Disinfecting Wipes To Go Pack 9 ct
Planes: Fire & Rescue Figure Play Set
What are your best travel with kids tips? And what fun do you have planned this Labor Day?
Here’s to an unforgettable last Summer weekend.