Tis the height of the holiday travel season, when over the river and through the woods you’ll be going, tiny people in tow. After our epic adventure in Hawaii (if you missed it – I partnered with American Express Platinum to go on the ultimate family vacation – our first with our little guy. You can read all about it here), I’d be remiss not to share what I learned from that first-hand traveling-with-a-toddler experience. There are probably 1,000 pieces of advice I could offer, but I’ve whittled it down to my top 10 tips. Check them out below!
TOP 10 TIPS FOR TRAVELING WITH YOUR TODDLER
1 Kid Friendly Schedules. Your children’s sleep is your best friend. If you can, try to plan your travel days around nap schedules. It may not work out in your favor (our 19-month-old did not sleep one wink on each our six-hour flights to Maui), but at least you can say you tried.
2 Have a Secret Toy. I cannot take credit for this tip. Another mom-friend passed it along to me. Find something little. Something fun. Something with a bell or whistle or two that will attract and hold attention in your most desperate moment. That is when you bust out the Secret Toy. It will get used. It will save the day. You will be thankful.
3 Contingency Plans. Even with the perfectly coordinated schedules, secret toys aplenty and a perfect child you will get thrown a curve ball. Like when our flight to Hawaii was delayed 8 hours! You really cannot craft a backup plan for that. Thankfully, American Express has your back. Platinum Card Members have access to lounges at airports across the world, including The Centurion Lounges across the U.S. The Centurion Lounge at San Francisco International Airport is a haven. The food comes from Michelin-starred chef, Daniel Patterson (I got to taste test the menu as I shared here. It’s amazeballs). There’s a lounge area, conference tables, and most importantly, a well-stocked wine bar as you can see below. It’s the perfect place to while away the hours and keep your sanity.
4 Zero Expectations. This goes back to the previous tip, but the best-laid plans are likely to get blown up. Sleep schedules won’t comply. Weather takes a turn. Or they just want to do the exact opposite of what you planned. If you don’t have hard and fast expectations already in mind, you will be much less frustrated for it.
5 Feed Often. Tons of stimulation, new activities and unknown environments make littles way hungrier than you’d ever expect. So pack snacks where ever you go and feed at the slightest sign of crankiness.
6 Revel in Repetition. If you’re typically an adventurer, you might need to redefine the term. There’s actually something soothing about settling into a routine and it can definitely help your littles adjust to new places, new time zones and the unexpected.
7 Pack Less than You Think Need. You really do not need that much for kids. Outfits can be repeated. In an ideal world, you might have laundry where you’re staying. Pack for you kids and then cut the amount of stuff in half. Thankfully Amazon and Target are around to save the day in case of emergencies.
8 Divide and Conquer. When it comes to traveling with your kiddos, your partner is your best friend. Or really anyone who is willing to lend a hand. Grandparents. Siblings. The random stranger on the airplane who will hold your baby while you pee. Take advantage of all the help you can get. Trade off bedtime duties or meal times so someone can get a break. Even on vacation child rearing is exhausting so you want to make sure you build in some ways you can relax too.
9 If at First You Don’t Succeed, Drink Wine. And if does start getting a little overwhelming, take a walk, take a mini meditation session, take a deep breath. And then order more wine.
10 Enjoy Every Minute. All the cliches are true. It goes so quickly. They grow so fast. The days are long but the years are short. Soak it up people. The good, the bad and the ugly. Because ultimately, in the end, all of it is actually good. In fact, it’s great.
For the recap of our Hawaiian vacation, CLICK HERE.
For more about my travel adventures with American Express Platinum this year, CLICK HERE.