Traveling with Littles – Balancing Routine with Excitement

Good morning!

How is your December so far?  Mine is busy, but happy!

I am by no means an expert on traveling with a baby, but we’ve had a few very successful trips recently.  With holiday travel coming up for many, I wanted to share a few tips that have made our trips fun and relaxing for both our little one and us.

I would love to hear any tips you have for traveling with young children in the comments!

1. Create a “home base”

This is the number one thing that has helped us in traveling with a baby / young toddler.  If you can baby proof a whole room wherever you are staying, that is excellent, but even a little corner of a room can really help.  It’s important for a baby to have a space that’s his own, where he can move and explore without constantly hearing “no”.  It is also super helpful for allowing the parents to relax!

In Maine, there was a sun-room we could easily baby-proof.  When we visited my husband’s family in Wisconsin last week, my mother in law set up a little corner of the living room for James.  She set out a blanket to define the space, and cleared off the lowest shelf of a book shelf and set a few toys there.  This was so effective, that we did the same thing in our own living room as soon as we got home!

He is in a stage where he loves to run around and explore, so he did not stay in that corner the whole time, but he seemed to really love having a “home base” to return to after exploring other parts of the house.

2. Bring or Buy familiar foods

My son is not picky (yet…), and it’s really fun to introduce him to new foods when we travel, but I still like to make sure we have a few of his staple favorites on hand.

I like to pack a few of these favorites, so we don’t have to rush to a grocery store as soon as we arrive somewhere.  I generally pack a small container of frozen peas, string cheese, and frozen pancakes (I make a big batch and freeze some, so generally have these on hand).  Of course, I also bring lots of puffs and pouches, just in case 🙂

3. Build in free time

What kind of vacationer are you?  I definitely used to be a “do all the things” traveler, but no more!  At least not quite as much….

Exploring new places as a family is awesome, but I find that letting the little guy have a big chunk of time every day to just be goes a long way toward making everyone happy.  If you’re staying somewhere without much space, find a local park or play place!

4. Protect bedtime

Naps and bedtime may get a little wonky on travel days, but in my experience, more than one day in a row of missed naps or late bedtimes is pretty much a disaster.  We make sure James gets to bed on time, with rare exceptions.  Granted, we’ve never stayed in a hotel room with him, just Air BnB’s or family homes where we could continue hanging out after he went to bed, so I’m sure that would be trickier in a small hotel room.

5. Surprise him with favorite books

I think I may have mentioned this before, but I like to put away a few of James’s all-time favorite books a few weeks before we travel, and surprise him with them on the trip.  He is always so excited to see the books he loves and is happy to read them about a hundred times in a row, which is particularly helpful on airplanes.

Do you have any tips for traveling with little ones?  Please share!

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  1. Sticking to normal bed and nap times has worked for us. In hotels, we try to get a suite room, or one with a patio, so we can hang out after they fall asleep. Sometimes that’s not in option though, in which case I have totally spent an hour or two hanging out in the bathroom after the babies were asleep lol.

    1. Haha, that will probably be me this weekend! We are staying in a normal hotel room for two nights, then luckily will have a suite, so that should be much easier!

  2. Great tips! I love the home base idea and can’t believe it didn’t occur to me. I tend to let them just sprawl all over the family room with toys getting spread everywhere. We did bring an extra blanket for our recent trip to Hilton Head because I knew the whole rental was tiled and thank goodness for it! My 8-month old was still unsteady with crawling/sitting and the blanket helped some. We did not have the best trip which is probably why I have yet to write a post about it lol! I think the more you travel the better your kids are at it. Kids who are seldom asked to sleep in a pack n’play or sit in the car long periods are not crazy about these things when you try to do them… 😉

    1. That is really hard, so far our trips have gone well, but they’ve both been very low key with few plans. The trip we’re taking next week is going to be totally different and I’m definitely a little nervous about it! Since James is my only child, he always naps at home, hardly ever on the go, so I’m not sure how his naps will work at Disney World, I’ve got my fingers crossed! We had two long drives in Maine and that was definitely the hardest part of the trip for him. We use a travel crib as his bed all of the time since we started out with a floor bed, so that at least helps with the sleeping part!

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