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Traveling with Toddlers

March 6, 2017

Spring break is nearing, and I’m sure many of you are planning your spring getaways.  We beat the rush and went to Mexico in February, so since I have recently been through the experience of traveling with young children, I wanted to pass on a few things that helped keep me sane.

I live by my lists.  I LOVE the list app on my phone and I have no idea what I would do without it.  I have over 100 lists in there right now that range from Target, to do, wine I like, outfit ideas, meal plans, packing lists for trips and much more.  That may seem crazy, but the lists help me organize things in my brain and I don’t feel so pressured to remmember everything all the time.  I’m extremely scatterbrained and I get distracted easily, so I know if I write it down, then I can come back to it later to finish the thought or continue what I started.

On that note, I have a packing list that I bust out for every single trip I take, whether it be in the car or on a plane.  It breaks down everything I need for the kids and a few things for myself that I might otherwise forget.  I wanted to share it with you in hopes of lessening the stress that might be lurking with the thought of having to pack for more then just yourself in the upcoming weeks.  My list is ever changing, depending on the age of the kids, where we are going, how long we are staying, and our mode of transportation.  But, this is a pretty general idea of what we need.  I don’t specifically break down what I need for myself, although I probably should.  Truth be told, I actually forgot to pack my own underwear for a snow skiing trip a few years ago!  I spent the week washing out and switching back and forth between the underwear I wore on the plane and my swimsuit bottoms.  Fun times. #notreally

Click here to print a copy of the packing list

Chase is a pretty easy traveler, and has been for several years now.  If he has a movie to watch, or a Lego creation to build (car rides only), then he is happy for hours.  He has had a lot of experience traveling and I think that helps.  When he was an only child, we brought him everywhere with us, so he very seasoned and knows the drill.  Beckham is only 2, so keeping him entertained for long stretches of time is quite a bit harder.  But, I looked up several things on Pinterest and I was very prepared for our most recent trip.  Here are a few of the things we brought for entertainment on the plane:

Floam.  This stuff is similar to play dough, but not messy at all.  Wont stick to carpet, and doesn’t dry out.  I put it in a baggie and both boys played with it on the plane.  It was a great form of entertainment.

Board books.  Beckham is into the Leslie Patricelli books right now, and we already had Binky and Potty.  So, I hopped on Amazon and ordered a couple of others for the trip.  It’s nice to have new things to look at because I feel like the new ones kept his attention longer then the older ones which he practically had memorized.  However, I did bring his favorites in the suitcase!

Miniature figurines.  For us, this was tractors.  Beckham is still very much into his tractors, so I packed a few of them in our carry on and he was able to play with them on the drink tray.  He even used them with his Floam.

Pinterest led me to some busy bags.  I made this button snake, these velcro sticks, and I found a similar set of lacing toys in the Target Dollar Spot.

iPad or Kindle.  We haven’t let Beckham spend much time on any tablets yet, and he has just recently shown an interest in watching TV.   I ordered this headphone jack splitter so if he wanted to watch something that Chase was watching, he could join in without needing a separate device for himself.

Snacks, snacks, and more snacks.  Always pack more snacks then you think you will need.  When all else fails, I can usually avert a meltdown by offering some food.  I try to pack a few favorites and also a few new things that I think they will like…maybe something I might not usually let them have.  Gum is also a life saver if your little one knows how to chew it.  It always helps with ear popping.  Suckers are good too if you aren’t comfortable with gum.  We like these.

I always bring an empty canteen with us.  Once we are through security, I fill it up with water so we can have something to drink if anyone is thirsty before the flight attendants are able to offer a beverage.  This has been a life saver, especially in cases when unexpected takeoff delays occur.

Pull-ups are also a life saver.  B is still in diapers, so we are usually prepared for him, but I have been making my 7 year old put a pull up on for every trip we take, airplane or road trip.  He has a bladder the size of a pea, so this has been a saving grace.  I swear that kid pees more then anyone else I know.  He’s getting to the age where he isn’t so fond of wearing them, but it’s just part of our traveling routine and it has saved a LOT of accidents!

As we all know, traveling with young children is not really a vacation but rather a business trip.  Even with all of the planning, prep, packing, etc it’s all worth it when you get to spend time together and make those fun memories.  Hopefully these things will help you plan for the expected and unexpected stresses that go along with traveling, and help you get to your destination a little less frazzled!  Enjoy your upcoming trip and have a tropical drink for me!

**Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission.  This does not affect the price you pay but it does help me maintain my blog!

Niki French

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  • Alayna March 6, 2017 at 10:39 pm

    Business trip lol. We have traveled with extended family including a four-year-old cousin and her mom is all about her snacks and activities. She is really a dream as long as she has stuff to keep her occupied, I think that's really the answer.

  • Dana Lewis March 7, 2017 at 11:57 am

    Niki, you have really become a wise expert in a short number of years! I wish I had been lucky enough to have the iPhone when our kids were young. The lists do help immensely, when you don't have to worry about where you put the paper it is written on!

  • Midwestern Mama March 7, 2017 at 6:42 pm

    Amen sista! Keep 'em fed and busy! I couldn't agree more!

  • Midwestern Mama March 7, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    Well, google helps a lot! Adam and I joke that we don't know how parents did it before google because kids (especially Chase) ask so many difficult questions and it's nice to sound somewhat educated when I give him an answer after a quick internet search! ?

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    I'm Niki, founder of Midwestern Mama. This lifestyle blog is a place where I get to share things I am passionate about with people like you! I love fashion, home decor, DIY's and easy meals, among other things. I'm so glad you're here! Read More


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