Family vacations are tons of fun, unless you take the planning, executing, and actual travel into account! Seriously though, there shouldn’t be anything stopping you from taking your infant and toddler on vacation with you. Yes, it is a lot of work. No, you probably will not sleep any better away from home. Yes, something will have you frazzled every single day that you are on vacation. And yes we have a lot of tips on how to travel with your babies!
However, the memories that you acquire during these trips will be the ones that you cherish forever.
Here are 10 tips on how to travel with both an infant and a toddler at the same time:
1. Sit in the Middle Seat on a Plane
Okay, so the middle seat on an airplane is never a favorite of anyone, but when you are a parent traveling alone with a baby and a toddler…. Let’s just say that choosing this seat will change your mind forever! I recommend paying for a seat for both your toddler and baby, because you only have one lap. Then one child can sit by the window and the other can sit in the aisle. You can then switch them on and off your lap, depending on who is sleeping and who needs attention. Of course, you can ignore this advice if you have another adult traveling with you, because they can hopefully do some of the holding. And of course, we have more tips for flying with your baby and surviving!
2. Take a Double Stroller
You may think nothing of using two strollers when you are at home, or letting your toddler walk everywhere while holding your hand. However, when you are traveling, there are massive crowds and areas that you are not familiar with. Plus, the idea of lugging two strollers around will make even the most experienced parent shudder.
A double stroller will allow you to easily wheel both children around as you are exploring one destination after another. I also recommend checking this stroller in at the gate, instead of with your baggage, when you are flying, because you can use it when you are racing through the airport before, in between, and after flights.
3. Get Your Toddler Excited About Your Trip
No child takes change easily, which is why you will want to start talking to them about your trip well in advance. This will allow them to get used to the idea of being away from home and have them excited about everything that you will be doing when you are gone. Little ones love hearing about who they will see, what they will do, and any of the special treats that they might get when they are traveling with you.
4. Purchase a New Toy or Two
While your infant will care less about toys during your trip, your toddler will love having the chance to play with something different.
These toys will come in handy for road trips or longer airplane rides, as it will give your toddler something different to think about instead of the never-ending trip.
5. Pack Plenty of Snacks
Yes, your baby probably will not be old enough to eat any of the snacks that you pack. However, your toddler will probably welcome the food at multiple times throughout your trip. Anytime your baby is eating, you can offer a snack or two to your toddler, so that they do not automatically want your attention when you are busy. You will also want to have liquids available for your toddler during takeoff and landing, to avoid the pain of having their ears pop from the changes in pressure. We certainly recommend snacks if you want a stress-free family vacation!
6. Pack a Few Books
Toddlers love pretending to read, as well as being read to, so make sure that you are prepared with a few books.
I recommend reading to them while you are feeding the baby, because it will give your toddler something to do and give them your attention at the same time. So yes, books are certainly on our list of 20 travel essentials you didn’t think you needed!
7. Plan Your Departure Time for Naptimes
Hopefully, your baby and toddler nap at the same time, because this will make this tip even easier for you. If they don’t, you can still take advantage of this tip by planning your departure time around one of your child’s naps. This ensures that you will only need to devote all your time towards the child that is awake. Planning travel around sleep schedules can also eventually help with managing jet lag if you’re traveling to a different time zone.
8. Stick with Your Routines
You are going to be so excited about your trip that you are going to want to do whatever you want whenever you want to.
However, when you are traveling with a baby and a toddler, it is going to be much easier for you to stick with your routines from back home. Naps should still be taken at the same times, meals should be served at the same times, and bedtime rituals should stay the same.
9. Use the Family Lane at Security in Airports
Most airports have a family lane at security, and I recommend that you use that if it is available. This lane is often a little larger and has a couple extra people for you to take advantage of during those hectic moments of children being out of the stroller and going through the security process. This experience will be a little scary for your toddler, as they might not know what is going on and why their favorite stuffed animal is on a conveyor belt, so you might want to talk to them about it beforehand.
10. Reserve a Suite or Apartment for Your Accommodations
Toddlers love to move around a lot, which is why you might want to consider reserving a suite at a hotel or an apartment for your trip.
These two options are much larger than a regular hotel room and they will allow you to easily put your baby down for bed before spending a few precious moments with your older child. We have tips on how to reserve the perfect accommodation for your growing family.
It is much harder to travel with two small children instead of just one, but it is quite doable if you follow the ten tips that I mentioned above. The one thing that you must remember is to have a lot of patience, because these moments are fleeting and before you know it, they won’t be so little any longer.