As you prepare, we would like to offer some suggestions to help make your trip a bit smoother.
1. Make sure your destination is kid-friendly. Many of us will be traveling to see family over the holidays. But if you are one of the very lucky ones that is taking a true destination vacation, then make a point of doing your research. Your trip will be so much more relaxing if you find a hotel or resort that happily accepts children.
2. Create a flexible itinerary. Some of us are planners, but with little ones you have to be able to go with the flow. On travel days, you will most likely need to make unexpected stops along the way. During your trip, you may need to change your plans for the day due to a sleepy or cranky toddler.
3. Bring plenty of snacks. If your child is old enough for solids, be sure to have their favorites on hand. There are many options for low-mess containers making them great for travel. Flying is dehydrating so bring lots of liquids. If baby still breastfeeds or takes a bottle, be ready to feed in the car or in the air. Have water accessible for you and your child, just remember you will need to wait and purchase it at the gate.
4. Try to plan feeding times around take-off and landing, if you choose air travel. The pressure hurts their little ears. The sucking/chewing motion will help - just like when we throw a stick of gum in our mouths.
5. Pack entertainment. Bring along age appropriate toys, books and electronics. Your best bet is to throw in a surprise item or two. This is sure to keep their attention. Be polite, keep the sound off on your child's (and your) electronics. None of your fellow passengers want to hear them.
6. Bring along extra clothing in an easy to access bag. We suggest you bring a change of clothing for both you and your kids. There is nothing worse than traveling in clothing that is stained and possibly smelly. Make sure baby wears clothing for easy diaper changes. If you will be breastfeeding, wear a nursing top made to breastfeed discreetly and with ease.
7. Consider bringing a crib from home. When using a hotel crib you need to consider safety standards, as well as bacteria or viruses from previous children using the crib. Baby will likely be more at ease in his own space, and you will know that the crib has been washed and taken care of.
8. BE PATIENT! Travel days can be trying. Be patient with your children as well as those around you. Once someone's children are grown, it's easy to forget what it's like to travel with a baby.