I got a ton of DMs during our trip to St. Barths about traveling with kids which makes me realize I’m not the only clueless parent when it comes to the topic. And to be completely honest, it wasn’t easy. Both Capri and Walker were angels during our travel days but the prep work, the logistics, and the exhaustion that comes with bringing kids is no joke – at least for us – and I won’t be doing it again soon…LOL.
We went back and forth about bringing the kids for months but ultimately decided we didn’t want to leave them for a full week. We brought my mom to help and to spend time with the kids, which was nice, but looking back, I’m not sure I would recommend such a big trip for Walker’s age.
This is a huge topic and I’m definitely not an expert but I did want to share a few things that worked for me + some other travel tips I’ve heard from you guys.
+ Consider the time change: Walker had a hard time adjusting to the time change, and even though my mom came with us to help, Paul and I ended up being up most of the night(s) with him to give my mom a break. This was the hardest part of the trip, on top of being sick, since we truly didn’t sleep much – and neither did Walker. In hindsight, I probably wouldn’t have brought him on a trip with such a major time difference with him being this young and reliant on his schedule OR I would have had a better plan for adjusting him. It’s hard enough adjusting to the time as an adult (and we were tired from that alone), but him not sleeping was a nightmare.
+ Pack early: I started packing for the kids a few days in advance since I knew there was a lot involved. I always write out a big list of travel essentials and obviously with kids this is long, but I really tried to bring the least amount of sh*t as possible. As I went through the days leading up to the trip, I’d remember something I needed to bring, so I’d suggest going through a few normal days to see if you’re forgetting any routine essentials. Also, figure out things the kids can share so you have one less thing to bring.
+ Amazon Prime to your destination: If you don’t want to travel with too much formula, diapers, snacks, etc. for your kids while you’re away, set up an Amazon order in advance so that essentials arrive at your destination when you arrive. You can also find a lot of travel-friendly kid stuff on Amazon which I suggest looking into for ease.
+ Bring your own sheets + sound machine: Walker slept in a hotel crib and Capri slept in a bed, (which I realize I need to cover on the blog soon since she’s made that transition). I did pack Walker his own bedsheets so that he was more comfortable and I think it makes kids feel more at home. I also brought our own sound machine so that we could use it on the plane and at the hotel. This one is great because it doesn’t have to be plugged in and you can attach it to the car seat.
+ Doona Travel Stroller: We brought this since it folds down into a car seat and then also acts as a car seat for Walker. Highly recommend! You can also bring a stroller and gate check it so that you have easy access before / after flights but don’t have to deal with it on the plane.
+ Be hands-free: If you want to be hands-free, you can wear your baby through security without too much hassle. It’s also nice to wear them while boarding the plane so you’re more hands-free. I use this baby carrier which I LOVE. If you have a toddler, I suggest getting them their own roller bag (we got Capri this one) so they can handle some of their sh*t. She actually loved this independence!
+ Buy a seat for the kids: Most airlines allow kids under 2 to sit on your lap but I can’t imagine that for a long plane ride. It was nice to have Walker in his car seat in his own airplane seat – both so he could sleep more comfortably and we were able to have more space in general.
+ Feed during takeoff / landing: We fed Walker his bottles during takeoff and landing to help with the change of air pressure on his ears. He did great!
+ Bring the right water bottle: Since we had to make Walker bottles on the go, we brought a reusable, insulated water bottle and filled this up after we went through security. We then ordered hot water from a store inside the airport to mix things up so his bottle water wasn’t freezing.
+ Remember a changing pad: Changing a baby in the airport or on a plane can be disgusting, so figure out your situation before traveling. I was happy to have a mat to lay Walker on in the nasty airport bathrooms and on the plane. I used these disposable ones.
+ Bring a change of clothes for you and the kids on the plane: Mainly if you have babies, I suggest bringing both of you a change of clothes in case they get sick, make a mess while eating, etc. I also brought a few doggie bags for any messy diapers during the trip and LOTS of antibacterial hand wipes.
+ Plane entertainment: We ordered Capri a few fun new activities for the plane which she loved. We also packed her tablet (don’t forget the headphones!) which was a life-saver. We also brought a lot of snacks which kept them both pretty occupied.
+ Manage your expectations: I think the same goes with any sort of travel, and that’s to assume that it’s not going to go perfectly. There will likely be delays, stressful moments, and things that don’t go according to your plan, and that’s okay. I also found that the people around us on planes were VERY helpful (especially flight attendants) and sympathetic to the fact that we were traveling with kids – when I was expecting the opposite. And when all goes to hell, order yourself a large glass of rosé in between flights and know it’ll be over soon LOL.
Any other tips to add?