5 Must-Dos When Travelling with Kids

Traveling as a child is one of my fondest memories, along with the anecdotes told to me over and over again (“when you were four in Disneyland…”) As a parent, what can be more exciting than getting to show your tiny human the world? Traveling as a family is an adventure that makes you deal with situations outside your comfort zone and experimenting with different ways of seeing, eating, acting, being…

Then there is the practical (and oh so very necessary) side of planning a trip with children in tow. Pre-baby, my husband and I used to travel with just carry-ons. We would hop on the plane and off we went! Those easy, breezy days of traveling ultra light are gone, but we’ve quickly accumulated some must-dos for bringing our baby along for the ride:

1. MAKE A LIST

Write it weeks before traveling (if possible) and add to it as you think of things on the fly—items to pack, addresses and phone numbers to remember, things to do ahead of time, etc. Have this list on your phone or computer. Share it with other members of the family. And save the #AllMightyList as a starting point for you next trip. It will be helpful to see what you need to add or edit out.

2. SCOPE OUT YOUR DESTINATION

Does the place where you’re staying have a washer/drier or a reasonable and easy laundry service? Is there a pack-and-play you can use? Is the city/area/country stroller-friendly, or will you need to wear your baby on the go?

3. LEAD THE PACK

If you’re flying, call the airline or check online before traveling to find out how many suitcases you’re allowed to bring. Tip: Strollers and car seats can usually be checked for free, and diaper bags don’t count as carry-ons on most airlines.

4. GET THE RIGHT BAG

Packing cubes are as kid-friendly as they sound. The special compartmentalized bags are like having drawers inside your suitcase, so you can separate your child’s pajamas from their toys while having quick access to everything. In a pinch, zip lock bags also do the trick.

5. CARRY ON, KEEP CALM

The mighty diaper bag is your “go bag.” In it you should include at least two outfit changes for the kiddo(s) and a fresh shirt for you and your partner. (Nothing like having vomit, spit, or poop on you, even if just for an hour drive or flight.) Along with the usual laundry list of items to bring—from Advil to Zebra-print bib—keeping a sense of humor and calm improves your trip exponentially.