We have done a lot of traveling before we had Mikael. When we had him last year, we still traveled but it was only in North America and the flight was not more than 2-3 hours long. As Mikael was hitting the 1-year mark, we visited Europe and covered 5 cities in a span of two weeks. The time was super crazy and we enjoyed a lot but they are some very important tips I wanted to give to parents to make their trip less stressful and more enjoyable. Keep reading below to know what those tips are:
1. Invest in a Travel Stroller
My husband told me to look into a travel stroller a few months back and my response to him was, we took our everyday stroller to Mexico and didn’t have a problem. I was never more wrong! Europe is completely different from North America and unfortunately, I was surprised to learn that cities like Paris haven’t invested on escalators in subways and a lot of elevators (lifts) fit only two people let alone a stroller. Our stroller although foldable was too big for France!! Mikael and the stroller combined weighed over 45 pounds and my husband had to carry that up and down the subway. So believe me when I say this, invest in a stroller that folds small and isn’t too heavy to carry.
2. Carry Disposable Bags
I went to Walmart and bought poop bags from the pet section. Funny!! Right? That was the best decision I made. As we were touring cities all day, we had diaper emergencies and had to change him at a random corner in public. We used poop bags for those diapers! Or when we had to pack his dirty clothes, I used those bags again. They were super useful for us!
3. Be Prepared for Unexpected
Because I travel back and forth to Toronto a lot, I have had instances where Mikael has gotten sick or caught a runny nose. And thus I am always prepared ahead of time. I always have a bag with his nasal spray, Tylenol, nasal aspirator, thermometer, and cough syrup with me all the time.
4. Day flights or Night flights?
This is a tricky one and I have had mixed reviews on this one. To be honest, I prefer night flights so he sleeps in. When he is awake, he tends to get fussier as he is kept in one space for consecutive 6 hours. Another thing I would recommend is that if you travel a lot with kids, buy a seat for your toddler or get a business seat instead. Mikael likes to stay in one position when he is sleeping and if he gets moved, he wakes up. Having his own seat will give him more flexibility and a chance for him to sleep throughout the night without interruption.
5. Pick the most convenient seats
Getting a seat in the middle of the aisle has its own hassle. Look for a window seat or an aisle seat instead. Aisle seats sometimes give you extra legroom and at times are closer to the restroom. When you have to change diapers a lot, being close to restroom helps.
6. Be Prepared for Long Commute
Whether you are in a cab, train, and most importantly plane, it can get overwhelming for an infant to stay in one place. I see Mikael crawling and walking around home all day. He just wants to explore and touch things. Now imagine sitting at a place where he can’t do much for as much as 7 hours straight. That was us during flight and on trains as well! We have YouTube premium so we downloaded a bunch of nursery rhymes for him to play during the travel. If you know how to entertain them without a device, go for it!! I usually come up with games to keep him entertained as well. With devices and without devices, always be prepared!
7. Try AirBnB
During the travel this time, we had the chance to experience AirBnB and hotels. While staying at a hotel has its charm, I prefer AirBnB as it’s more spacious for Mikael. He was able to crawl around and enjoy his space. It was easier for us to wash all his bowls, feeding bottles, and other pieces. We have to change his clothes 2-3 times a day and we easily run out of clothes. Staying at Airbnb also gave us the chance to catch up on his laundry! Another important tip to remember is to book Airbnb in a building that has elevators. I realized this when we got to our Airbnb apartment in London, it becomes a hassle to carry the stroller up and down the stairs.
8. Packing the Basics
Now, this is important! I was contemplated on whether to pack diapers and food or buy it in Europe as we go. I ended up packing them and I made the right choice. As we were staying in tourist areas, we didn’t have access to departmental stores. We did have access to small drugstores but they didn’t carry all diaper sizes and the formulas we needed. So make sure to pack the following:
- Always carry enough diapers for the whole trip (unless you are familiar with the city and will know where to find them if you run out)
- Don’t forget the baby wipes (they are serious lifesavers as Mikael makes a mess of himself during eating and when we have to clean him up)
- Carry extra cereals/purees if they enjoy solid food (I ran out of cereals by the time I touched London and I had to check 3 stores before I could find one! Sadly not all tourist areas carry everything)
I love travels and there is so much to experience as we travel to new cities. I want to make sure our time is memorable and that we have a good time. Preparing ahead of yourself if you have kids will definitely make your travel easier and more enjoyable. Do you have any tips you would like to share? Leave them in the comments below!