My Personal Tips on Traveling overseas with Children
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When I was pregnant with my first born, I dreamed of the adventures we were going to take all around the world. I was excited and hopeful! Then I entered motherhood and life got real…
Instead of dreaming of us cuddling on hammocks I was anxiously imaging what it would be like to be that person on the flight with the screaming baby for 13 hours. What do I pack? What if this carrier is too hot? What if the hotel doesn’t have a pack n play?!
*Spoiler Alert* I did end up traveling- still do- and have had some incredible experiences! Here are a few things I find extremely helpful to know when heading overseas with the little!
1. Ask Questions
I know this might be a given but I cannot tell you how many groups and resources there are out there!
For instance, I was a part of a Facebook group for breastfeeding moms just put it out there that I was headed to Japan. All I wanted to know if anyone had experience with their breastfeeding culture butI was blown away at the responses! So many woman reached out and told me about Japan, what the culture was like, helpful tips on where to nurse, and so much more!
There are also groups like Girls Who Travel and Wandering Momma that can answer most questions big or small! Don’t be afraid to voice honest concern either, you’ll be surprised with how loving and encouraging most traveling mommas are!
2. Lists Lists Lists
Our babies are constantly changing along with their needs, favorite toy or snack of the week so I normally make multiple lists.
I start with big picture– “clothes, bed stuff, toys, snacks, pumping stuff” a couple of weeks before I leave.
The next list is written about a week before departure. I do this as I gather things and wash things I know I’ll be using. This list is more specific and would have things like ” 1 coat for each girl, 2 sweaters for each, 2 jeans, 2 hats”. This specific list helps me imagine what our actual needs are so I don’t over pack! *warning* Overpacking can be especially tempting if you are traveling to a cold country where you have to layer or when you are changing hemispheres.
My final list is one I make the night before I leave. This one is detailed and previewed by my husband. It has specific things we would need for the flight and carry ons like chargers, change of clothes for everyone, passports, specific snacks, dramamine, pacifier clips, our travel toys…
This list is combed through the night before and then again in the driveway before we pull out. That last step is KEY- look over your list in the driveway! You can not imagine how many times Cam and I have almost forgotten to grab our ID’s, pack n play, lovey or something silly that we just used 10 minutes previously!
3. Bring All The Food
I basically had an extra carry-on for all of our snacks! Not really, but I man did we budget space for snacks and it was SO WORTH IT.
My tip with packing snacks is- pack light food and throw your rules out the window. I took all of our bars, raisins, veggie pouches, and dehydrated fruits and veggies out of most of their packaging to save space and used a lot of gallon sized bags to organize them.
I personally like to bring dehydrated foods like oatmeal, freeze dried apples, and veggie straws in order to keep it light. Ultimately you have to find what works for your kids, but there are few things worse then a hangry toddler so just be prepared!
We packed so many snacks the last time we headed to Europe and still needed to raid the local markets and gas stations to find snacks in Spain and Sweden.
4. Be Realistic
Nap times, jet lag, culture shock, weather- all of these things affect us and especially our kids! Yes we can still have a blast and explore our socks off- but be realistic with what you are expecting from your kids and yourself.
Make a few plans based on weather and rest then I have a back plan if things go a different way. I tend to over book our schedules but my husband is amazing at reeling me back in and reminding me that we all need down time if we are going to enjoy ourselves.
5. Bring Proper Gear
I get it- you wan to Marie Kondo your travel stuff and not bring things that will just take up space- but chose wisely!
Last year I was given an old Mclaren umbrella stroller from a friend. I cannot reiterate enough how much of a game changer a good light weight stroller is when traveling! For our family of 4 this stroller either carried the baby, the toddler our the diaper bag our entire trip. Even the cobblestoned streets of Cadiz where no match for our stroller.
We also brought a lightweight chicco hiking carrier and used this carrier a lot when both kids needed to rest their legs. These kind of carriers are nice because they provide shade and back support which is essential when you have long days out and about!
I also brought my favorite wildbird ring sling. It might seem like overkill to some, but to me- I wanted a well rested baby. Clementine slept well in the ring sling and it doubled as a blanket (or burp cloth) when needed!
I could go on and on about the gear that’s “worth the weight” but that will have to be on another blog post!
Until then, keep on adventuring and leave a comment below with some of your own travel tips and tricks!
Kudos Meg! Praying for you as you step out in faith.