6) Drive at Night
Alternately, we have also started road trips later in the evening to get at least a few hours down the road before we need to pull over for sleep ourselves. We usually take this tactic if we know we’re going to be spending the night in a hotel along the route anyways. Again, our daughter goes to bed between 7:00 and 8:00 at night so if we have her in the car in her pjs at 7:00 she will usually go to sleep and stay asleep until we go into a hotel – most of the time she snoozes right through the transfer.
7) Let them Sleep
Pack some light snacks for yourself on the rare occasion the kids are asleep and you are hungry. Also, try filling up on gas when you do stop for food or bathroom breaks to avoid needing to stop when the kids are fast asleep in the backseat. As long as they are asleep you are making stop-free headway down the road. With a newborn, however, make sure you pay attention to the clock so you feed them on the 2-3 hour schedule they need.
8) Pack Light for Plane Rides but Bring the Essentials
When traveling by plane, bring all the essentials but try to keep them organized and minimal. I try to fit everything I will need for myself and baby in our diaper bag. We usually bring the stroller through the gate so we have extra hands as needed throughout the day. We also have a car seat that snaps into the stroller so we can avoid checking it (i.e. save some money). If you have removable cup holders it might be a good idea for you to remove them before you leave your stroller at the gate so they don’t get lost under the plane.
9) Arrange for Flights around Naptime
There is always a chance that your flight will get rearranged, but it is usually not a substantial time change when it does happen. Being at the airport in and of itself for small babies will be very stimulating – new sounds, smells, people, etc. By the time you board the plane, hopefully your kid will be ready to nod off to sleep. Feeding during takeoff and landing is always helpful to help their ears adjust to the pressure changes.
10) Board the Plane Last
One of the benefits of traveling with small children is getting to board the plane first. If traveling with toddler aged children and a second adult I recommend the opposite. Send one person ahead to secure the seats, store luggage, and drop off the stroller, while one person remains behind with the kids to allow them a few extra minutes of freedom before they need to be seated. They can burn off some last minute energy and you can spend a few less minutes between boarding and takeoff with an energy filled kid on your lap.
Submitted by: Dana Kennedy
Dana is a stay-at-home mom, former zookeeper, and adjunct professor. She loves to travel, read, cook, spend time with her family, and experience all that life has to offer.