Being in the military has it’s ups and downs. There are certainly many challenges like holidays missed together, moving away from family and friends.. well just moving in general, instability for kids, and truly I could go on and on… BUT we won’t go there today.
Today, let’s focus on the positive. Because of the military, I have gotten to travel to much of the world! I’ve been to Hawaii, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Venice Beach, the real Venice, Rome, Slovenia, Germany, Netherlands, Czech Republic… and that’s just some of the places we’ve been.
The military has allowed me to check so many things off of my bucket list.
I could choose to be bitter, well, because I never see my husband. But instead, I choose to be grateful for all of the amazing memories we have made and continue to make. We choose to find joy in the place the God and put us, no matter where that may be.
Adventure can be found anywhere. You simply have to choose to look.
In typical military style, my hubby always travels to where he is going before I do. I meet up with him after he has scoped out the situation.
This means that I travel, often times, alone with little kiddos.
On a cross country (and sea, for that matter) trip to Hawaii, I traveled with a not yet 3 year old and a four month old.
On a similar trip up the east coast and across the Atlantic, I traveled with a 2 and 4 year old.
And too many times to count over the past 7 years, I have traveled by car, train, plane, boat and foot with littles in my arms or on my back. So, I have a little experience and I’d love to pass on my tips.
Even my (then) four year old tested the limits of the Ergo during our trip to Prague, in particular. I probably needed a toddler version at that point, but it worked!
When I had my oldest daughter, I saw people using these carriers. I had an inexpensive version that someone had given to me, and I found it super uncomfortable. I saw the price tag on the “Ergo” and wondered why so many people seemed to have one of these things.
It wasn’t until I actually tried one that I understood. I purchased mine when my daughter was already a year old, and it was and is still to this day, the number one item I’ve ever bought as a mom and is absolutely the BEST money I’ve spent.
Seriously, if you don’t have one… you need one.
Anyways, I’ll hop off of my soap box. For traveling with one, two or however many kids, this is a MUST have.
First off, you have two hands and arms again! If you have multiple children, you’ll be needing those. If you don’t, you’ve still got to carry ALL THE THINGS and this makes it totally possible.
This one probably applies mainly to the three and under crowd to the the most out of them, but these are still very well crafted suitcases that will stand the test of time (and the test of the bag handlers at the airlines).
A Trunki is a nifty little travel suitcase that doubles as a ride on toy!
If you have ever had a layover with a toddler, you are already ooooing and ahhhing at the thought of this multi-functional item!
We have always used this as our carry on for the kids. I pack it full of useful items like a change of clothes, small toys, play doh, snacks (of course) and coloring books & crayons.
It fits nicely under the seat on the plane and is extremely durable, much more so than nearly all traditional suitcases.
3. Plastic Tablecloths
Plastic tablecloths are cheap, easy to clean and have so many uses!
You can spread them on the floor to give your “lap baby” a little time off of your lap when in the airport.
The kids can eat on them if you aren’t near a good seating area.
They are perfect for changing pads when the nearest bathroom is too far.
They serve as great mats for play doh, which is the perfect travel companion.
So super versatile!
These do have small pieces, so be careful for the really little kids.
Essentially, this is a book (many are Disney themed) that has some character pieces and a play mat in the back.
Imaginations go wild, no matter where you are waiting. When it’s time to go, simply pile it all back into the book and put it in your Trunki. So nice!
We have had lots of these books over the years. Veggietales, Micky Mouse, Jake and the Neverland Pirates. They all have pages filled with items that the child has to search for.
We were super excited to find a Where’s Waldo book at Barnes and Noble recently! I didn’t know they still had those. My daughter (7) has outgrown the original find it books, but has been quite occupied with our new discovery!
Books, for that matter, are great travel companions as well. For the older kids, have them choose a new chapter book for your trip. Younger ones will enjoy books too; we often get them a new book that they haven’t seen before when we are going on a long trip. Don’t show them the new book or toy until on the plane or when you begin your travels. They will be super occupied because they haven’t seen it before!
Some more tips
Here’s an extra tip for you:
If it’s in your budget, the Amazon Fire is a great purchase. We don’t use electronics in our everyday life, so the tablets are a treat when we are traveling.
If you don’t have Freetime (the subscription service that goes along with the Fire, filled with games, books and shows for littles) you can download Netflix movies and there are lots of apps that don’t require WiFi.
There are lots of small items that occupy small hands for a long time.
Fidget spinners, sensory balls, stress balls, calm down bottles, spy bottles, slinkies, rubix cubes, to name a few.
We LOVE being a traveling family. Traveling with kiddos comes with lots of challenges, but it is totally worth it!
Memories > Stuff, one of the Bynum Family Mantras.
What does your family do when you travel? What tips do you have??
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