Facts of travel with a child

august 14 picture 2Facts of Travel with a Small Kid

My husband and I love to travel and vacation together. We returned a week ago from our second family vacation to the Okanagan Lake area in British Columbia. We still love to travel, but travel is quite different now than pre-kid.

Airplanes are germ infested. Imagine spending 5 days of a 10 day vacation to San Diego with a kid who is vomiting and has diarrhea. Imagine that GI bug first rearing its ugly head at the San Diego Zoo. (Eternally grateful for the Family Bathrooms there!) Imagine beach, pool, and excursion plans changing to extra nap and movie time in your resort condo. I am staunchly opposed to antibacterial hand soaps and Clorox wipes and other harsh disinfectants for my home; however, I come armed with a travel pack of Clorox wipes every time I board an airplane. My first instruction to my kid is, “Don’t touch anything, yet!”

Bathrooms on planes and boats are awesome“I want to poop on the airplane,” shared my son as he decided not to go in the toilet we’d just visited (at his request) in the terminal during a layover. Really, the adventures of travel are all novel to a kid, so in his mind saving his poop for the airplane was completely reasonable. We visited the loo no fewer than 5 times on our dinner cruise in Hawaii thanks to a Marine toilet with a foot pedal flusher.

Travel assistance devices are not overrated. An expensive piece of plastic with wheels on it. That’s what I thought when I first saw the GoGo Babyz Travelmate Nope… it’s a brilliant device that has traveled to British Columbia (2 times), California (3 times), Arizona, and Hawaii. It straps on (most) car seats to make the car seat into a stroller. If you have an FAA approved car seat, you can leave the Travelmate attached when you strap the car seat in on the airplane. Be prepared for looks of envy from moms and dad alike as you wheel your kid in his through the airport effortlessly while they simultaneously try to hand carry their car seat, push a stroller, and wrangle a toddler/preschooler or two who is prone to dashing in any given direction with no notice.  Please note: you MUST detach the Travelmate before installing your car seat in a car.

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Time changes are brutal.  Four-Year Old’s wake up time on day 2 of our trip to British Columbia:  4:50 a.m. He’d adjusted to Pacific Time by the end of the vacation. Be prepared to be up at undesirable times that make you crazy since you have to remind your kid every 10 seconds that NO ONE else in the resort is awake so he still needs to be quiet/not jump on the bed /not scream/not play music loudly/not bang on the walls. We traveled to Hawaii (6 hour time change) in March and were glad we stayed 2 weeks since it took 4-5 days to fully adjust. France 2014: oh how we are {looking forward to} the time change.

Rules on vacation are different than rules at home. My son has more screen time on vacation than at home.  Due to a slightly difficult transition from vacation rules to home rules, my son is on an iPad timeout for a week. He also watches movies we bring from home of the Disney ilk while on vacation. He rarely sees a movie or just gets to “play” on the iPad at home.

Novel crafts and small toys are highly desirable on vacation. We pack Kiwi Crate activities, watercolor paints, a pad of paper, crayons, small toy cars, DIY pompom balls with magnets attached, a few small balls, and new kids CDs from the library. We share a Kiwi Crate craft/activity box subscription with a friend. Since Kiwi Crate sends all of the supplies needed for the activities in the box, it’s very easy to put an activity or two in a clear plastic bag and pack it in the suitcase. Other toys that travel well: deflated pool toys.

Little kids need to be little kids on vacation, too! We did exactly ONE adult-oriented activity during our trip to British Columbia: a vineyard tour at Summer Hill Pyramid Winery. I think our kid enjoyed the tour since the vineyard had a see-saw, a slide, a koi pond, a fish tank, a 1/8th scale version of an Egyptian pyramid, and a sample of apple cider for him. We also went to Kangaroo Creek Farm, a splash park, the beach, the pool, and the playground.  We kept most of the vacation kid-friendly.

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Sometimes you won’t get to do what you want to do because you’re on vacation with a little kid… I didn’t get to snorkel much in Hawaii. I LOVE to snorkel. (Next time?)

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5 Responses to Facts of travel with a child

  1. Jessie August 14, 2013 at 11:20 am #

    So glad you mentioned the GoGo Babyz Travelmate. I traveled with my then-9-mo-old and carted his car seat around while he was in an umbrella stroller. It was aweful! We don’t travel much at this point, but if we ever travel with a convertible car seat again, I’m getting one of those!
    p.s. the link didn’t work, but here’s a web address so others can find it: http://www.gogobabyz.com/product-i14550-c26-gogo_Kidz_Travelmate_.aspx

    • Laura C August 14, 2013 at 2:19 pm #

      Sorry the link didn’t work! Thanks for posting a new one. I hope you love the Travelmate as much as we do. Since my only carry on luggage is a back pack, it also allows me to have my hands free to push the Travelmate.

  2. Angie August 14, 2013 at 4:46 pm #

    Yes, I second the thanks to you for mentioning the carseat travel thing! My husband and I will be going to DC with our daughter in the spring (she’ll be about 10 months) and then to Switzerland next summer. I can see this being a lifesaver!

    • Laura C August 14, 2013 at 5:59 pm #

      =) Glad you’ll be doing some traveling! I love DC. I really want to get to Switzerland! I’ve been to many Europeans countries, but not Switzerland.

  3. Tara
    Tara August 15, 2013 at 12:08 am #

    Great ideas/ tips Laura!! I agree travel pre-kids and post-kids is much different:)

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