By Hannah Schenker
It’s that time of year again! Families everywhere packing up and heading off on summer adventures around the country or further abroad. Beaches, BBQs, baches…or mountains, rivers and countryside. What could be better to recharge the batteries than a good, long relaxing break? For some, the thought of traveling with their young children is daunting. Enough to make them stay home instead of getting away. Whether your wee one is just a newborn or a toddler, here are some travel tips to get you on your way this summer.
- Preparation is key!
It’s not as easy to just decide last minute and go, when you have small children. You need to factor in a whole lot of things, so give yourself plenty of time to do the preparation work. It will pay off later when everything is organized and simple. That means booking as much as possible ahead of time, because it’s much more difficult “winging it” with kids in tow. You will know where you are going, who is picking you up, whether you have a baby bed booked and waiting, or a car seat…it goes on. You will be far freer to look around, relax into it and even enjoy the journey.
- Pack smart.
Don’t bring more than you can carry. Pack items you know will work with the climate you are heading into. Summer temperatures can be scorching, especially down under in New Zealand and Australia, so make sure you and your little one have the right gear. You’ll want cover-up items for when you’re at the beach or picnicking in the sun, hats and plenty of chemical-free sunscreen for your child’s delicate skin. Organic cotton and bamboo clothing is ideal for both of you to keep cool and comfortable in the heat. Make sure to prioritise the everyday things you can’t live without but that are easily forgotten, like wipes!
- Forget the pram, use a baby carrier.
Navigating airports? Off on car journeys, but want freedom and flexibility once you arrive? A quality baby carrier means you can move around easily, hands-free. You will be able to head out on walks to waterfalls, cocoon your wee one in noisy, crowded places, and soothe your baby to sleep even in the midst of your own sightseeing. Your little one will be comfortable and reassured in new surroundings as you have them close to you. Ideally, go for something like the Ergobaby 360 Cool Air, which is designed for hotter temperatures and adventure. With a mesh panel for air flow and moisture-wicking fabric you will be able to keep cool. Its versatility is a bonus – you can wear your baby four different ways for different needs. This carrier can be used from birth right through to toddlers, so you will be rocking around for years, breastfeeding easily on the go.
- Pack for snack attacks.
Yours and your child’s. Low blood sugar can bring out the darker parenting moments and bigger meltdowns in your kids. Make sure you have mess-free, easy to grab, healthy snacks to keep the energy up. Having things with you is far simpler than trying to find something “on the way”.
- Take your time.
Traveling with young ones is a great way to slow you down. If you accept this, even welcome it, you might find a new level of enjoyment on your trip. Spot a nice pullover somewhere along the way? Stop and give everyone a chance to stretch their legs, eat something, get some fresh air, have a bathroom break. It will take longer to get to your destination, but you will all be more relaxed for it. If you bring along a chilly bin with some ice packs and cool water, you can spritz everyone for a nice cool down. Plan more time than you think you need for the journey, especially if you are catching flights or other forms of transport, allowing for any unexpected hold-ups.
- Pack the faves.
If you can, bring along some favourite items from home that you know your little ones loves. Especially things that may help to keep the home routine going, such as a beloved bedtime story or snuggly toy. Put a limit on device use and encourage creative play when possible. Though sometimes a trusted app or film can be a life-saver.
- Don’t forget about you!
After all the preparation and the journey itself, you will be more than ready for your holiday. If you are with family or friends, make sure to take them up on their offers of watching your little one so you can take a nap, read a book or go for a long, delicious swim.
Hannah Schenker is a freelance writer, editor and regular contributor to The Natural Parent Magazine. She lives with a touch of magic in Golden Bay, New Zealand.