How to Reduce Stress and Spending When Traveling With Babies & Toddlers by Leslie Campos
Many people avoid travel when their kids are very young. However, going on a family trip when you have babies or toddlers can actually be a lot of fun. With some solid planning, you can find the relaxation you need, explore interesting places, and bond with your little ones. These tips can help you reduce travel stress and plan a fun vacation that won’t bust your budget.
Opt for driving instead of flying
When traveling with small children, a road trip could be your best friend. Travel Pulse notes that of the nearly 100 million people in America planning a family vacation in 2019, more than half of them were planning a road trip.
There are good reasons for this. You can save on flight costs and car rental, as well as reduce stress on you and your children. Babies are vulnerable to germs and often have difficulty with air travel. Toddlers don’t typically like long flights because they want to run around rather than being stuck in a seat.
However, if you drive with your kids and stop often, you can pull off a fun family trip. Be sure to plan for more travel days that are shorter, rather than trying to get there as quickly as possible with long driving days.
Keep them entertained on the road
While babies don’t need much for entertainment, you should have their favorite items with them in the car, including stuffed animals, rattles, and other toys. For toddlers and preschoolers, you’ll want to have a car seat tray and a tote full of coloring books, snacks, toys, and other things they love.
When your kids get restless in the car, don’t hesitate to stop. Think of the drive as part of the vacation experience. You can put things on pause and have a picnic at a park, or even visit a local attraction or event along the way.
Pick the right accommodations
If you are headed to a vacation hot spot, try aiming for the offseason when it will be much less crowded and less expensive. Babies and toddlers fare much better in unfamiliar places if they don’t have to deal with noise and crowds.
Fortunately, since your kids haven’t reached school age, you can avoid traveling in the summertime when lodging and attraction costs are often much more expensive than in the spring and fall.
When you are looking for a place to stay, don’t think that hotel rooms are your only option. You can often rent a vacation home, apartment, or cabin often for less money and get much more space.
Breastfeeding when traveling
If you are breastfeeding and want to store bottles during your travels, Kindred Bravely points out that, though breastmilk can last in the refrigerator for four or five days, experts believe that 72 hours or less is the optimal choice.
If you are staying at a hotel, ask if a refrigerator is available for breastmilk storage. Typically, the small “dorm” refrigerators in the guest rooms do not get cold enough. If you are staying in a home or apartment, be sure to store the bottles at the back of the refrigerator so that they will stay as cold as possible.
Scale back your itinerary
Of course, you want to see some of the most popular attractions at your destination, but you shouldn’t make plans for every minute of the day. However, overscheduling your vacation can stress you out, set you up for disappointment, and make you miserable. And when you are stressed, your kids will be stressed too.
Make a list of places to go and things to do that you consider “musts” and then be flexible with the rest of your itinerary. Just walking around town or hanging out at the beach with your children can be relaxing, entertaining, and free!
You don’t want to leave your baby or toddler with a babysitter, but you don’t want to skip vacation either. And you don’t have to. With some research, you can plan a stress-free, enjoyable trip with your little ones that won’t cost a small fortune either.
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