Hello, unofficial start of summer! This year has been VERY different. With kids out of school and you/your spouse working from home, you might be begging for a vacation. If you are ready to venture out internationally, domestically, or on a little road trip, we’ve got some tips (and a nifty packing list) to help you out.
Here are a couple of thoughts when it comes to traveling with kids:
- Kids are more resilient than we give them credit for.
- Snacks, snacks, snacks, and more snacks.
- It might not be as relaxing as your vacations were in the past (mentally prepare).
- You might need to pack a few more things than you’re used to!
The days of sleeping in and falling asleep poolside might be on pause because traveling with kids is a bit different. But still worth it. If the bucket list family can travel with 3 kids, then you can too!
Basic Travel Tips With Kids
Whether you’re going on a weekend road trip or a month-long international trip, one thing that I feel needs to be repeated, is to make sure you have snacks.
Humans ages 0-100 are much happier when they have their comfort snacks close by. We all have our meltdowns in different ways (adults can hide it a little more than toddlers can) but having a good water bottle and some snacks handy can make for a happier travel crew.
Here are a few more ideas:
- Make sure everyone has some form of entertainment (ex: coloring book, sudoku, iPad, headphones, stickers, etc.)
- Take frequent potty breaks (stop if driving in a car or get up while on a plane). Let the kids stretch their legs.
- Don’t forget to bring your Kids Sleep Melts/Drops to help kiddos fall asleep after all the traveling
But before you can hit the road, you need to make sure you’re packing what you need!
Packing For Your Baby (and Kids)
Planning ahead is huge! When traveling, you might be surprised to arrive at your destination and find that they don’t have car seats or a Pack ‘N Play available.
Call or email where you plan to stay and ask if they have a crib or Pack ‘N Play. If you plan on renting a car, request a car seat. You’ll be happy you didn’t have to drag all of your stuff with you.
If road-tripping, you’ll want to see how much can fit in your car. One stroller can take up a lot of room!
When flying, baby food is allowed on your carry on (in reasonable quantities) as well as your checked baggage, but you’ll want to pack it in a ziplock bag or plastic bag because it’s common for foods to explode in the air.
Inform the TSA agent that you have formula, breast milk, or juice in excess of 3.4 oz. They will most likely have to be screened by X-Ray. For more info on traveling with children straight from TSA, check here.
If traveling by car, make sure you have a cooler packed with ice for breast milk and other drinks.
And when it comes to clothes, check the weather for your destination and always throw in jackets or sweaters for night outings or random cold days (unless you are going to a cold place, then definitely pack winter gear).
Here’s a good checklist you can print out:
Traveling internationally? You’ll want to check out the next section.
Getting A Passport For Your Baby
According to Southwest Airlines, if your baby is over 14 days old and under two years of age, they can be carried free of charge when traveling with an adult (12 years or older). It’s pretty convenient that they consider 12-year-olds to be adults, so if you have older kiddos who are in their teen years, you have another “adult” to help you out. (Always be sure to verify before you travel as things can always change).
Before you can even get on the plane, make sure you get a passport for your little babe. It usually takes about 8 weeks to get your passport to you. If you are really pushing it, it can take about 2-3 weeks expedited, but you will have to pay extra. Passports for anyone under the age of 16 are only good for 5 years.
Here’s the play by play for getting your baby’s passport:
- Go to your local pharmacy or Costco and get your baby’s passport pictures taken. Make sure they are up to date on passport picture guidelines.
- Print this form: DS-11 and fill it out at home where you can find all the important info for it. Important Note: You will need your baby’s social security number, so if you haven’t filled out the paperwork for that yet (ask the nurse at the hospital) you will need to write out a letter with this exact phrase, “I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that the following is true and correct: (Child’s full name) has never been issued a Social Security number by the Social Security Administration.”
- Gather the following documents:
- Your baby’s birth certificate (again make sure you have this in time or you might need to expedite that process as well). Bring a photocopy.
- Both parents’ IDs, like a passport or driver’s license (bring photocopies).
- Your filled out DS-11 form and the passport pictures.
- Call ahead to wherever you plan to go to get the passport and ask if they accept walk-ins or if you should make an appointment. This is also a good time to ask how much a newborn passport will be (especially if you want to expedite) and what form of payment they accept. Lots of places do not accept debit/credit so you might need to bring a money order or check.
- Both parents and baby head to the post office or government office to get the passport. If both parents cannot be present check out this link to find out more info and making sure parental consent is checked off. Otherwise, this could prevent your baby from getting a passport.
Bonus Tip: When flying, ALWAYS bring a copy of your baby’s birth certificate (if you don’t already have a passport) so you can prove your child’s age and that the child is yours. This might sound silly but different airports might have different rules and it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Traveling with Kids
Alright, you’re ready to hit the road now! You know what to pack, how to plan ahead, and the process to get a passport for your baby (and kids).
Now it’s time to pick the destination!
Don’t forget your hand sanitizer.
Where are my traveling friends at? What other tips can you share to help us travel with kids?