My Top 5 Travel Tips for Toddlers
What a week! We spent seven glorious days days in Stowe, Vermont swimming, biking, exploring and eating. It wasn’t the summer vacation we had originally planned but we still had a blast as it was a very laid-back and stress-free. We stayed at my parents’ country home which made the trip that much easier but I know all too well the challenges of being in a hotel with kids. Bed sharing, restaurant meals and piles of laundry are the reality. So, over the week I shared my daily travel tips for toddlers on my Instagram stories and I’ve recapped them here, just for you:
Tip #1 – Find the Local Library
Before we made the trip to Vermont I researched what activities were happening locally throughout the week. And, of course, there was tons to do at the local library. Whenever we go away we always seem to end up at a library for activities like story time, arts & crafts and puppet shows. And they really do have something for kids of all ages, especially on rainy days, from books to computers to puzzles and toys. Plus, a trip to the library saves me from packing loads of books to read at bedtime.
Tip #2 – Make a Trip to the Grocery Store
The first day we were here I spent $2 on an apple for Leo. He was hungry and I hadn’t made the trip to the grocery store yet. Even if you don’t have a kitchen at your disposal, you’ll save tons of money by buying snacks, fresh fruit and drinks at the supermarket. Be sure to pack a knife and small reusable containers so you’ll always have single serving snacks on hand. Better yet, pre-order these items to your destination so they’re there upon your arrival. I always do this with diapers, sunscreen and other non-perishable snacks. But I’m sure you’ll find an excuse, like me, to head to the local Target or Trader Joe’s to stock up on fuel for the family…those Tamari crackers were too good, and gluten free!
Tip #3 – Don’t Stress about Naps/Bedtime
Leo fell asleep at night in minutes after long days outside but naps were more of a challenge. I tried the crib the first few days but got fed up of staying inside while Chris and the big kids got to play. So I either headed out for a walk/drive so he could nap in the stroller/car and I could soak up the sun and the sites. I know I may have a problem when I get back home (!) but sometimes you have to live in the moment and deal with the consequences after. And plus, a well-rested toddler makes dinner-time that much more enjoyable, especially when you’re at a restaurant.
Tip #4 – Dine at Restaurants That Have More Than Just Food
I’m not talking about going to Chuck E. Cheese every night but when a restaurant has an arcade game or two, meals are that much more enjoyable. One of our favourite, delicious restaurants in Stowe (Piecasso) has a game room that my kids are perfectly happy to play in while mom and dad order the meal and have a drink. The few dollars I give them is well worth the investment of having some down time. Yes, an iPad at the table can accomplish the same thing but I’m much happier to use this type of technology as a last resort. And plus, my kids are into the games for the prizes more than anything. My new trick before whipping out a phone with Leo is to order him a glass of water or just a cup of ice. He can spend a good 10 minutes fishing out the cubes with his spoon and crunching on them as an appetizer.
Tip #5 – Don’t Forget to Take Some Me-Time
Travelling with kids isn’t a vacation; it’s a trip. It will be tiring and chances are the kids will be going to bed later than usual, giving you less down-time than normal. So make sure to carve out a little bit of time for yourself. Whether it’s a 30-minute power walk, a shopping power-hour or just a few minutes sitting at the pool with a seltzer (or frosé), those are the moments that will stand out as pure relaxation. And, of course, if you’re able to find a babysitter and spend an evening out at a nice restaurant or a few hours as a couple at the spa, do it. Mom and dad deserve a break too. Especially after planning such an amazing vacation for the kids!
Have other tips to share? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.