We're going on a beach vacation in a few days, and I wanted to write a post about traveling with a toddler. Now keep in mind that we really haven't traveled a lot with Landon. He was a terrible sleeper at home and a thousand times worse when we were away, so we rarely went anywhere the first year of his life. When we went to visit family we always wound up leaving early because L would be up every 2 hours and we were all exhausted. We did have to go to a wedding in upstate NY when he was 7 weeks old because it was Jeff's cousin's wedding and he was in it. I wrote a post about my tips for traveling by car with an infant here. We are finally attempting a little trip again, and since I know my son pretty well by now, I know what to bring and what to do to hopefully make this trip go smoothly. I'll have to let you all know if this stuff actually works or not once we get back. We haven't flown with Landon yet, but we might next summer, so if anyone has tips for that, let me know!
* Car toys! This bin is in the backseat of our car on the floor near L's carseat. It has all sorts of random crap in it: Mega Blocks, shakers, balls, a drum, a panda that plays music when you press its hands or feet, L's fake metal car keys, a mirror, several touch & feel books, etc. L likes the books the most, and this stuff comes in very handy for any car ride we go on. However, I know that for the 4 hour car ride we will be doing later this week (which we all know will take longer than that with stops) I will need more than this. I just bought the Vtech Alphabet Apple at Target the other day.
* Try to do a lot of your driving during nap time. We always aim for this, but sometimes the timing just doesn't work out or Landon refuses to nap even though it's his regular naptime. We've found having My Pal Scout helps a lot because Landon loves him and the lullaby music puts him to sleep sometimes.
* Snacks and drinks. Landon is a big kid and he eats a lot. I always make sure we have snacks with us whenever we go anywhere. I plan on bringing a ton of fruit/veggie pouches, as well as a sippy full of water and another full of milk. I had a bigger insulated bag with icepacks for bottles when I was breastfeeding, so I just use that bag for the milk and water now. I also love these snack containers because L can have them in the car and not make too much of a mess. I usually fill them with Cheerios, yogurt melts, bunny graham crackers, etc. I also make sure to have plenty of snacks for the room.
* Sit in the back with your child. I pretty much always sit in back with Landon while Jeff drives, even if it's a 10 minute trip. It's just easier if Landon gets upset for someone to be back there with him already. I think he likes having someone to look at, "talk" to, and smile at as well.
* Take lots of breaks. I know Landon is going to need a few diaper changes on this trip, and he will want to get out of his carseat and not be restrained every so often. I can't say I blame him. Luckily there are plenty of rest stops on the way. I do dread changing L's diaper in a public bathroom though. I've done it before, but I don't enjoy it. So gross.
* Get another mattress for the pack n play. If your child is anything like mine, they will not sleep in their pack n play with the thin, hard mattress it comes with. We got this one that fits our Graco pack n play as well as a couple of sheets. Landon hasn't slept on it yet, but I am hoping this will work for him otherwise he'll wind up in bed with us... Landon slept on that hard mattress the pack n play comes with for the first 6 months of his life and he was fine. Once he got into the crib, he refused the pack n play because it's uncomfy. I was worried about doing the additional mattress when L was younger due to the SIDS risk, but he is well past that now, the mattress is only 3" thick, and it's pretty firm.
* Bring some favorite toys from home for the hotel room. We're bringing Landon's push walker, and a few of his other smallish favorite toys for the room. We don't plan on spending too much time there, but he needs something to do when we're in there.
* Make sure you baby proof the hotel room as best as you can. I read somewhere to use painter's tape to put curtain cords up high which is brilliant, and to Lysol spray the carpet. We're lucky that Landon can't open doors yet, so no worries about those as long as they're closed tight. He can reach the knobs, but he hasn't figured out how to open them yet. We also plan on just putting any choking hazards, the remote, etc up high where he can't reach them. I'm sure I'm missing stuff and will figure it out when I see the room.
* A portable high chair. I don't know how much we will use it, but I like having something to sit Landon in for any food he might eat in the room before we go out for a meal. We have a Totseat and we've used it several times. It's so easy and convenient, and it takes up almost no space.
* Bring extra clothes, PJs, sheets, diapers, wipes, etc. You never know how much you will need and it's better to pack too much than not enough.
* Bring garbage bags for dirty clothes. I always do this and we use them as hampers. Once I get home all I have to do is empty the bags into the washing machine. I always overpack, so I'll forget what's clean and what's dirty if I don't do this. I also like keeping the dirty stuff away from the clean stuff when I pack to go back home.
Seasoned travelers, am I missing anything? What are your travel tips?