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24 June, 2013

Toddler Travel Tips and Tricks (and your expertise needed!)

This weekend we traveled to Nashville for a long weekend visit.  We were fortunate to see some of Eric's friend, some of my friends, and to reunite with college house mates for the wedding of one of our own.  We knew it was going to be a fast trip, especially with 4 hours of travel, an hour time difference and me having to work Sunday night.

We had some great successes with toddler travel and a hotel stay but also some epic failures.  I'd love to share with you but I also want to learn from you.


Travel at nap time -  We've learned from car trips that Evie doesn't do a 4am start or a bed time travel. Nap seems to be our best shot!

Bring a favorite toy - Evie has this LeapFrog My Discovery House that she will play with for hours. I hid it for a few days so it was like brand-new self-contained fun for easy car and hotel play.  Of course, Delany travels everywhere with us. She made for great over the seat puppet shows, too!

Bring the iPad - Emergency back up fun for the whole family :)

Pack a cooler full of bottles and healthy, easy to eat in the car snacks - Instead of diluting her bottles with water, I used ice cubes to help keep them cold! Cut up apples and NutThins were also a hit. 

Bring only what you need to survive - It's temping to bring the entire medicine cabinet, 3 packages of diapers and enough snacks to feed an army. Let's be real, any hotel or hostess will have things in event of an emergency and there are 24 stores nearly everywhere.  More stuff = more time transporting and organizing stuff.  (We also skipped the stroller this trip!)

But don't forget the speciality items - bottle soap, special shampoo, sound machine, and hard-to-find medicine stay in our travel bag for Evie

Ask for a mini-fridge in your hotel - One time this landed us a giant handicap accesible room (win!). This is great for milk, left overs, or running to the grocery for some toddler comfort snacks like blueberries.  (If you're tight on travel space, many have pack n plays too!)

Quiet entertainment -  Evie went to bed around 8 or 9 which left us in a quiet dark hotel room before we were ready to go to sleep.  We were glad to have ear phones and Netflix on the iPad.  We also hung out in the hallway a bit.

Go with the flow -  I knew that traveling with a toddler could be smooth sailing or nightmare-ish. We anticipated that there might be hiccups to our plan, and we recognized there might be game-time decisions that changed the course of our day. We prioritized things. For example, I could have forced a sleep deprived Evie to come to the wedding with us, but instead we decided that her and Eric taking naps would mean we could stay later at the reception with a well rested baby.


1.  We've learned that Evie needs plenty of play time on travel days before she'll go to sleep.  We nailed it and landed an easy bed time. However, she woke up at 1am and was screaming and/or jumping on the bed until 3:30 am. We tried everything we could think of -- diaper change, bottle, snuggle, stories, sound machine, swaying, etc.  We finally decided to give her Benadryl.  I felt terrible, but if we didn't sleep, we wouldn't enjoy the wedding the next day.

What else could we have done?   We think next time a two "room" suite might help so she can be in the next room? But that adds up.  Other thoughts?

2. For some reason Evie didn't pee very much during the day while we were gone but peed out of two diapers each night and woke up soaking wet.  We only packed one pack n play sheet, one blanket and one extra pair of jammies.  We found a washer and dryer in the hotel for $1.50 a load, but that takes 2ish hours.   I tried washing by hand and air drying but only the sheet dried in time.  Poor thing had to use a hotel towel as a blanket the second night.  (Yes, I recognize this is a first world problem)

Do you pack lots of spares?  I hate schlepping extra stuff around, but I might need to consider this a priority.  Thoughts?  

3. Home sickness. I didn't know it was possible for a 19 month old to be home sick. By the third day Evie kept crying for "home".  We brought plenty of familiar things and kept trying to distract her. We loved on her plenty and tried to keep her routine as best as possible.

Is there anything else you can really do for this?

What are some of your traveling with toddlers tips?  What are your mommy secrets to a smooth vacation?

1 comment:

  1. Suites are the best. I would definitely recommend that first next time!


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