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Travelling with kids over the holidays doesn’t have to be stressful! Here are some things that I’ve found that make trips easier, whether you’re staying close to home or heading out of town.
1. Portable baby monitor. Whether you’re at home or visiting friends or family, it’s great to be able to keep an eye on your napping baby or playing children. Monitors have come a long way since we were little – look for one with a video screen so you can see what your kids are up to, with speakers so you can talk to your child as well as hear them! This is great for children playing, so if you notice them doing something not so safe or nice, you can let them know you can see them while you’re on your way to intervene.
My personal favorite is the Baby Touch Digital Video Monitor by Summer Infant. I particularly like this monitor because everything can be used without a plug if necessary. You can scan the room with the touch screen, talk to your child, and (my favorite) you can have up to four yes four monitors hooked up at once to cover multiple rooms.
2. Play yard. This is a great way to keep a child safe and secure in homes that are not childproof. If you are helping get food prepared or your baby is tired of being in everyone’s arms, you know you can put them down in a safe place. Make sure you bring along favorite toys in your diaper bag to throw in the play yard.
This is also a great solution for safe naps – with the combination of a monitor and play yard, you won’t ever get stuck without a place to lay your baby down for a nap. Make sure the play yard is empty before you lay the baby down!
You want to look for a play yard that has an easy fold and one that fits easily back into its travel bag. My personal favorite is the Aprica Haven Open Air Playard. It has two height adjustments so it can grow with your baby, and it folds up and fits into the travel bag as easily as you could hope for.
3. If you have a very new one, a travel bouncer may be an even better solution for you than a play yard. You may want the baby to nap in the same room and put them down in a more cushy place. Newborns love to feel secure, so putting them in something that cradles them is wonderful, especially after a day full of new places and faces.
You want to make sure you find a bouncer that can collapse for easier transport (a travel bag is a plus), and has different seating positions for awake and sleep. A vibration setting is also great for helping sooth a baby to sleep in a new environment. One that I recommend is the CoCo Go made by Bloom. It collapses, has adjustable seating, vibration and comes with a travel bag. Pair it with their universal snug, and you have a very cozy place for baby to sit or sleep.
4. Bring along a good travel high chair. Babies like to feel like they’re right in the middle of things, and doing the juggling act of eating with a baby in your lap isn’t going to help you enjoy a holiday meal. A travel high chair is the perfect solution – it lets you relax and enjoy your meal, and lets your baby see everything that’s going on.
I’m not a big fan of the high chairs that clip onto the table – holiday tables are full of things that little hands will want to grab! I’ve found that the high chairs that attach to a regular chair are a great option. Babies do love to throw themselves around though – so if you can get a spot where the chair will be close to a wall, you have to worry less about the whole chair falling over in the moment you’re reaching for the gravy!
Another option, if you prefer, is a slim, collapsible full-on high chair. These aren’t great if you’re travelling by plane, but if you’re visiting around locally, they can be just the right thing. It’s great to have a spare high chair around anyway, to store in the closet for friends with babies visiting you!! My favorite for that would be the Nano by Bloom. It has a slim collapse and includes a tray.
5. Last but not least, don’t forget a nice big diaper bag! With everything you’re carrying around when you travel, a big, open diaper bag is a must. I recently discovered a great local company, Foxy Vida, that make beautiful, roomy diaper bags. The bags have waterproof interior linings, and most of them are machine washable. As you know, I’m all about adding style to convenience, so it doesn’t hurt that their patterns are gorgeous!
Now this may seem like a lot of things to travel with but having piece of mind and a little less crazy is worth it. I love things that make it more fun for everyone. So have fun, don’t stress, and enjoy your vacation, big or small!!!