Me loving to travel is an understatement. When I found out I was pregnant one of my biggest fears was that he wouldn’t be a good traveler. I prayed consistently that little man would travel well. For the most part he’s pretty easy going. We do fight getting him in the car seat occasionally but other than that he goes with the flow.
My best advice would be to not have high expectations of your kid cooperating with your plans. Travel is exhausting, naps and meal times will get messed up and it will not always be smooth sailing. I say this not to discourage you from traveling with your kid/s but to just be prepared for anything.
We fly Southwest A LOT! I love them because you can check up to two bags for free. I still manage to pack my stuff with the little mans stuff in a carry-on size suitcase but we do check it. I then only have to carry little man and a diaper bag.
How do I manage this? I plan ahead. We use cloth diapers at home but when we travel I avoid the hassle and use disposables. About 2 weeks before a trip I make a chart of how many days we will be gone and mark down how many diapers we go through each day. I then add about 3 to each day. I take a whole package of wipes. I pack all the diapers in the bottom of my suitcase between the rails of the pull handle. When we used formula I did the same with that and packed accordingly. When I pack clothes I use the “packing cube” method. I pack all of my stuff in a large cube and a small cube and all of little mans stuff in a medium cube. So far this system works for us. When his clothes get bigger I assume he will need a larger cube. It’s easy to overpack baby clothes. As a general rule for a 7 day trip I pack an outfit a day plus 3 extra shirts and an extra pair of pants or shorts. As far as toiletries I pack sample sizes of diaper rash cream and baby shampoo. I always pack a digital thermometer and baby Tylenol just in case.
A few miscellaneous items that I pack are a travel dish rack and brush. Sample size of dish soap. Small laundry soap and stain treatment. A nightlight. A travel power strip. Binder clips and clothes pins.
In the diaper bag I pack my trusted fold out changing pad with diapers and wipes. I love it because I can just grab it and it’s stocked with everything I need. I also pack my Boba Air carrier, a small packing cube with an outfit for little man, small cooler for snacks, a couple toys, 2 bottles or a sippy cup and water bottle and my wallet and sunglasses along with some small miscellaneous items like tissues, bib and spoon and our iPad mini. I prefer a backpack so that I can evenly distribute weight and not hurt my back.
We have rarely traveled with a stroller because the Boba carrier has worked perfectly but as little man gets less little a stroller will be inevitable. Our Chico Liteway Plus is great for airline travel and is light and compact enough to take up minimal space in a hotel room and rental car.
I have flown with a car seat and it’s fine. A bit of a hassle, but fine. I have also rented a car seat with our car rental. To me it was worth the extra cost to not have to haul a car seat through multiple airports but there is the “ick” factor and most car seats are probably not up to your personal expectations. For convenience sake it worked for us.
As I said before don’t have high expectations that your child will cooperate with everything you want to do. We are usually adventurous and enjoy snorkeling, zip lining, hiking, etc. but with little man we opt for walking tours, beach days and historical lessons. As he gets older we will be able to do more and that’s okay with us. Parenting is about making sacrifices and loving your child no matter what. Offer grace to your child when they misbehave on your family vacation and offer grace to yourself for getting a little bent out of shape when you have to leave a theme park early because your kid is exhausted and over stimulated. Relax and enjoy your travels as a family and cherish every moment. They won’t stay little forever.
If you have questions about other aspects of travel such as road trips, meal planning, cruising with a baby, or any brand specifics that I use, etc. I have lots of information. Also, if you want specifics on what I actually pack for myself I can do a post on that as well. Please don’t hesitate to ask anything.