Traveling with kids is a challenge, and that’s especially true with two kids. When both are also under two years old…well, let’s just say challenging probably isn’t a strong enough word! Today Katelynn from Hampers and Hiccups is sharing her tips and tricks for making traveling with 2 under 2 just a little bit easier!
When I was pregnant with our second baby, my husband and I were considering taking a trip over to Wales, UK to see my aunt and her family before Sweet Girl turns 2. This would put us in the air with 2 under 2 for, oh, about a million hours. It’s a long trip from our home in Saskatchewan to their doorstep in Wrexham.
While we were still chewing this over, my father-in-law brought up the idea of taking the entire family down to Maricopa, Arizona. The timeline was the same as our dream trip! All these conversations were taking place before we even had a second baby, but I was sure we’d be able to do some traveling with a rambunctious toddler and a 6-month-old. So, we agreed to the Arizona trip and decided to save Wales for another year. When we head off, Sweet Girl will be 23 months old, and Pip 6 months old.
Now that Pip is born, and Christmas is over with, I’ve started focusing on our April trip to Maricopa. I was half-planning the whole time, but just in my head. Now I’m actually making lists. And holy moly is there lots to consider!
This will be our first real trip with kids. No more carry-on luggage only. We’ll be waiting at the baggage carousal with the rest of heavy packers.
Anyway, here’s what’s been on my mind regarding our travel with 2 under 2.
We started applying for passports for the kids (and renewing hubby’s) on December 27. Good thing, too, because it took four (yes FOUR) tries at Service Canada before the applications were sent off for final approval and production. Fingers crossed that they’re not sent back. Not sure Sweet Girl can handle another photo shoot.
Advice: start this process as soon as you consider taking a trip. Better yet, have the kids’ done when they’re a few months old to avoid the photo fight and have a passport ready to go at a moment’s notice.
We have a couple different options for getting down to the Greater Phoenix Area:
Drive 2+ hours to Regina, Sk to fly into Sky Harbour, Phoenix
- Shorter drive time
- Possibility to stay at relatives/friends before and/or after flights
- Could leave our van at a relative’s/friend’s to avoid costly airport parking fees
- Longer flight
- Bigger airports
- More expensive tickets
Drive 4+ hours to Minot, ND to fly out of Minot Airport via Allegiant and into Mesa
- Customs are done on the ground at the border
- MUCH smaller airports – less stress
- Cheaper flights
- Quicker plane ride and direct flight
- Longer drive time
- Nowhere to stay or leave our vehicle
We haven’t totally decided which route we’ll take, but we’re leaning towards Minot. A lot will depend on flight times and how they coincide with naps and feeds. Thinking of breaking it up by heading to Minot a day early to go watersliding. Not sure if it will be too much or not.
Advice: work around your kids as much as you can. Consider their personalities and what they can handle. Remember that this is all new to them and a lot will be overwhelming.
Seats for the Kids
A lot of airlines offer free travel for those under 2. However, these kids have to be on the lap of an adult. I’m pretty sure our Sweet Girl won’t go for this for 5+ hours. We’ll probably end up buying a third seat.
I’m also planning to bring A LOT of activities to keep our kiddos occupied for the duration of our travel.
Advice: call ahead to your airline to see what their policies, services and accommodations are regarding kids. You may not have to pay full price for a child’s seat. Enlist extra help if you think it’s necessary.
Oh. My. GOD! I am NOT looking forward to this. Our trip is 2 months away and I’ve already started the master packing list. We’ll probably end up taking one suitcase for all our clothes and another (or 2) just for baby accessories – potty, bumbo, bedding, toys! See why we can’t just take carry ons?!
This being said, I’m a pretty efficient packer and plan to make the most out of our options. We’ll each take our personal item and carry on, stuffed to the brim with necessary travel items and a few things in the (horrific) event that our luggage is lost.
I’m still deciding if we’re going to take our stroller or rent one. The idea of it getting broken in transit is kind of stressing me out.
Advice: make the most of your luggage. Roll your clothes and tuck small things inside. Call your airline to find out exactly what is allowed. If you have access to a washing machine, cut back on the clothes.
My in-laws are renting a house for 2 weeks for this vacation and we’re invited to come whenever suits us. I haven’t booked our official dates yet (waiting until the passports are in my hands!), but we’re looking at right after Easter for 4 days or so.
If you’re not familiar with the area, Maricopa is pretty much the most boring city you will ever find. It’s basically a massive retirement home with a couple golf courses. I’ve been brainstorming and researching fun things to see and do in the surrounding areas while we’re there.
Which means we’ll be renting a car. While a van would be ideal, it costs 2-3x as much as a little car. So, we’re going to have to figure out how to get all our luggage into a little sedan. This will be a true test to my efficiency!
Other than a mode of transportation, I’m also considering renting baby items to make things easier. There are a few different companies in the Phoenix area that rent out items like play pens, cribs, high chairs, strollers and car seats.
Advice: Do what makes your life easier, even if it costs a few more bucks. Remember this is to be a relaxing occasion!
To Cloth Diaper or Not
I’m about 99% sure that we’ll continue as usual with our cloth diaper routing. Since we’ll be staying in a house, I’ll have the ability to wash, so that’s a non-issue. Once I know our flights and travel details, I’ll be able to better plan how this is going to look. The downside is it adds a lot of bulk to our packing! I’m actually pretty excited about being able to sun the diapers in the winter, though!
Advice: again, do what makes your life easier! Honestly, disposables would just stress me out (and cost more money).
Meals, Nursing and Snacks
Luckily, my father-in-law is offering to do the cooking when we’re down there. This is pretty great for me – nice break. However, with a 6-month-old, I’m expecting to be in the early days of him learning to eat. With Sweet Girl, we practiced Baby-Led Weaning, and plan to do the same with Pip. This means a bit of fore-thought and planning on my part, especially during the travel phase. It also means warding off comments and interference from family members not familiar with the process.
I’m planning to take LOTS of snacks. Even more than I think we’ll need. Sweet Girl loves to eat, and you never know when you’ll be stuck on a plane for delays.
Advice: Check with your airline to see what is permitted in carry-on luggage in terms of food goods.
Right now, I’m back down to pumping once a day. Once Pip is eating food and cuts out his 10:30pm feed, I plan to go back to twice/day. I’m really undecided on if I’m going to pump while we’re away or not. I’m most concerned about transporting frozen breast milk back home. However, I don’t want my supply to go down if I quit pumping for 5 days (or more) while we’re away.
Advice: talk to your airline to see what the regulations and accommodations are for frozen breastmilk. Take a hand pump vs electric to cut down on luggage and add versatility.
As you can see, there’s a lot to think about when traveling with kids! It’s not just a case of throwing a few sets of clothes in a duffel bag and heading out. This will be a nice test to see if Wales is a practical idea for next year. Wish us luck on our first adventure traveling with 2 under 2!
I’m Katelynn, an (almost) 27 year old stay-at-home-mama to 2 precious miracles – Sweet Girl (20 months) + Pip (3 months), as well as our fur baby – a Blue Heeler x Great Pyrenese, Silver. I’m married to my best friend & love of my life (how cliché, right?). Together, we live on a very special yard, close to the family farm and my husband’s home “town” of about 25 people. We’re part of that community, as well as the one I grew up in (300 people), about 10 miles from home. I enjoy a simpler way of life – getting back to nature, reusing + recycling, gardening + preserving. My hobbies are sewing, dirtbiking, reading, spending time at the lake cabin, hunting and watching my kids learn and grow. Come visit me at Hampers and Hiccups and on Pinterest and Twitter!