Surviving packing, airplanes, beach naps + so much more…
I’ve always received a ton of questions about travelling with my kids from tips & tricks, to hotel recommendations, the works! I want to compile it all here for you so that we have a place to come back to!!
Let’s start with…
I am a serial overpacker so it was only natural for me to be the same with the kids. Having said that, I use one large suitcase for both of their stuff. Since we were travelling to Florida, I knew I didn’t have to go overboard with bringing diapers/wipes because I had every intention of buying there! I packed their swimsuits, clothing, shoes, water shoes, life jacketsx2, sunscreen, sun hats, one sleeve of diapers, a few packs of wipes, water diapers (which I didn’t end up using- we let Ava go commando lol) and a ziplock bag of toys for them to play with at the condo/hotel. I also brought along my ezpz mini-mat which was a lifesaver at restaurants + at the condo!
I was super overwhelmed when it came to a double stroller for our vaca. We decided to bring our Valco Snap Ultra Duo (and not purchase an umbrella double) and it was a great decision. Not only did we save $300 but the stroller both forward/rear faces, I could bring it (& check it) right to the gate and both seats fully reclined which came in handy for nap time and late dinners!
We always rent a car in Florida. When Ava was two months old, we flew with her infant car seat + base and brought along her stroller (and an umbrella for Bray) and we rented a car seat for Brayden. This time around, we rented both car seats through the rental company (+ my hubby installed) when we picked up the car! Always call to book this ahead of time- they will always say they can’t guarantee but we have never had any issues (thankfully)!
I packed the kids two ziplock bags full of toys from the Dollarstore + playdough, snacks and colouring books to keep them entertained. Brayden has an iPad (which he doesn’t use unless we travel) SO needless to say, when he wasn’t sleeping on the plane, he was glued to watching his fave TV shows. So if you are bringing an iPad for your toddler, I definitely recommend you purchase their fave TV shows/movies so that they can watch on the plane/in the hotel/out for dinner- no WIFI needed! He also has toddler head phones which control the sound, which we love (picked them up at Shoppers)!
As for Ava, to be honest, the only thing that distracted her was snacks. She wasn’t interested in the toys, play dough, iPad- nothing! She wanted to eat her food and when she wasn’t eating she wanted to MOVE. I was thankful to have my parents on the flight so the change of scenery for her, helped keep her distracted. If its just you + your significant other flying, play musical chairs with your babe or take them for a walk up and down the aisle. Cuz if they’re anything like Ava, no ziplock bag of treats will help- unless they’re filled with Puffs;)
Best advice- try not to let them sleep at the airport so that they can get some shut-eye on the plane! We sat on the plane for 2 hours before we left Toronto on the way to Florida (they both fell asleep as we sat on the plane) which made the 3 hour flight feel SO long. On the way home, they slept 2.5/3 hours- which was BEAUTIFUL! You win some, you lose some!
One of our fave vacation spots. We have been going since Brayden was 11 months. We had always stayed in Clearwater (mainly because I was terrified of Zika) and because we fell in love with it there. We always stay in hotels with kitchenettes- super important to us with small kids as we want to be able to prepare some meals for them. We stayed at the Wyndham Grand and it was absolutely amazing- loved everything about our stay (including the fact that the room came with a laundry room)! We recently stayed in Hollywood Beach, Florida for 2 weeks and we LOVED it. Hollywood Beach is so so great. Family friendly, so much to do, so much to eat- the perfect spot in Florida. The condo/hotel we stayed at was called Costa Hollywood Beach Resort & we had a love/hate relationship with it. The grounds were beautiful, had a stunning (but super slippery) pool area (which was super dangerous for the kids- therefore you could never really relax by the pool) but they had great service, delicious food & great music. Our condo was nice with a full kitchen except the cleaning service wasn’t that great… everyone needed to wear shoes in the condo or else your feet would be black. Having said that, it was a new hotel that was going through growing pains. It was beautiful, $0 resort fees, came with two free beach chairs, right on the water… just a few things were off during our 2 week stay!
THINGS TO NOTE: every hotel we have stayed at provided cribs/play pens which is a must especially with two kids. Brayden slept with us + Ava in the playpen. I bring my own crib sheets, etc. One thing that super sucks is that there is obviously no high-chair which was hard because trying to feed a one year old on your lap is exhausting.
Travelling with two kids is not easy but it is so so worth it! Try to take the pressure off of you + hubby and don’t stress too much about schedule/naps (easier said then done)! For us, stroller naps were glorious. Ava would sleep by the ocean in her stroller and it gave me some down-time. If we got super lucky, both kids would fall asleep in the stroller for an afternoon nap… and that was a real treat. And if you can, travel with grandparents- they are the best babysitters EVER!
Let me know if you have ANY questions- I am an open book & am happy to help <3