Friday, June 25, 2010

traveling with children

Luca, Alain and I (Andre on the way) on vacation.

Although we don't get to do it as often as we would like, travel is one of our favorite things to do. Alain and I enjoy seeing and experiencing new things and we want to instill that same passion for travel in our children. Traveling smoothly with small children does require some effort. Here, a list of ideas we have implemented on short, domestic trips and long, international trips.

Child-friendly Destination: We define a child-friendly destination as a country or location that has easy access to medical care AND is child-friendly. A perfect example overseas is Italy, where children are welcome at nice restaurants and shops and no one bats an eye if they are fussy or if you have a special request for them - "Could you bring his pasta in a small bowl, with the sauce on the side, but make sure it has no green stuff in it?" "Sure thing, Signora! In the mean time, here is a kitty made from pizza dough that our cook just made for him." Spain and most of Latin America are the same way.

Carry-on: We pack everything in 2 carry-on suitcases and 2 small backpacks. By using only carry-on, we avoid luggage check-in and pick-up lines and eliminate the possibility that the luggage will be stolen or delayed. While backpacks are not very fashionable, they allow us to carry a considerable amount of stuff while leaving our hands free- one to pull a suitcase, one to carry a child.

Ship Supplies: Carrying enough diapers for two children on a 2-week trip could take up an entire suitcase. When the boys were a little younger, we carried enough diapers, baby food and formula for the journey to our destination. The rest we bought upon arrival. Since not all the products you are used to are available in other countries, you can order your must-haves from and they'll ship them ahead to almost anywhere in the world.

Child Seats: If you are renting a car at your destination, you can also rent a car seat. No need to bring one along with you.

Entertainment: a portable DVD with movies the kids have not yet seen, new coloring books and reading books, new iphone apps and some small crafts will keep them entertained and reasonably quiet. These things take up precious space but are well worth it!

Are you going on a trip this summer?


  1. Thanks for this post. We are considering a trip to Mexico this summer and I think you just helped me make a decision to try it out!

  2. This year we are going to Vegas... Without the kids! It's our first time travelling without them so we'll miss them but I'm sure it will be a nice break.

  3. Okay, we're booking our next trip to Italy :) Great tips for travelling with tots..I like the idea of taking only what you need until you get to your destination.

  4. You have such a lovely blog. Glad I found it.


  5. Thank you, Michele! I am glad you found it also.

  6. Shipping ahead is such a great idea.

  7. Yes! My mom was telling me about how they had to carry huge canisters of formula and cloth diapers and it was kind of a pain.

  8. Thanks for the tips! We will probably travel with our little ones this year for the first time, so this will definitely help us!

  9. After 3 months traveling around the U.S. with our 5 month old (who's now 8 months at the end of our trip, five flights later, two more to go!) I'd add investing in a good, small stroller that travels well... we brought our Bugaboo, and while it was great to have during our extended stays, it's been a hassle lugging it around airports and worrying about it being damaged.

    We're going to Spain for a week in October, and based on this experience I plan on buying a smaller umbrella stroller for the trip.

    Also I'd add that it's worthwhile to check what the airlines offer-- travelling internationally on Continental for example, we were given special seats with extra legroom and a bassinet that clipped to the bulkhead-- all for free, just because we asked.