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Summer Travel Tips | With Kids

One of our most beloved things to do as a family is travel. This mama has a gypsy’s soul – I love to meet new people, eat new foods and see the way other people live their lives all over the world. Thats one thing that drew me to my husband. He is always up for an adventure whether it’s a day exploring southern California through fresh eyes or booking a train ticket out of here on a whim. We take 2-3 vacations a year as a family- and a few more with his extended family. So I think I have learned a thing or two traveling with two tiny humans in tow- I asked on instagram what you all wanted to know and that’s what I am going to touch on in this post. . I could break this up into a whole series… and depending on your feed back I just might have to.

So here is a little of everything that we have learned.

1. When to book your airfare? 

Statistic show on average that the lowest airfare is  60 days prior to departure. HOW stressful does that sound? When traveling with kids ? PRETTY HORRIFIC- yet we have NEVER had a problem getting to where we want to go using this little trick. (read more here) We also LOVE first class- BUT we never book first class seats in advance. With a family of four that would add up WAY too fast. So instead we ALWAYS arrive to the gate with PLENTY of time- to request 1st class or business – and for the cost of filling up a tank of gas x2 – we usually “luck out” and take the upgrade. This saves us LOADS of money- is it a risk… YES- is that risk worth it- HELL YES.

2. What time of day is best for traveling by air with Babies & Toddlers?

This depends on the child – but for my kiddos I love EARLY morning flights & red eyes ! The day of travel I make sure that an hour or 2 into the air would be their natural “bed time” or “nap time” That means altering their sleep 2-3 days prior to travel. It really depends where we are heading. Anything longer than 4 hours – I go out of my way to make sure they are going to be “knocked out” for a good majority of it. This means waking them on plane time. If bedtime is at 7pm – but we are taking a red eye & I want them good and sleepy I will alter that bedtime a few days before travel. This is an investment- in time & energy but happy babies on the flight get ALL vacays off to a great start. I also do their bedtime routine before we leave for the airport. This means bath, oils & jammies. Yep. My kids fly in the pajamas. Planes are cold and I have never seen a toddler take a nap if they are too cold. I also start applying my sleep blend of oils after we get past security every 20 mins until we board the plan. This is my insurance policy to have them relaxed and ready to me- lulled to sleep.

3. What happens if they wont/dont sleep?

Plan ahead. Each child has their very own roll carry on (we use these ones) I pack them with freshly charged iPads, headphones, and LOADS of healthy snacks, new small toys courtesy of the target dollar bin & activities. THIS BAG IS NOT A FREE FOR ALL. I plan for each activity to last 15-30 mins and the iPad to work for 1 hour. So I follow this game plan:

HOUR ONE: We board. I give drink & snack (this ensures if they are sleepy they will sleep) I get out one activity or one small toy.

HOUR TWO: As a reward I give them their iPad and start a movie or let them play educational games. Letting them know when they are finished if they behave I have a treat for them. Walk up and down the aisle- trip to the potty etc.

HOUR THREE: I BUST OUT THAT TREAT. REWARD REWARD REWARD. New small dollar bin toy. (Playdough, stickers, small figurines, cars trucks) Heavy praise for being SO good.

HOUR FOUR: Read a book, sing songs, bust out a coloring book and play games.

HOUR FIVE + : I repeat hours 1-4.

On longer flights I pack reward treats along with their normal snack foods. This means Candy, and I am not above it. I rarely have my children not sleep on planes – unless delays have caused all my pre planning and time prepping to go RIGHT OUT THE WINDOW.

4. Someone told me to use benadryl before takeoff for my little one. What are your thoughts?

TRUE STORY. I once was on a 5 hour flight with my husbands family & our 18 month old niece – in first class- who had been given a little beni before take off- she was a lap passenger and guess who she was sitting next too… and directly in front of myself- CHANNING TATUM. YES. THE ONE THE ONLY. Lets just say the benni didnt work out the way we had all hoped. Chan was a gem- and so very nice about our little overactive passagner but let’s just say that benadryl… had the opposite effect on her (as it does MANY children). To describe it – I would have to parallel her to drunk tiny person who had found a whole bag of coke. Yep the illicit kind. So instead of giving your child an over the counter medicine they have zero actual need for – I recommend something designed to work perfectly with your body to ease it into a natural state of calm & relaxation. That sleepy blend I mentioned above:

Here is the recipe:

  • 6 drops roman chamomile
  • 9 drops serenity
  • 5 drops lavender
  • 3 drops vetiver

Fill with fractionated coconut oil in a 5ml roller ball. SWEET DREAMS LITTLE TRAVELER.

Apply behind the ears along the jaw line & wrists every 20 mins till desired effect achieved. You can get this from me right here.

5. Babies need a TON of stuff. What do you recommend leaving at home. What do you never leave home without? 

-Yes. We pack our car seats. I know I am insane. I just DO NOT trust rental car companies. We do not check our carseats at the gate so my next tip IS KEY. We have this brand– and they have a great back pack type travel system.  We do not use our car seats on the plane. Instead we use this 5 point harness system to keep them in their seats.

-If your babe is less than 2 years. WEAR YOUR BABY. Ditch the stroller. I always check our travel stroller at the gate. You don’t need it at the airport – and our particular brand has a wonderful travel bag that includes a travel insurance of replacement should the airline damage or loose our stroller.

-We use this backpack leash to keep a handle on the walking toddler. Dont roll your eyes. I see you. Yes its a leash. BUT LET ME TELL YOU – in the airport it is GOLD.

-Dont pack Diapers for the whole trip. Did I just tell you not to pack diapers? KINDA. I only pack what I would need for a one day outting + 5 extra. Unless you are visiting a third world country. YOU can PURCHASE them when you arrive at your destination. This saves a TON of space in your luggage.

-Dont pack your pack & play- hotels are usually very accommodating for children if you call ahead. BUT if you must – these options would be fab.

Infants | Toddlers


That just the beginning. I could go ON & ON & ON -write a book even. So Email me or DM me – If there is a tip you think I need or add- or something YOUR dying to know more about – and I will write a part TWO to this post. I hope you picked up a thing or two.

*** This post was in no way sponsored by any brands mentioned above***

Send me a note : Hello@HalleighHill.com





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