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August 9, 2021

Traveling with Toddlers

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Family photographers in Maryland | Family lays down in field during their family photo session

Traveling with toddlers (plural) is no joke. Zach and I have always had a strong case of wanderlust, so we have continued to travel with kids (sans the pandemic). I have previously written posts on traveling with a baby and traveling with a toddler (singular), but traveling with multiple toddlers was a totally different ballgame.

The first obstacle to tackle was what equipment to pack. Both of our kids are in toddler carseats, so we knew we didn’t want to cart around two large carseats. We also knew we wanted to bring out stroller for the airport to get around quickly and to throw small bags in. Rosie still sleeps in an infant travel bed, and Perry sleeps in a toddler cot; we also didn’t want to bring both of these items.

This bring me to my first piece of advice:

1. Rent as much equipment as you can.

I had previously known we were able to rent car seats from the rental car company but didn’t feel confident that 1) they would be able to guarantee availability, and 2) they would be clean. We had rented a car seat from the rental car company when Perry was a baby, but that was one infant carseat. But traveling with toddlers means multiple toddler car seats…

A friend told me about a company called BabyQuip that employs moms who rent out their gear to traveling families. Truly, this was a game changer. There is an immaculate cleaning policy, and you are in contact with the provider who you will get the equipment from before the trip. We ended up renting both car seats and an infant travel bed. The mom met us at the rental car company with everything – it was super easy, personable, and convenient! I seriously cannot recommend renting gear enough.

Traveling with Toddlers | Little boy kisses his mother's cheek by the azaleas at Brookside Gardens in Silver Spring

2. Pack strategically for the airplane/car ride when traveling with toddlers.

Because we traveled fairly light, we each had a small carry-on bag full of goodies for the airplane. 18 months – 2 years is probably the toughest age to travel. Little ones at this age are capable of moving around and simply don’t want to sit for very long. We knew we would definitely need to keep Rosie entertained for long periods of time.

This is what we packed:

1. Snacks. A LOT of snacks.

We packed so many snacks. Apple sauce(s), Belvita bars, crackers, yogurt pouches, etc. We knew we had to keep both kids full for an extended period of time.

2. Stickers.

Stickers were also a big hit. I had a small journal that I ripped paper from that the kids used to place stickers on. It occupied their attention for an extended time which is key. They’re also super easy to pack since they don’t take up very much space.

3. Books.

We packed a lot of books. Board books, early reader books, coloring books. Both kids were occupied with books for a good period of time.

4. Suction toys.

We already owned some small suction toys that were perfect for the airplane window and wall. They are small, so they don’t take up much space, which is key.

Traveling with Toddlers | Family photographer in Washington, D.C.

3. Plan for periods of rest and recharge throughout the day.

Some people are amazing with keeping their kids on schedule when they travel. We are not. We were visiting family, so we had to plan around their work schedules. Since the kids were up much later than they normally are, we just ensured they had multiple opportunities to rest and nap throughout the day – often in the car. Obviously car naps are not ideal, but any opportunity to sleep is key for recharging little ones while traveling.

4. Download shows on your device for the plane or car ride.

The phone was brought out during take-off at one point with Rosie because she was already squirmy for having to stay seated. I had downloaded a show on my phone for her, so this was a life-saver until we were in the air and able to be a little more flexible. I find downloaded shows key for when you are around a lot of people and don’t have much movability, or you need to get somewhere fast. This trick came in handy when we were in Italy with Perry and finally boarded a delayed train.

Traveling with toddlers is not for the faint of heart. But in all seriousness, it’s truly not that bad if you plan adequately and give yourself a lot of grace.

Cherry blossom family session in DC

Marie Elizabeth Photography

Marie Elizabeth Photography specializes in fine art Maternity, Newborn, and Family Photography based out of Washington, D.C. She also serves the areas of Arlington, Alexandria, McLean, Falls Church, Vienna, Bethesda, Potomac, Chevy Chase, Kensington, Silver Spring, College Park, and Riverdale Park. 

It is always an honor to serve as your Washington, DC Family Photographer. I provide a custom, luxurious experience to lead you every step of the way, beginning with a planning guide to make you feel confident and prepared, a consultation to achieve your portrait goals, a client wardrobe, hair and make-up artists, and finally, artwork to adorn your walls and preserve your memories forever. Let me be a part of your story today.

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