Traveling With Kids for the Holiday Season This Year

traveling with kids holiday

Traveling with kids during the holiday season can frankly be straight out of a dramedy movie. And I know, I fly with my kids often and solo. I once flew from New York to Hawaii with my oldest son when he was a high-energy 2-year-old. I let him eat packs of sugar because that is what he wanted to do. And I get it, allowing your wild toddler to eat sugar in a contained space isn’t the smartest parental move. At the time, I placed my threshold to cope on an hourly basis. And as the stewardess commented, “you have to do what works for you.” Bless that stewardess and the red wine she offered me.

Now I travel with two kids, and I have gotten very good with hacks and products that make the process more manageable. And even with these genius short-cuts, things still don’t always go to plan. A few months back I flew with my two boys, and as soon as we were out of the car and heading to the airport kiosk, my toddler did the collapse. We all know the toddler collapse. Isn’t it a wondrous thing? They just let their body go, drop to the floor, and they seem to gain twenty pounds in weight when you try to pick them up. I tried to open up my sleek new lightweight stroller, so we could glide through the airport in an organized manner. Still, my boy looked at me from the floor of the airport with a look that said “No way, lady, not on my watch.”

Fortunately, I had a hack for his meltdown. It’s called an iPad. With videos, I downloaded the night before (just in case the airport Wi-Fi was iffy) we averted our first crisis. And this my friends is a hack.

Hacks, whether big or small, usually work, which is the beauty of using them. Especially when traveling, and you have little control over long lines and delayed flights. Here are a few tried and true hacks that will hopefully help you as you navigate travel this holiday season.

For more travel tips from the pros, check out Ask Sally: Traveling With Your Young Kids & How Not to Hit the Skids!

car seat traveling with kids holiday

Traveling Car Seat

If you are planning to rent a car, then a car seat is a must. Carrying a car seat, especially for a toddler, can be rough since most are heavy and burdensome. We recently tested the Way B Pico Travel Car Seat which weighs about eight pounds and is surprisingly durable. The Pico works as a forward-facing portable car seat and can be installed with the latch in all modern cars or an airplane belt. It can be stored in the Pico Travel Backpack Bag, which can be purchased separately and makes for easy carrying.

I will admit it took about 45 minutes to install it the first time, about 30 minutes longer than most tutorials. Still, once we got going on our trip, this car seat was a game-changer, it fits snugly and securely.

The seat is recommended for ages 2 and up, for kids 22-50 lbs and 30-45 inches tall.

booster seat traveling with kids holiday

Travel Booster Seat for Big Kids

The Graco Turbo GO Folding Backless Booster is about four pounds and folds into a compact square, making it quite portable. It can easily be carried in a large shopper bag or your child’s backpack. The large red hooks help to keep the seat belt in place. Recommended for ages 4 to 10, or 40 to 100 pounds.

We initially bought this for summer travel and have continued using it for taxis and train journeys since.

Maclaren Volo traveling with kids holiday

Lightweight Travel Stroller

The reason most of us like to forgo traveling with a stroller is our everyday city strollers are bulky, and lugging heavy gear through an airport or on a train sucks. This is why investing in a travel stroller is one of the best hacks you can do for yourself when it comes to traveling with young kids. You can stroll all the way to the gate and check it in for free. Help a restless baby or toddler to nap by walking around a terminal and actually have a nice meal while exploring the town while your little one naps.

One favorite is The Maclaren Volo. This stroller weighs just over 10 pounds and works for ages 6 months and up (to 55 lbs), making it easy to carry around. It only has a single-seat position, but we love the sun canopy extends, and the four-wheel suspension makes it feel sturdier than most travel strollers. If you’re looking for a stroller that seats a newborn, we recommend the Maclaren Quest stroller. It’s around $100 more than the Volo and weighs four pounds more, but it is sturdy. 

For the always on the go traveling family, we recommend the Gb Pockit Compact Stroller. Weighing in at just under 10 pounds, it has a one-hand pushing and steering, overhead canopy, and padded handlebars. Most importantly, it has a two-step fold and can fit into the overhead baggage storage or be carried in a large tote bag.

 

painters tape traveling with kids holiday

Painters Tape

If you are planning to stay at a hotel, Airbnb, or with the in-laws, then pack painter’s tape! A cheap child-proof tool that doesn’t leave any sticky residue, it is perfect when you have young children. Tape over outlets, oven knobs and shut dresser drawers. You can even outline a space to show which area your kids are allowed to play in. This magical tape will help in keeping order in a space you do not own.

Bribery

This hack throws all parent’s rules and values out the door, but it tends to work. It is for the kid who causes total chaos on a plane or train when traveling. Go to the dollar store or get some inexpensive toys at Target and negotiate. For every hour they are quiet, they get an award. These gifts do not have to be grand: think sticker books, a new coloring book, or go big and get than that L.O.L. Surprise! Fluffy or Fuzzy Pets they have been begging for. It was in a desperate attempt to stop getting the side-eye from fellow passengers that a seasoned parent kindly suggested this tactic. Duh, who doesn’t want gifts when traveling?!

Easy On-the-Spot Hacks

  • Use diapers for instant baby proofing.
  • If you’re traveling with a crawling baby or mobile toddler cover sharp edges of chairs and furniture with clean diapers. Wrap around the edges or use them as a cushion.
  • Keep Ziploc bags in your bag.
  • Keep a large Ziploc bag or two for any sort of stinky diapers or drenched clothes emergencies. We have even kept the electronics in a bag while changing planes as you just never know when a sippy cup or bottle is going to leak over everything.
  • If you’re flying or taking the train, bring quiet toys. Noise-canceling headphones for kids (or parents), soft toys to play with, even a deck of cards — your fellow travel neighbors will appreciate your efforts to keep noise to a minimum.

Relevant Directory Listings

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Speakitaly NYC

<p>SPEAKITALY NYC offers stimulating and entertaining lessons for children 0 to 16 years through a wide combination of activities based on the communicative approach anchored in the Common European Framework of Reference: active learning (group work, role plays, etc.) and practice exercises aimed to improve listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. Kids will start speaking and using Italian in a very natural way.  Small classes capped at 6 students to make sure each one gets the needed attention and facilitate learners' progress. </p> <p>Our method is driven by a didactic method that is the result of constant updates, professional certifications and more than 10 years of experience in working with non-native speakers from different native languages and levels of knowledge.</p> <p>Our aim is to develop a range of Italian language skills while improving accuracy that will enable the students and participants to interact without stress or feeling rushed. We want to help those in the community really embrace not only the true culture in Italy but the Italian culture within New York City… Who doesn’t love what Italy represents in the kitchen, in history & in the arts?</p> <p>Speakitaly wants to support multilingual families who want to learn a new language or pass along their ancestor’s heritage and culture. Raffaella, the founder said: "We see language awareness and intercultural sensitivity as the milestones for an inclusive society. Italian, like all other languages, is an enrichment and a growth in every way. Vi aspettiamo!"</p>

Brooklyn Music School

<p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-position: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">For over a century, we at The Brooklyn Music School have strived to make the joy of music, dance and performance accessible to everyone no matter their age, background, or financial status.</span></p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-position: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">In addition to offering affordable in-person and online private and group music lessons, dance classes, after-school programs, and community outreach, we also provide space for </span></p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-position: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Brooklyn and NYC artists to perform in our 250-seat Spanish-style theatre. Come by for a night of live music, or join us for a class!</span></p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-position: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"> </span></p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.38; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant-ligatures: normal; font-variant-caps: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; font-variant-position: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Visit BrooklynMusicSchool.org to learn more, register for classes, or view our calendar for upcoming events. </span></p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-4b378613-7fff-f89d-3c88-fe6beaabeb55"></span></p>

Treehouse Shakers

<div>Treehouse Shakers’ Branching OUT After-School program is for ages 12-14. This awarded program is for young people who identify as LGBTQIA+, or are seeking to become better allies. Branching OUT centers on discovering and exploring one’s story and identity through an intentionally artist-led format. During our community-based program, young people will explore and reflect on their own story to create a larger, more meaningful experience, while gaining self-empowerment and gathering with like-minded peers. Through the guidance of our awarded teaching artists, young people will create narratives that will be turned into podcasts, dances, songs or poetry. </div> <div> </div> <div>Young people have the opportunity to learn new art forms, work with professional artists, while building a meaningful community.</div>