I became a parent in April 2020—so for the first chapter of my life as a new mom, I didn’t go anywhere with my daughter Simone besides lots of neighborhood walks. 18 months later, we welcomed our son Julius to the world. For the beginning of his life, I was just trying to make it through each day. Being a new parent is hard.
Slowly, I’ve felt better and more like myself. I’ve always been someone who loves to travel, and one of my resolutions this year has been to embrace adventure. Sometimes that’s meant leaving our kids with my parents and having a couple’s weekend away (highly recommend) or asking my partner to adjust his schedule so I can have a little bit of me-time (also wonderful). But traveling, adventuring, and exploring is also a value I want to instill in our kids. I want them to make memories, get outside their comfort zones, and soak up new experiences in new places. I want to start a tradition of family adventures.
I’m idealistic but I’m not ignorant. I know it’s expensive to travel. I know that figuring out schedules and logistics for even a small trip can be a momentous task when you have little kids. Sometimes an adventure can be be…to a new playground in a neighboring town or neighborhood. Sometimes it might be across an ocean. Either way, here are some ways I’ve found to make the process a little more manageable.
Keep Up the Touchstones of your Routine
Traveling can be tiring and disorienting for anyone, especially kids. You won’t have an identical rhythm to your usual run-of-show at home, but try to hold onto some of the fundamentals—keep meals and sleep as consistent as possible. This feels surprisingly grounding. My two little ones and I usually start the day with milk (for them) and coffee (for me) and cuddles. We end it with reading books and singing songs before bedtime. We kept this up when we shared a beach house with friends last month. The days were a little wild, and it felt good to bookend them with our usual time for connection.
Tire them Out
It might feel easier to carry your baby in a carrier and push your toddlers in a stroller, but make sure you give your kids ample time to play, stretch, and move. (You’ll thank me when they sleep soundly.) If your baby isn’t walking yet, bring a play mat so they can roll and groove. If your kids are on the move, look up local parks and playgrounds ahead of time. You might make new friends—so might they—and it’s a fun way to explore a new town. Beaches and all kinds of nature are great destinations for this reason—they’re the earth’s playgrounds.
Have the Right Gear
Being prepared with the right essentials for getting around is crucial. The best travel strollers are lightweight, more compact, and often easier to close than your everyday stroller. Spot-on picks include the Summer 3DLite ST Stroller or the Summer 3Dmini Convenience Stroller. They’re affordable and easy to fold up and leave in your trunk or stash overhead on a plane. But you’re not sacrificing anything—the comfy seat and plenty of storage underneath makes them ideal for all kinds of explorations.
My VIP for adventure has been the Summer 3Dlite Wagon Convenience Stroller. Even though we’ve had it for some time, my kids still feel like using the wagon is a treat. It means we’re going on an adventure! The removable sun canopy and zip-out mosquito nets keep Simone and Julius comfy all summer, and the storage basket, plus a cup and cell phone holder for parents, makes it easy for me and my hubby to feel organized and prepared on our journeys.
Bring Snacks—and Supplies
I try to pack light when I fly—you can always buy diapers, wipes, snacks, and even clothes at your destination. But when we’re driving or walking, I load up on snacks, toys, books, and anything I can think of to ensure peace and nourishment. Our current favorites include this Baby Einstein Amazing Animals book, Nature's Bakery Fig Bars, and endless stickers.
Check your Expectations
I learned the hard way that traveling with little kids isn’t restful or relaxing. It’s serious work! You’re parenting in a new place, without the comforts of home. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. I try to savor the moments of laughter, fun, and even awe, like my daughter’s full-body glee while jumping in the waves for the first time this summer. And when they sleep, I sip a glass of wine and remember they’re not going to be little forever.