“Mama, I’m hungry”, said my daughter 5 minutes after we took off for our winter family vacation. We had to drive for about 10 hours so we had a big breakfast before leaving but as you know, kids get hungry as soon as you step out of the house.
Traveling with little ones can feel overwhelming, you have to pack all the right clothes with extra changes – all the layers you need to keep them warm, bring their favorite toys, make sure you have enough diapers (if your kiddo is still using them), bring the right snacks and try not to forget all you will possibly need during your trip. Plus, you need to pack snacks that are nutritious and mess free, that your little one will eat and that they can eat without needing to be refrigerated, like Ella’s Kitchen Nibbly Fingers – Mango and Carrot.
One of our favorite on-the-go snacks are the ones from Ella’s Kitchen because they offer a unique variety of clean recipes and foods that are USDA organic with no concentrates, no artificial ingredients, no preservatives and no added sugars In fact, their juice boxes have the lowest amount of sugar I’ve ever seen in a juice box. That’s why I am so excited to partner with Ella’s Kitchen for this post and to bring you my top 5 tips for traveling with little kids during winter.
I used to stress before every trip because I was worried about forgetting something important but after traveling a lot with my family I have come up with a system that makes prepping for a trip a lot less stressful. I even created a checklist for when you’re traveling with your toddler. You can download this free printable towards the end of this post.
These tips along with the checklist makes for a vacation a lot more enjoyable!
5 Travel Hacks For a Stress-Free Winter Trip With Your Toddler
Bring healthy snacks
When you’re traveling your eating habits change. Many times you end up eating foods you don’t usually eat because you have to eat at a restaurant or are staying with someone that eats different than you do. As an adult, it’s easy to go with the flow, but the little ones tend to be pickier and don’t just eat anything. Plus their little bodies are still growing and so susceptible to what they eat. That’s why I make it a priority to bring snacks that they’re familiar with, that are organic and without loads of sugar.
I love Ella’s Kitchen snacks, meals and drinks because they use USDA certified organic ingredients, they’re free of artificial ingredients, preservatives, added sugars and don’t use concentrates. Plus, they offer a wide range of flavors, from savory meals to fruity treats. Check out their entire product line for babies and toddlers here.
My go-to snacks are their Textured Meals (food pouches) and their Nibbly Fingers, which are little bars. My kids love both and what I love about them is that the Textured Meals are a life saver when we go out to eat and the toddler doesn’t want to try any of the foods we’re eating. They are filling and tasty!
They introduce your baby (6 months or older) to more textures and flavors along with meats and protein. The Textured Meals come in resealable pouches in 6 different flavors: Chicken Casserole, Beef Medley, Four Bean Feast, Vegetable Bake and Cheesy Potatoes.
The Nibbly Fingers are individually wrapped little bars so I love to packs these in my kids’ lunch box. It keeps their lunch box light but with a tasty treat!
They come in 3 tasty flavors: Bananas & Raisins, Apples & Strawberries, and Mangoes & Carrots. They’re made with organic fruits and veggies, without added sugar or salt and these are also free of concentrates, additives, artificial colors and preservatives.
They’re the perfect size for toddlers and preschoolers. This is one of the few snacks that they eat entirely.
Pack everyone’s clothes using packing cubes
It took me a long time to realize how much easier it is to travel when you use packing cubes. My only regret is not using them sooner!
I have several sets of 3 packing cubes, they come with a small, medium and large packing cube. I use a medium packing cube for each kiddo and in it I can put all the clothes they’re going to need during the trip. I usually have a pile of pants, shirts, undershirts and pajamas. I use an extra packing cube for their sweaters, scarfs, mittens and hats.
When I get to our final destination I keep their clothes inside the packing cubes and just grab the outfits as we need them. It makes it so easy to stay organized and it’s also helpful to keep the clothes separated since we have 2 girls close in age but in different sizes.
I also use the smaller packing cubes to pack their body wash, shampoo and conditioner, nail clippers, thermometer (just in case they get sick), toothbrushes, toothpaste and whatever other items we need for our trip.
Bring toys: new and their favorite ones
A great way to keeps the kids busy is by bringing several new toys to open during the trip, whether you’re flying or driving. The toys don’t have to be anything expensive, they can be simple things like coloring books, magnetic tins, puzzles and play dough.
For our recent trip I bought silly putty and it kept my kids entertained for almost the entire flight! The good thing about bringing new toys is that they will keep them busy at your final destination too.
I also let my kids, 2 and 5 years old, pick a few of their favorite toys to bring for the trip. We got them little backpacks and they take whatever toys they can fit in the backpack. I always double check to make sure they’re not taking more than necessary and that their backpack is not heavy.
The backpack is useful when we get to our final destination to carry extra spare clothes, snacks and other things we might need while on vacation.
Download kid movies and TV shows on your tablet BEFORE you leave
If there’s one thing that is true is that when it comes to kids is that you never know what’s going to happen. We bring lots of toys and items to keep them busy every time we travel by car or airplane. However, there are times when the kids don’t want to play and get antsy, especially when it’s a long trip. This is when the tablet has been a life saver!
Most tablets are set up so the little ones can stream at home so it’s very easy to forget to download your kid’s favorite movies and TV shows before leaving. Make sure you download them a few days before your trip since it might take a while to download everything. I usually download 3-4 movies and about 3 episodes of 3-4 of their favorite cartoons so my kids can choose what they want to watch.
Put your table on airplane mode and test it out. You’ll find out if you need to download some games and if the movies and TV shows downloaded properly.
I have used the tablets for every trip we’ve made because there always comes a time when the kids want to move around and they can’t, especially if you’re flying. The movies will keep them busy for quite a while!
Pack a lot of layers, more than you think you’ll need, and use vacuum bags
Spending the winter months at home is a lot easier than traveling during winter months because you have access to all the clothes and layers you need. You also probably go from the car to the house or store and can get away with using a coat.
When you’re on vacation you might end up going out more than usual or being in weather you’re not used to. We recently traveled up north and had to deal with a lot more snow than what we’re used to.
The key to having a stress-free winter trip is bringing plenty of layers for your kid. This way you can put on as many layers or as little layers as they’ll need depending on your destination.
Make sure you bring warm undergarments, leggings, thicker pants – like fleece pants, long sleeve shirts, sweaters, winter coats, several pairs of gloves, scarves and hats. Make sure you check the weather before leaving and pack a snow suit if necessary.
Since winter clothes are so bulky, it is very easy to end up with a huge luggage. Get travel vacuum bags and pack your thicker clothes, like coats and snow suits, in them. You’ll be able to suck the air out and your clothes will be a lot smaller, saving you lots of space in your suitcase.
Download this free travel checklist
If you plan on traveling soon with your toddler, download our winter travel checklist. It has a list of the essentials that you need on every trip along with a section to customize this list to your needs.
Click here to download it and don’t stress prepping for your trip.
I have found that having a checklist makes traveling a lot easier. Most likely you’re always needing the same things so keep this list in your kids’ closet so you can prep for your trip in no time.
Traveling with little ones can be fun! Get your system down, bring lots of healthy snacks and toys and you’ll be set. Remember that kids can feel what you feel, so don’t stress out. Make the best of any situation and enjoy your vacation, no matter what.