Guest Post: Hannah Tung is a Chicago-based travel consultant who specializes in families traveling with little ones. She works closely with clients to create unique trips that are both fun and affordable! With multiple years of experience living on islands, at the base of the Alps and in urban environments, Hannah has endless first-hand experience to pull from. Having taken hundreds of flights on her own and over fifty with a baby in tow, she’s the perfect person to discuss your family travel plans with.

“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” -Anonymous

My husband and I have always loved to travel. We got engaged in Rome, honeymooned in Africa and have spent every year since then planning our next adventure. Though a funny thing happened when we announced we were pregnant with our first child. People, dear friends really, came out of the woodwork to express condolences. To encourage us to “bid adieu” to our dreams of traveling. “Hope you enjoyed your last trip abroad”, we heard. “Kiss flying goodbye. That will never happen now that you’re having kids.”

Looking back, I’m glad we chose to ignore those voices. They spoke from that All Knowing Place, when in actuality they knew nothing about family travel at all. Traveling with kids can happen and should happen. I’m happy to report that it has happened for us. And, after well over fifty flights with my three-year-old, I have a few Foolproof Tips I’d like to share to make your travels all the easier.
zip zoe pink floral

8. Accept help. While traveling with toddlers isn’t nearly as impossible as everyone says, it’s also not as easy as traveling alone. Let’s be honest: three-year-olds can be ridiculous at home, much less at 10,000 feet in the air. That said, if someone offers to help you board, get your luggage in your overhead or hold your baby while you buckle in the other; accept their offer. People would rather help than see you struggle. Enjoy it!

7. Let everything that’s important rise to the surface. This includes your carry-on. Things like  snacks and diapers should always be readily available at the top of your bag.

 toddler travel tips

6. Prepare your space. When traveling, especially when flying, I make sure to start my trip by placing myself in the most advantageous position. For example, I always wipe down our tray tables as soon as we board, so we can use them as soon as we take off. In addition, I always get out two diapers and a pack of wipes and place them in the seat pocket in front of me, ready to go when needed. Being prepared is key to enjoying your trip.

5. Eat, Drink & Be Merry! But seriously, it’s amazing what a little food and drink does to get you through your travel day. I always make sure to have plenty of healthy snacks for the ENTIRE family on hand and a re-useable water bottle that can easily be grabbed if needed. I love that the Zip & Zoe kids backpack has a place for water bottles my kids can easily get to.

4. Give your babe “freedom.” One thing I love about the Zip & Zoe mini backpacks are that they allow your little kid to feel like a big kid, while still giving you peace of mind that they’re safe. I’m not one to tie my babes down, but I do love knowing that they’re safely within reach especially in crowded places like airports and major attractions. The safety harness on the mini backpack is perfect for giving your babes the “freedom” they desire.

3. Give your kids ownership. Allowing your child to participate in planning parts of the trip, and even pack their own carry-on, will help build that excitement and invite them into the experience of travel.

I alway provide direction to my daughter when packing (e.g. make sure you have something fun to play with, a book to read and a fresh change of clothes). Then after she’s gone to bed, I look through her bag to make sure things are packed properly.

 zip zoe kids backpack

2. Build the hype. Let’s be honest, one of the best things about travel is the sheer anticipation of what’s to come. Cultivating an excitement for travel with your kids is a surefire way to make your trip more enjoyable. One way to do this is by buying little gifts and packing them away in your carry-on to be opened along the trip. It breaks up your long day of travel with a bit of excitement and gives your children something to look forward to and do.

1. Perspective. Here’s the deal, travel never goes according to plans (with or without kids). Keep the end goal in mind. When I feel I’m losing my cool because my one year old won’t stop fussing; I remember I’m on my way to Paris where the champagne is everywhere and the pastries endless. A little perspective goes a long way…in fact, some might say it’ll take you around the world.

 For more tips and tricks for traveling with tots, follow @outoftowntravel on Instagram.