Mommy Matters: Traveling with a Toddler

Lately, Jet and I have been so caught up in the busy-ness of everyday life.. that we just coasted through the months on a very strict/automated schedule. Everyday became like clockwork to us!

There were days where I would daydream wishing we could take a vacation! However, Jet and I weren’t able to make any advance plans since my 2nd pregnancy was top priority… and my OB-GYNE had not given us the “go” signal yet.

Anyway, after having my congenital anomaly scan (CAS) done,  my OB-GYNE cleared me and my pregnancy for land travel during my prenatal check-up in October! BUT that’s not all… imagine our excitement when my parents suddenly invited us to go join them on an out of town road-trip to Baguio, one of the best vacation destinations in the Philippines! EXCITEMENT LEVEL 1000! (no, I’m not kidding, this was the first time I realized I was going to have a breath of fresh air in quite a while). WHAT A BLESSING INDEED!

So here comes the hard part… trying to pack extra-light for my little family HAHAHA

reality check: It is actually quite a challenge to pack light when you have a toddler with you. Especially if you like your kid/s looking clean and kept all the time. (If you don’t mind though… you’ll be fine hahaha)

Here are 5 of my top concerns for traveling with a toddler. I have included the ideal solution and the pack light solution, which is how I compromised with my “obsessive compulsive” OC-self: (YES.. the struggle is real for OC moms like me)

  • THE NEED FOR “HEALTHY” & “ALLERGY-FREE” FOOD 

Jet and I try to keep Janella on a very strict allergen-free healthy diet. Up to now, she only takes food which has very little salt, ZERO sugar, and ZERO msg. It really is a big big concern for us since we don’t want her to have an allergy attack while away from home, nor develop any bad food preferences. So imagine how much we had to compromise on this trip!

The ideal solution: Bring your own portable stove/ Arrange for a stove to be part of your accommodation’s amenities, Bring your own pre-cooked food (frozen)/ do the groceries at your destination and cook for your baby. – also be ready to bring your own utensils and baby bowls if you’re almost packing 1/4 of your kitchen.

My pack light solution: Compromise at every restaurant you dine in. You can always request for a “baby light” option – tell them what you don’t want in the dish. Believe it or not, they will even thank you since you pay full price for a dish but you tell them to take out most of what makes the dish “delicious”.

Further explained in an example: For this 5 day trip, this is a list of the food items she ate (we alternated these menu items throughout the trip). I will detail the original menu item in purple and the “baby light” version in pink.

1. Beef Congee topped with Mixed Wantons and Sesame Oil TO Beef Congee with Less Salt, No MSG, Wantons on the Side (i ate them), No Sesame Oil

2. Beef Bolognese in Tomato Sauce topped with Parmesan Cheese TO Beef Bolognese in Diluted/Watered Down Tomato Sauce without Parmesan Cheese

3. Chicken Arroz Caldo TO Pumpkin Arroz Caldo

4. Beef and Broccoli in Oyster Sauce (paired with rice) TO Beef Stir-fry (with very minimal oil) in Garlic with Steamed Broccoli (paired with rice). 

5. Complete Omelet from the Buffet Station (Eggs, Ham, Cheese, Tomatoes, Onions, Mushrooms, Bell Peppers) TO Sautéed Mushrooms, Tomatoes, and Onions (as a side dish).

  • THE NEED FOR “EMERGENCY MEDICINE”

Next to making sure she has allergy-free food readily available is the need to have emergency medicine in the event my baby needs it while on vacation. Have you ever wondered what you would do if you’re in a foreign or remote place but you’re at a loss for medication when you need it? It’s a horror story waiting to happen!

The ideal solution: bring all the medicine you have at home.

My pack light solution: at most, bring only five top essential medication she may need. Make sure they’re also just enough for your trip (don’t bring the big medicine bottles if you will only be a few days!) Note that the list of medication varies from a case to case basis. Our emergency kit contains the ff: allergy medicine, asthma medicine and her nebulizer (we have a very compact Omron nebulizer), fever medicine, and cold medicine.

  • THE DIRTY/MESSY/UNKEPT LOOK

I really do not like it when my child isn’t dressed well/prepared for the weather. I also especially do not like it if my child looks dirty or messy throughout the day. – and this happens often since I allow her to feed herself, run around, and explore on her own. But the truth is…. children will always get dirty… and that doesn’t mean it will harm them, it’s just a fact we moms have to accept HAHA plus the extra bulk is also extra hassle.

The ideal solution: allocate one whole suitcase (or more, depending on the duration of your trip) per child. HAHA – this way, you can bring their whole cabinet with you.

My pack light solution: Allocate space in your suitcase for your child/ share luggage space with your child. (or have one suitcase for multiple children) AND only bring, at most, one extra per type of clothing per day.

Further explained in an example: These are all the items I brought for my daughter for the whole 5 day trip (the list includes the outfit she wore in transit too!):

Five complete day outfits (one per day), Five complete extra outfits (one extra per day), Three undershirts (just in case I needed to layer pieces of clothing if the weather got too cold), Two jackets/cover-ups (we went to a cold place so we needed jackets to keep her warm. One extra was enough), One pair of shoes, Five pairs of socks (Two of which we didn’t even use HAHA), Five sets of Pajamas (We had one extra for the whole trip. If my daughter soiled her pjs for one night, I know it’s not ideal but she could always use the clean ones from the night before).

And for the non clothing items: Ten pieces of “lampins” (very thin pieces of cloth used to wipe drool/also used as burp cloths), Ten bibs (yes, we had two per day… my daughter is a messy eater HAHA), Two Blankets, One bath towel, and One pack of Pampers XL Dry Pants (we just dumped this into the luggage compartment of our vehicle, I didn’t bother packing this into the suitcase).

  • THE NEED FOR A STROLLER

Honestly, neither my husband nor I have the muscle to carry our 11kg daughter all day… so we really need a stroller. The convenience of having one is just amazing! And honestly? I have a favorite stroller… I absolutely love the Chicco Urban I personally chose and bought – not only is it so fashionable to push around, it also has awesome multi-functions, and is very very well built! BUT it really is too bulky to bring along anywhere… Luckily, her Lala (grandmom) and KingKong (granddad) have spoiled her (actually, I really I think it’s me… cause i’m the one who benefits the most from the additional strollers) with additional McLaren strollers – they’re smaller, lighter, compact strollers which can be folded down/packed away very quickly!

The ideal solution: To bring the stroller which gives the most comfort for mom & baby. – It is also a plus if your fashionable stroller matches all your outfits for the trip AND makes everything Pinterest and Instagram worthy.

My pack light solution: Bring the stroller which gives maximum convenience for EVERYONE. It’s hard enough that you’ll be lugging around a lot of luggage… so try and help yourself (and your back/husband’s back) by compromising on the bulkiness of the stroller. What’s really important is that the baby can sleep in it – and that means you won’t have to carry your child too often.

  • THE NEED FOR A BABY TUB

I’m putting this down here since it was one of my top concerns when I brought Janella out of town for a weekend when she was just 2 months old. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to bathe her properly. (plus I’m really particular about the cleanliness of hotels)

The ideal solution: Bring a baby tub. But i urge you never to bring the basin-like baby tub… a foldable or inflatable one is at least a little more convenient.

My pack light solution/s (depending on age of baby):

– If your baby is unable to support his/her head on her own, you don’t even need a tub… they’ll be small enough that you can still carry your baby in your arms and ask your husband to help you bathe him/her.

– If your baby is in between milestones wherein they are a bit too heavy to carry in one arm but they can sit on their own but not stand yet, you can bring a foldable or inflatable bath tub just to help give you more control and convenience. Inflatable bath tubs are the most convenient since they pack really small into your suitcase! (you can also use those really small inflatable pools if you can’t find a baby tub)

– If your baby can stand on their own already, bathe them normally in the shower or tub! 🙂

So there you have it! How I coped with my top concerns regarding traveling with a toddler! (I’ll be sharing some photos from our trip soon! I’ll link it to this post as soon as it’s up!)

Anyway, it may be easier said than done.. but honestly… packing light is really worth it. I look forward to our next trips as a family. 🙂 I would love to hear how you bring all the baby stuff with you on your trips! comment below or send me an email if you’d like to chat! 🙂

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