Monday, August 4, 2014

traveling abroad with children

i've been asked by many to share my favorite parts of our itinerary and i will gladly post about the entire trip. we went to london, paris, then down to two locations in the south of france (a small hamlet called les martins near gordes and then antibes.) to see a recap of our trip check out my instagram and the hashtag #antoniastravelogue.

the biggest advice i could give anyone is to surrender. just allow yourself to fully be present during the plane ride, during the jet lag, during the times of transition in the day. i'm the kind of person who wants to do five things in one day and it just isn't possible with children. surrender was huge for me. i am home with no regrets. someone asked me what i would do differently on this trip and there was really only one thing i wish i hadn't missed. so happy to be home with no regrets!

my list of must bring items is short. maybe it would be longer if i were going somewhere besides europe like africa but you can readily purchase anything you need for children there.

plane ride:

for both....

lots and lots of snacks (and make sure you save some of your child's favorite snacks for any car rides you might have during your trip - i wish i had brought more of their familiar favorites)

both of my daughters love the magna doodle - as ugly as it is, it has saved my toddler from many a meltdown. 

they both love to draw so i brought a pencil case filled with colored pencils and toddler friendly crayons as well as blank note pads.

they also loved this eeboo scratch paper and this djeco memory game

for the 5 1/2 year old...

elodie carried her own backpack which was so lovely. we stashed all of her little art supplies and books inside and loved being in charge of it.

i brought yarn for finger knitting and also the rainbow loom. she is obsessed with making bracelets. so is every other french child and we were able to find more along the way.

a few chapter books and a richard scarry busy town book in french/english. she still loves richard scarry!

she loves this costume sticker book. this is her second copy.

the only time elodie is allowed to have my phone is on the plane. mainly she watched tv. when she was bored of that she watched episodes of little bear and a few audiobooks (she loved listening to brave!) for apps, she loved cookie doodle and cake doodle.

for the 1 1/2 year old...

finger puppets (they also have cute ones at ikea)

stickers were a life saver. she stuck them on anything and everything.

i let her watch the tv without headphones. she didn't seem too interested anyway.

long walks down the aisles. a lot of them.

her favorite books (big red barn, good night gorilla, good night moon)

at the hotel:

i brought a travel crib. i borrowed the baby bjorn one from my friend and we love it. i figured sleep would already be challenging enough and wanted francesca to have a familiar sheet, blanket, and stuffy.

the genius thing about the baby bjorn travel crib is that there is enough room to pack the inglesina portable high chair. waking up and having somewhere to place francesca while we prepared breakfast (and all the meals actually) was so much more relaxing than having her on our lap for a month!

we use a noise machine at home but used our ambiance app instead.

to stroller or not to stroller?

we brought our maclaren stroller on a few paris outings but then finally ditched it. i'm glad we brought it as it acted more as a sherpa at the airport and train stations but i am a baby wearer and the ergobaby was a lifesaver. i took the sheepskin lining off of this one and had a lovely lightweight carrier which was great on the 90+ degree days.

car seats?

after much debate, we brought a booster for elodie and rented one there for francesca instead of lugging her big one around. there were a few taxi rides in london (and one in paris) but other than that we were on public transportation. this was a tough one for me and requires a lot of careful consideration based on your itinerary.


we had to pack for cooler days in london and paris and really hot weather in the south of france. i only brought one light neutral sweater and one light jacket for each of the girls as well as one pair of closed toed shoes and two pairs of sandals each. wearing your heavy outfit on the plane definitely saves room!

somewhere along the way i acquired a flight 001 travelpak and love it for organizing the smaller items such as bathing suits, socks, and underthings.

the one space hog that i brought (and left behind at the pool) was a pair of puddle jumpers for francesca. i didn't want to have to worry about finding the right one. i'm glad i did!

and really, that's it! one of the best surprises to come out of traveling for a month with the children is that life at home feels so much easier. i know this might seem obvious but i feel like i'm more willing to take them places i typically might talk myself out of before this trip.


i loved joy's post and courtney's post on traveling with kids. both very informative.


  1. I agree with you with the "surrender" part. The way I see it is: You may, or may not, suffer during the flight, but in the big scheme of things, it's just a few hours in your entire life. Last year my almost 3 year old and I went to Spain for just five days (dad stayed home). The flights went great, she behaved like a champ, but I think it was also a mix of "whatever happens, happens" attitude and a lot of picturing how the whole trip was going to happen and explaining it to her.
    The car seat is a whole different thing. I've done both, bring it and not. It just depends. And I've also carried my giant Uppa Vista twice on a plane (never again) and the McLaren. I am a fan of always bringing a small stroller. You get off the plane, the baby goes in it and you can cruise the aisles faster. Plus you can put your stuff in it too. It's worth it, even if you don't use it at your destination.

  2. Some great tips for my upcoming Aussie trip with my two under two!

  3. These are great tips!! We're in the middle of a two and a half week road and train trip with our 3 and 6 year olds. Different set of challenges, but many of these activities would work great.

    Thank you for linking to my post on Finger Knitting. I'm glad it was helpful for your trip!!

  4. Great tips. I don't think the magna doodle is "ugly.' I think it's one of the best toys out there and who cares if it's plastic