The Secret to Stressless Travel with Little Kids (in a handy infographic!)
“It’s been a year now and only now am I resurfacing a bit”, her eyes bulged and she was still holding my shoulders. “First you think- wow this isn’t that bad, but then when you hit six months it’s pure horror. Horror, I tell you!” I was at a dress-up party, dressed as pregnant Phoebe from Friends. Not pregnant with twins but sporting a fine bump nonetheless and I was talking to someone I barely knew and had just told her what the age gap was going to be between our two little ones. She had two girls, also eighteen months apart. No need to say I was quite literally… shook up.
How am I going to get out of the house with two kids?
When we announced that we were expecting a second baby, everyone – I repeat everyone, was in some way or another impressed with the eighteen month age gap. “It’ll be nice for them later, but those first years are going to be terrible”. Luckily B. stayed calm and reassuring, I however – had serious doubts about how I was going to pull off being a mommy to two babies under two. I was already having trouble getting out of the house with just Elliot! How was I going to do that with two little ones? Looking back on it, there were definitely moments of stress, even horror but in general we love the small age gap and things like getting out of the house went just fine.
Traveling with kids decision maker
I have to admit, I always take some time to analyse the situation before I decide which is the best way to travel. These are the options I always consider with two little ones:
The mommy ride
I talked about getting a mommy car in a previous post. I thought long and hard about getting rid of my smaller, sporty car and looking back on it it really should have been a no-brainer. My back always hurt after getting the kids in their car seats because my car was so low. The car I have now isn't the sexiest way to make an entrance but it's a little higher and it has really been a life changer for my back. Also, the kids kan look out the window which they could barely do in my lower car. Moreover it's spacious enough to stock some toys, a carrier, diaper necessities and a blanket without making it feel cramped.
The mommy bike
I also took forever to decide on a bike. I wasn't really keen on a cargo bike because it seemed to feel safer to have both kids close to me. I wanted an electric bike because knew I wouldn't use it as much otherwise and eventually decided on a Sparta Amazon Electric and I'm in love with it. I had two Yepp seats installed and have big bags to pack away kids necessities, school bags and groceries. It's a "mothers bike", yes this is a thing! This means it has a few interesting features. For example, it has a double kickstand which allows me to comfortably put the children in their seats and even run in to get something. It's safe and sturdy, comparable to the kickstand on a motorcycle. It also has a longer frame so that I still have lots of leg space despite Amelia's seat being attached to the steering wheel. I can also lock the steering wheel so it stands fixed and the wheel doesn't fall to one side because of Amelia's weight when the bike is parked. The kids absolutely love going out on the bike and it makes a great start of a weekday!
Do we really need a double stroller?
We thought a lot about getting a double stroller but ended up getting a buggy board for our Dubatti stroller instead and never looked back. However, I have to stress that at 18 months, when Amelia was born, Elliot was a very good walker and also quite good on his scooter. When he got tired he could stand on the buggy board. It isn't the most comfortable but for shorter walks it's just fine. If I noticed Elliot was the one to doze off, I put him in the stroller, and took Amelia in the carrier. For actual outings, there'd always be the two of us and we took along our basic travel stroller from Chicco for Elliot and each pushed a stroller.
Kids on public transportation
We lived in the city until right before Amelia was born and I travelled by public transport daily. I was always a little apprehensive taking the stroller though, because it's annoying to manoever through a crowd and I had to look for special routes to find the elevator in the underground. So most of the time I would take E in the carrier.
I love babywearing
Talking about carriers, ... I'll have to write a whole separate piece on them but for now I'll just say I'm such a fan of baby wearing that we have quite the collection. We have a Babylonia wrap which is perfect for a beginner because it's stretchy. It can get a bit too warm in the summertime though. We have a wrap in cotton (that doesn't stretch) from Oscha Slings, which is beautiful and not as warm. Then we also have a ring sling which is one of my all-time favorite baby items, especially when you have kids already. The sling was a lifesaver during cooking sessions and outings gone wrong. It doesn't take up much room so it's perfect to carry along in the stroller and I always take it with me in the bike to use when I get to my location. No tying, instead you just throw it over your shoulder and tighten. Finally, we have a Manduca carrier which you wear pretty much as a back pack (front or back, this is the case for all of the carriers I write about). I like to use this one on longer walks and have it in the trunk of my car to use when I have to run in a store quickly to get something.
Scooters and balance bikes
Elliot loves his scooter from Micro Step and now that Amelia's also getting the hang of it, we'll have to get her one soon too. With its two wheels in the front it's perfect for active little ones. We got it from my dad and his wife and it must be the most used gift in history! Elliot also likes to go out on his balance bike. We have a little second hand one he is pretty quick with and a bigger one from Easy rider he still has to become a little taller for first. His toes touch the ground and he's just fine with that but for mommy and daddy it makes the trips endless...
Do you have any tips for ways of traveling with little ones, I should know about? I'd love to hear about them!