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This is a sponsored post through MomSelect and Graco. I received free product and compensation in exchange for my honest opinion. #ExtendTheTrip
Fall is my favorite time of year to travel. You get to see some gorgeous colors, the temperature is just right, and there are way less crowds anywhere you may choose to go. I was a bit worried that our fall travel would have to slow down now that the Goof, my oldest, is in elementary school, but the great thing is there are plenty of extended weekends that make it so we can still travel.
Earlier this month, my family decided to use a weekend to hit the road and explore a few of our local state parks and favorite lakes. We had so much fun hiking and having picnics. It was really refreshing to get out and enjoy some time together as a family after all of the back to school chaos was over.
Today I want to share with you some tips for taking an extended weekend trip with toddlers. I thought I had every tip under my belt but then I had twins. You guys, toddler twins are crazy! You put them down on the ground and they run two different directions. Now add in other children, and you can imagine that travel can be chaotic, especially travel that is to places like state or national parks, where there are wide open spaces. So here are some tips I have for you.
- Make packing easier by packing a few days in advance, and packing either after bedtime or during nap time. Otherwise your toddler may want to help. It may end up going something like this:
- Invest in a good baby carrier. I don’t care if you are already taking a stroller, I strongly suggest investing in a good baby carrier. Especially if you are going to be hiking, hitting up a beach, or going somewhere else that a stroller would not be ideal. Toddlers may have tons of energy at home, but they still walk slow and won’t be able to walk too far on their own. We did a few hikes near Cascade and McCall, Idaho and even though the ground was pretty flat and the twins have more energy than anybody could ever need, there is no way they could have done that hike.
- Make sure everyone is comfortable in the car. Nothing is worse than a road trip and being squished in the car so tight the entire time that you are sore and cranky when you get out. Even though my twins are still rear facing in their car seats, as they are only 18 months and 22 pounds, we make sure to have comfortable seats for them to be in. The Goof also has a comfortable car seat.
- Bring lots of light layers for your little ones. While one day may have been in the upper 70’s during our trip, the next was in the 50’s. Lots of light fleece layers were perfect, and were safe to put on the kiddos inside of their car seats (never put puffy/air filled jackets on kids in their car seats).
- Keep everyone safe. For older kids, make sure they fit in their seats properly, or the seat belts fit them properly. Make sure older kids have your phone number memorized in case you get separated. Also ask older kids to be a spotter. Our twins have started playing with their chest clips in their car seat. We have given the Goof the responsibility of letting us know if they move the chest clip out of the appropriate range since he sits behind them (they face him in their seats).
- Bring lots of snacks and a picnic blanket. Usually a road trip involves a lot of driving. Be sure to bring a picnic blanket and snacks and maybe a ball or something for kids to play with. Take a little time at some rest stops to let kids eat, stretch, and get some energy out. If we don’t do this our kids get cranky about 2 hours before we arrive at our destination.
- Finally, make sure to have plenty of car entertainment. For our twins this means soft books, stuffed animals, and if all else fails, we turn on a sing a long on the tablet. Whatever it is, be sure to have some sort of entertainment for the little ones so they don’t get too cranky.
I know that travel with young children can be stressful but I feel it is so important to get them out there for multiple reasons. It teaches them how to travel. I am so grateful that my parents traveled with us a lot when we were younger. It taught us how to behave in hotels, how to enjoy new places, and more. Children can learn how to navigate airports, become comfortable with flying, and more.
Second, traveling with kids gives you time to focus on just the family. Don’t get me wrong, family outings are great, but I think sometimes parents tend to go on weekend getaways and leave the kids with grandma (nothing wrong with that BTW), and that teaches children an important lesson that parents need time to focus on each other. Traveling with kids teaches them an equally important lesson, that you are willing to put aside other things to have quality time with them.
We had so much fun on our trip to Northern Idaho and exploring the state parks and other locations along the way. I was able to relax and have fun knowing my kids were safe and comfortable in the car. I was excited that this was our maiden voyage with our new Graco Extend2Fit 3-in-1 Car Seat. The Extend2Fit seats by Graco are awesome and I love that they let my kids rear face longer (up to 50 pounds) and then keep them in a 5 point harness until 65 pounds and even in a high back booster until 100 pounds. These seats are seriously made to last a long time so you won’t have to buy seat after seat.
The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children remain rear facing until two years of age or until they reach the height and weight limit of their car seat for rear facing. So many parents tend to turn their children around though because they think they need more leg room. That is why I love the Extend2Fit car seats. They can give up to an additional 5 inches of leg room.
Check out my favorite features of the Extend2Fit 3-in-1 Car Seat in this video:
Now get out there and enjoy some fall travel with your family. Where will you be headed?