5 Success Strategies for Traveling with Babies and Children

5 Success Strategies for Traveling with Babies and Children

We made it! Disney World – check!

A family vacation takes everyone out of their usual routine and into the world of adventure. It can create some of life’s most cherished memories if enough thought goes into the preparation. In the months and weeks before the trip, parents’ emotions can run the gamut: busily excited—> stressed out—> panicky. For formerly-carefree new parents, particularly if airports are involved, the once-straightforward tasks of booking, packing and boarding suddenly require the precision of a military mobilization.

We’ve polled our Textile Travel clients who are avid travelers as well as parents, and have done some digging of our own into the world of travel gear for babies and kids. OMG, the crazy advice and useless products available are comparable to the silliness sold to innocent homebound Mommies and Daddies – arrgh!

However, some of the books, accessories and travel toys we reviewed make sense; here’s a roundup of 5 essential Success Strategies for prepping the kiddies for a travel adventure:

1. Anticipation

Elmo Passport Holder

Baby Elmo Passport holder is cute and practical.

It’s estimated that 50% of the satisfaction families derive from travel comes from anticipating the upcoming trip and building a ‘must see/must do’ list. Kids will pick up on the excitement in the air when Mom and Dad gather the guidebooks, phone their travel agent and start trolling websites for background info.

Depending on your child’s age and travel experience, it’s a good idea to involve them as much as possible in travel planning. The Disney World Hannukah trip you spring on them as a surprise can prove overwhelming if kids don’t have enough time to assimilate the fact that they’re going. They might have a happier trip if they can mull over their options before you head to your destination.

Get the excitement started early by establishing a ‘travel central’ spot in your home. It can be a box or large suitcase for family members to add prospective travel gear: favorite toys, lucky hats, brochures – whatever. Gift your child with a cute document holder like the Baby Elmo passport pouch. Your little guy can use it collect theme park cards, coupons and other documentary stuff, or you can actually store his passport and other essential records in it. Of course these are also available with Mouse branding.


2. Familiarization

Prepare your child for their first flight! Photo: Amazon.com

For kids who haven’t flown before, there are many excellent books about airports and flying that can allay their inevitable anxiety.

Some parents have found it helpful to visit the airport a few weeks before travel to let their child experience the bustle of the terminal and watch some planes taking off and landing. This can work if you live close to the airport and can spare the time. If not, bear in mind that the airport scene, the plane’s strange interior, and the sensations of flying are new to your child, and can be both exhilarating and scary. Lots of reassurance will be needed on arrival and throughout the flight experience. Emphasis on the novelty and fun of flying will help calm both the kids and yourselves.


3. Duplication

Once the realization hits that on travel, your baby’s needs will be pretty much the same as they are at home, you’ll start casting about for ways to cope. The cloth diapers and bibs, custom-designed food bowl and monogrammed potty will probably make way for disposables, just for sanity’s sake. You’ll search out lightweight blankets, kid travel pillows and a car seat that converts to a stroller and can whistle a lullaby (haven’t found that yet).

Welcome to the world of doll luggage and portable potty chairs. We’ve created a collection of maybe-baby items for our parent travelers; you are welcome to browse through it.

Items such as this “On-the-Go” bottle warmer can be handy: it uses a heat cell to warm a bottle or some baby food, without batteries or plugs. One downside: the gadget needs to be boiled in water to re-activate; good for the start of a trip or if you’ve booked an apartment or villa rental.


4. Speculation

Families planning a trip generally spend considerable hours researching their destination(s), planning an itinerary and booking event tickets and restaurant reservations, preferably with the help of a knowledgeable travel agent. (Unbeknownst to many, using the services of an experienced travel agent usually results in a more serene travel experience for a lower total cost).

One important point an agent will bring up is contingency planning, especially if you’re traveling with kids. Both first aid skills and insurance for possible emergencies are essential components of smart travel planning. What could happen? Ask the folks on the overturned cruise ship or those caught in the Iceland volcano drama….not to deter you from traveling, but the real world requires real strategies and forethought.


5. Fortification

Two words: Toys, Food.

Toys means make sure they’re packed for EACH & EVERY family member: from Mom’s needlework bag (hoping the country you’re traveling to is cool about knitting needles), to Dad’s GPS, the teens’ iPads and iPods, the little kids’ Travel PlayDough, to the baby’s headphones.

Food means pack the squeezable peanut butter – it’s just logic. She’s not going to eat fois gras or periwinkles if she won’t do it at home. As much as you’d like adventurous eating to be part of the foreign-travel experience, unrealistic expectations will make everyone miserable. Think of adventurous eating as testing out 10 different types of Japanese candy.

Breastfeeding Mom + Pashmina or handmade shawl = the ultimate portable travel food source. But for everyone else, it’s a good idea to pack familiar snacks in the lunchbox-sized packets, to bring a taste of home on the road.

Enjoy your kids while they’re young, bring the baby on the Provence wine trip – you won’t regret it. Just prepare intelligently, savor each day and fill many memory cards with photos the grandparents will cherish.

What’s your favorite travel strategy that’s been a success for your family? Comments are welcome—

See our Baby & Child Travel Resource page for more ideas.

Kaffe Fassett’s long-awaited autobiography is here!

Kaffe Fassett’s long-awaited autobiography is here!

Kaffe Fassett Autobiography

Textile guru Kaffe Fassett’s new book: Dreaming in Color: An Autobiography is now available- congratulations!

Follow this brilliant designer from his California boyhood and early exposure to a world of art and creativity, to his present home in London where his color and design genius reached its current height.

Kaffe Fassett has designed in many fiber media, notably knitwear (as principal designer for Rowan) and quilt work (also for Rowan). He is the first living textile artist to mount a one-person show at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Author of over 15 books, he has countless patterns, textile articles, lectures and appearances to his credit.
Buy the book here.




Kaffe Fassett’s Website


Irish Crochet Lace Artist Máire Treanor visits New England, Summer 2012

Touring in Ireland and France this spring on a ‘lace quest’, I met many talented lacemakers and historians, none more knowledgeable than Máire Treanor of Clones, County Monaghan.

Máire Treanor has been instrumental in preserving the traditional patterns of Irish Crochet Lace, particularly Clones Lace.  Steeped in the traditions of home-based industry, Clones was a center of Irish Crochet lace production from post-Famine times in the 1840’s, through its heyday in the Victorian period and beyond. Clones Lace has a distinctive caché and a versatility that has allowed it to endure and evolve into its vibrant, modern form of the present day.

Máire Treanor has not only collected samples of original Clones lace and traditional patterns, she teaches and demonstrates stitches and techniques of the craft that might otherwise be lost. Máire is a frequent contributor to to publications on lace and crochet, and is the author of the book, Clones Lace: The Story and Patterns of an Irish Crochet, comprising a fascinating history of Clones Lace augmented by personal anecdotes and instructional material.

I’m delighted that Máire will be visiting New England on her 2012 teaching and book tour of the U.S. this summer. Events on her East Coast schedule include:

Saturday, July 28, 2012
WEBS, Northampton MA: Book signing and demonstration, 1:00 – 3:00 PM. Free.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012
West Dennis Library, West Dennis MA: Book signing, Presentation, Reception, 12:30 – 1:30 – Free event but tickets are required: Get free tickets here.

Hands-on Workshop for Crocheters 2:00 – 5:00 PM. $70. Seating is limited.
Register here for the West Dennis Library Workshop.

Thursday, August 2, 2012
Sage Yarn, Falmouth MA: Workshop 1:00 – 4:00 PM. $65.
Register for this event.
Book signing & Reception, 5:00 – 7:00 PM. Free.

Contact us at Textile Travel with any questions, or if you need to book accommodation on the Cape for the above events.

Lace and More in Normandy

Though the quaint Normandy town of Bayeux is famous for its Tapestry (really an embroidery) depicting William the Conqueror’s 1066 victory over the English, the town is remarkable for other reasons, including a wonderful open-air market and regional specialties such as Calvados and hard cider:

                                                                                                                                                                                        But for fiber lovers, the still-vibrant tradition of lace-making is reason enough to visit Bayeux. Read more about it on our travel blog, Rovings and Yarns!

Plimouth Plantation creates new line of yarn

On November 10, 2011, Plimoth Plantation will introduce its new line of 100% wool yarn. “New Plimoth Worsted” will be custom spun in the village of Harrisville, New Hampshire by Harrisville Designs. The new line will be introduced at the Plantation’s Winter-into-Spring Farmers’ Market, and will feature a lecture at 3:00 P.M. by John Colony, owner of Harrisville Designs. The public is invited.
Press release about the event is here.

The yarn’s unique color palette was created by the Historic English Clothing and Textiles staff at Plimouth Plantation, matching colors produced by using natural dyestuffs of the 17th century.

Plimoth Plantation’s “New Plimoth Worsted” is available exclusively in Plimoth Plantation retail shops and on Plimoth.org.

Read more about it here.