Ask any mom with a baby -- traveling means bringing the whole house. The same goes for model and blogger mom Kelly Misa. She has brought her nearly 2-year-old son Tristan everywhere including a cruise and a tour of Europe. Despite the challenges, Kelly, her son, and her husband, Carlos Fernandez, are fearless because they also often travel with "baby barangay," as they call it.
Kelly, together with her friends Patty Laurel-Filart (who also shared her travel tips here), Nicole Hernandez-de los Angeles, Cat Juan-Ledesma, Bianca Santiago-Reinoso and their families often go on beach trips together, and it is not for the faint of heart.
"Oh, my God. It’s usually very chaotic. With the husbands and all the kids and the yayas, it can be daunting," Kelly told SmartParenting.com.ph after she gave a talk for Belo Baby, the magazine's partner for the "Smart Parenting Baby Shower" in Crown Plaza Galleria.
However, Kelly says traveling with young kids is doable. "In the beginning, it’s really hard. But... I think experience is the best teacher," Kelly said.
Here, Kelly offer tips for moms who plan to travel in big groups.
1. Plan, plan, plan.
"It involves a long and meticulous chatroom [conversation] for us moms," the mom of one said, especially if it involves a plane ride. If you can drive to the destination, each family brings their car to meet up at the venue.
2. Learn from your mistakes.
Past experiences have taught Kelly and her friends how to avoid bringing two of everything. For example, only two families will bring bath tubs and then all the kids just share.
3. Accept that traveling light is relative when you're a mom.
As long as you're bringing a baby, you can't escape a lot of luggage. "'Pag less than a year [old], ang dami talaga. You have to bring your whole house. There’s no way around it," Kelly said. Her list of what to bring when she first traveled with Tristan is long, she admits.
4. Breastfeeding lightens the load.
"You need less when you breastfeed, which works for me. Until now, I breastfeed Tristan, and he’s almost two years old. That’s really my secret to traveling with him," she shared. It makes sense: she doesn't need to bring bottles or the sterilizer because she does direct latching.
5. Don't be afraid to break the rules.
No parent wants their child to throw a fit en route to your destination. So what do you do to entertain a toddler or calm a fussy baby? "You become a clown," Kelly says with a laugh. "You bring toys or activities. You find ways to entertain your child."
And when all else fails, you bring out your last defense. "Bring out your iPad or phones and [let him watch] his favorite video. I know some moms don’t approve, but when in desperate need talaga and you’re on the plane, and you don’t want your child to cry, sometimes you need to break the rules."
6. Husbands, make yourself useful!
Kelly is lucky that her husband is more meticulous than her, but she reminds dads to do their share. "Do the heavy lifting and handle the bags. If they can master the folding and unfolding of the stroller, putting the things in the diaper bag, then that would perfect. Also, the carrier, if he can carry the baby, oh my gosh! That’s like a hundred points," she said.
“Don’t pressure yourself too much to make it a perfect vacation because, to be honest, it won’t be," Kelly reminds parents. Be flexible and learn to adjust. She suggests working around your baby's sleeping and eating schedules. If you have to go to museums, just spend half the day there so that it won't be so boring for your baby. "Then, for the rest of the day, spend time in a park or zoo, a place where your child can enjoy. And take pictures, of course!” Kelly advises.
This story originally appeared on Smartparenting.com.ph.
* Minor edits have been made by the Femalenetwork.com editors.