Airplane Busy Bag Must Haves + Tips on Flying Internationally with a Baby or Toddler

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A recent pic from our Portugal travel diaries. (Pena Palace,Sintra)

Me and my husband love to embrace adventure and explore new places. The idea of exploring this big beautiful world with our toddler is exciting.  Yes it takes a lot of work, time, patience and planning and no doubt it gets difficult sometimes too. But, then anything difficult has the opportunity to help you grow. I have realized after travelling to 4 countries and total of 6 destinations this year with my son,  that each trip comes with new challenges and learnings.

In this post I will be sharing all the different techniques l learned from our past travels for not just surviving but thriving with a growing toddler on our travels.

In April we travelled to Switzerland & Amsterdam for 2 weeks,(Post here with our travel pics and more tips) Our son was 10 months old at that time . His major food source was formula, he was crawling and standing with support and was understanding just a few words. This is a good age to travel as they sleeping comfortably in the stroller.

My learnings from that trip was –

  1. Always carry at least 2 days worth of formula or milk in the carryon luggage, to avoid shopping for your baby’s food in a foreign land (with packaging in foreign language) since they are chances your baggage can be delayed
  2. Try to take only red eye flights so your baby can sleep in your lap and not be awake throughout your ten hour journey
  3. Every country is not baby bathroom friendly (We faced this issue in Amsterdam). It was almost impossible to find a restroom that had a changing table in the city.

In July we travelled to Los Cabos, Mexico (Our Vacay pics are here ) for a 3 day getaway when our son was 13 months, almost walking,  drinking cow’s milk and eating real food.

My learnings from this trip was-

  1. Always carry extra food on the flight or places you visit at your destination -like bread, cheese, fruit or any other snacks, as you will run out of them especially if your kid throws everything on the floor. Be prepared if you have a picky eater at this age.
  2. Plan your day trips around the kid’s nap schedule so they can be happy when you plan to step out, since a tired kid and cranky kid can cause stress if you are miles or hours away from your hotel.

In September we travelled to Seattle for a 4 day trip, where Vir was walking, eating well and understanding many words and communicating with us.

My learnings from this trip was

  1. Even though kids are tiny and can fit in your lap easily, it is a good choice to get their own seat for more comfort. (I carried a pillow with me on the flight on which our son comfortably laid across me and my husband )
  2. Once they learn to walk, it will be hard to have them seated in a stroller for long periods of time, so be prepared to carry them in a baby/toddler carrier or in your arms half of the time when you are sightseeing or shopping.
  3. The best way to keep them excited about visiting new locations is to allow them to explore it by running around in a safe place and burn all that energy. Once they are tired they eat peacefully and want to sit in the stroller.

 Post these travels I started to plan ahead of time on what I need to do for our recent vacation to Portugal. We were now aware of all possible scenarios   – covering in flight entertainment, meal preps at destinations, planning the day trip around the toddler’s schedule, dealing with jetlag , expected crankiness  and meltdowns at public spaces etc.

However my biggest concern this time around was to handle the 14 hour journey with an extremely active and energetic 18 month toddler.  Unfortunately we didn’t get a red eye flight from Houston to Lisbon and for that reason I worked on my BUSY BAG solution to keep my little guy occupied with the least amount of screen time possible.

Below are the items I used in the busy bag that was a huge success in keeping my little one entertained.  Honestly, I was so happy my tricks worked and we had a smooth journey.  Also as expected my son didn’t sleep the entire flight, which means I had to keep him engaged for over 14 hours.

15 Dinner Ideas for You and Your DadToys

I only pack items that are small and can be sorted, stacked, or otherwise moved from place to place. My son’s favorite are his pull back Cars from My B toys  (good for play at the airport ) Finger puppets, legos , a musical remote,  wooden activity board were a huge hit too. The buckle toywas a new toy we introduced on the plane, it’s great for learning basic skills and kept Vir busy for over 15 minutes.

Books

Small board books with flaps are great to engage also try getting new books so it keeps them interested , I really like this Water coloring On the Go book

Craft Play

Play Dough is low mess and easy to pack , my son tries to eat it but he enjoys cutting it and pressing it too. You can also get felt activity books.

Games

Flashcards are fun and also cheap, easy to find at the dollar store or at Target dollar bin, I never feel sad about losing half the cards by the end of the trip). (They’re great for quizzing her on words and sounds, and making piles to stack and counting the cards as we put them back in the box (that’s a game, right?)

SNACKS

Anything bite-sized is perfect for little fingers…plus, it stretches out the snacking time twice as long. YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MANY SNACKS. I probably pack twice as many snacks as toys, because snacks double as entertainment. When it doubt, get out the snacks. I always carry the Oat bars from Happy Baby, raisins, fruit, cheerios , yogurt and for long haul flights even get homemade pasta, veggie sandwich or  veggie muffins(Recipe here)  and very importantly Horizon organic low fat milk. Always carry extra milk and yes these packs are allowed in flight in carry on luggage along with any other baby food.

Random Things like

Glow stick was very helpful to divert his attention if he was cranky and great play when it got dark on the flight. Stickers are fun to carry too.

Screen time (And yes the ace in your bag of tricks when everything fails )

Let’s face it. As much as I try to avoid giving our toddler the tablet, it’s going to happen on travel days. We expect a lot out of our little guy and we definitely push our limits of what a little body can handle, so I find that bending the rules and treating him to the Amazon Fire HD tablet and his favorite snacks is the least we can do to help ease the stress for everyone involved.

Downloads Shows  from  Amazon Prime or Netflix, Little Baby Bum, Super Simple Songs, Word Party, and Sesame Street are a few of our favorites.

Fun and educational Apps like Peekaboo Barn, PBS kids, Happy Valley Friends and Sago Mini Truck and Diggers are few of our favorites.

I completely forgot to carry headphones for my kid , so definitely going to carry them on our trips moving  forward .

Here is more information and tips on travelling with kids.

A pediatrician’s advice on caring for your child’s health while travelling

How I survived a long haul flight with a lap child

How I prepare to leave my Breastfed baby for a work trip

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Vir wanted to stand for sometime and play on his ping board in the flight

Hope this post was helpful, please do share any tricks or tips you have on travelling with kids. Please feel free to leave me your questions and I will get back to them as early as I can .

XOXO

Arushi (2)

Take Your Kid’s Style & Wardrobe To Next Level This Fall !

HUGO BOSS Time to play T shirt at 30% OFF from KidsAtelier.com

As a mom that really loves and embraces fashion, dressing up my kid is one of the things I really enjoy! Be it cute baby onesies with funny slogans, bright colored T shirts for summer or stylish formal wear for a wedding, I am always on the lookout for adorable outfits that are equally comfortable for my little guy. These days I’m really into creating Matching aka “Twinning” outfits with Vir.

Tip – Try to match bold and primary colors to Twin with your kiddo.

Since I became a mother, when it comes to splurging, I would often rather spend money on my kid than on myself. Personally, I wanted to bring my baby home from the hospital in brand new outfit. I spent a good deal of my pregnancy picking out the perfect, tiny outfit that he would come home in. It’s the one outfit I have saved and will probably give to him once he have his own kids.

Honestly, bulk of Vir’s clothes are from the mid-price range stores. I don’t believe there is any point in spending a lot of money on clothes that the kids will grow out of within a few months. But I don’t mind spending a few dollars more on dressy outfits for special occasions like birthdays, family photo sessions, holiday pictures or school pictures.

I recently came across Kids Atelier, a sleek online boutique that curates the world’s most prestigious international children’s clothing brands from classic chic to creative bohemian that has clothing for newborns, toddlers taking their first steps all the way up to the teens.  What I really like about the store is that they have a vast range of designer baby clothes and have something to satisfy everyone.

Kids Atelier allows the kids to wear designer clothing just like Mommy and Daddy with fashion and prices that adapt to each and every one.

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There are so many brands, stores, boutiques, etsy shops and ecommerce websites to shop cute clothing for kids and babies these days. All of them deliver a promise. However for any brand to be successful it is important they adhere to quality. I buy a brand because it tells me what to expect. It stands for consistency and quality.

Similar to my own wardrobe, I like to mix my son’s wardrobe with clothing from different brands and stores for special occasions, daily wear, and some really fun and quirky pieces too. I really loved the Fall/Winter 2017 lineup at Kids Atelier  and recently picked up some great outfits for Vir. The best part is you can snag some really amazing deals on these brands on their  Summer Sale items ranging from 30-60% off now.

TIP : You can also get a sneak peek on Kids Atelier upcoming promos and get 10% off your first order as you sign up here.

Check out Fall fashion inspiration for Girls. Links to shop below.

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One – Little Marc Jacobs Swan Dress / Two-  Billie Blush Pink Hooded Raincoat  / Three- Karl Lagerfeld Sweatshirt/ Four- Little Marc Jacobs Black and White Letterman Jacket/ Five – Billie Blush Pink Roses Dress

My Top picks for Boys Fashion this Fall.  Links to shop below

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One- Karl Lagerfeld Cardigan & Pants / Two- BOSS Grey combed knitted sweater  /Three- Billy Bandit Space Sweatshirt  /Four – Little Marc Jacobs Cat onesie/ Five- BOSS quilted snow suit in Navy 

I try to stay in budget by

  • Re-selling clothes Vir outgrows on our local consignment store or fb groups .
  • I looks for deals and shop online when discounts are available. You can easily get upto 30-60% off on Kids Atelier on their sale items.
  • I buy pieces that I can mix with at least 2 other items in his wardrobe.
  • I size up in shirts so they last longer. You can always roll up the sleeves.
  • I buy shorts that have built in elastic expanders so they continue to fit as Vir grows.

Please do share what are some of your favorite stores you like to shop for your kids. Do you have any rules that you follow while shopping for your kids?

Arushi (2)

Our First Summer Family Getaway to Los Cabos, Mexico



“A vacation is like love — anticipated with pleasure, experienced with discomfort, and remembered with nostalgia.”

This trip was our 14 month old son’s first official summer vacation.  Some of my favorite memories were made in this past 1 year travelling with our son. The funny incidents, the little mishaps, the closeness shared and so many other lifetime memories have been made on our getaways.

Vir started travelling in flights since he was 3 months old. His first trip was to New York, followed by India, Switzerland, and Amsterdam and recently to Mexico. Our little one has already been to 4 countries in this past year!

Travelling with a baby/toddler to any destination needs a lot of planning from packing,  scheduling flights around their nap time, flexibility of stay, meal preps at the destination and things to do with a little one. Through my past travel experiences I am constantly learning and getting more and more comfortable with it.

So this time for a short getaway we decide to go somewhere close to Texas .Los Cabos, Mexico has long been known as hot getaway for honeymooners, sport fishermen and spring breakers. The truth of the matter is that this sunny destination at the tip of the Baja Peninsula also makes a fantastic getaway for families. The price of a family vacation doesn’t have to break the bank. Cabo, all-inclusive resorts abound, and many of them offer very reasonable rates and promotions. It was the perfect destination for us from the point of flight duration, pricing, length of stay and activities with a kid.

If you follow me on my Instagram you are aware that the place completely stole our hearts. I posted so many pictures on my feed and uploaded tons of insta stories to share our fun and excitement with my followers. We ate our weight in guacamole and tacos, swam in the pool, and Vir did something he’s never done before say Agua ! (Water in Spanish)

I’d love to share a few anecdotes and photos, if you’d like to see.

Oustide a local souvenir shop near the marina . I love shopping at local flee markets. Bought the straw bag

Some lovely views from our hotel of the Cabo marina

Strolling around the downtown sipping some milk

One of the best things about an All inclusive restaurant is the food! It was also a matter of convenience

Vir’s first Catamaran ride at a sunset tour to the Land’s end at Cabo San Lucas

The perfect ocean and pool view from our room balcony

There was no shying away from the sun ! He loved playing with the sand

Enjoying our time in the pool !

We had some beautiful views on our 2 hour catamaran ride. We saw a lot of sting rays jumping out of the water.

While we lounged at the beach for hours. Vir also caught a nap

Exploring some local restaurants at downtown Cabo

 

 In the end, of course, our vacation or, as my friends put it, our “relocation” was filled with many lovely moments. Our son learned how to say a few new words; he danced in front of a live Mexican band; he fell asleep on the beach under the shade, took a catamaran ride with us and watched the sunset .He kept waving to so many people at the resort while eating his meals and enjoyed all the attention.On the flight he slept most of the time or was busy in his books and toys. When he started to fuss and was restless to get out of our laps, we had to finally use the iPad to calm him down.

I spotted a baby, no more than a few months old on the flight sleeping calmly in the baby carrier and whispered to my husband. “Remember when Vir was so small ?”. “I miss those days,” I said, already sure that, in just a few years, I would be saying the same of these.

You can check my previous Travel posts and Tips here- 

Also for any parents travelling with kids on long haul flights and other countries , read here for advice from a Pediatrician.



We had an All inclusive stay at Hotel Sandos Finisterra in Los Cabo and travelled by Spirit airlines. I always look for deals on Hopper.com for flights and for hotels on Hotels.com. I recommend  checking reviews of the location before travelling to any destination on Tripadvisor.

Have a great summer .

Love

arushi

EASY & FUN SUMMER ACTIVITIES FOR TODDLERS

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A blast of sunshine and a bit of a breeze go a long way!!

The temperature’s rising and playing inside seems ideal. Also school’s out of session which means a lot of activities, games, crafts need to be planned to do indoors. I decided to round-up some ideas for toddler activities that can be done during the summer, indoors and out, any time of the day.

These fun activities involve lots of hands-on exploration and can be shared with older children, too! I will continue to share more ideas on my Instagram feed and stories.

Outdoor

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1.Hit the swimming pool: We introduced our child to the water when he was 6 month. Join a class or play in the pool get the kid comfortable in the water — not learning to swim. Get a float, throw a ball and show them to splash. Keep your baby sage in your arms at all time

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2.Let’s Feed the Birds: Kids of any age can enjoy this activity, head to the park in the evenings with some break and get ready for endless entertainment and lot of giggles. Vir is wearing the Lark Adventurewear Onesie , that is the first and only Infant activewear for adventurous babies.

diy-chalk-2 by Project Nuresery3. Sidewalk chalk is one of those playtime staples that offer endless amounts of entertainment without requiring anything fancy. (Image Credit : Project Nursery)

painted rock

4. Find the Painted rock in your Neighborhood:  

A new trend has been gaining popularity among kids which is also adding a lot of fun to your regular scavenger hunt. Kids are finding rocks, taking them home to paint, and then putting them back out into the world for others to find. The goal is to brighten up the world around us while spreading some much-needed joy.

Soap Bubbles 5. Bubble and GIANT Bubbles: The best thing about bubbles is that you don’t have to buy a special bubbles solution. It’s easy to make your own bubble solution. DIY Bubble solution: 6 cups water, 2 cups dishwashing liquid, 3/4 cup light corn syrup. Mix all ingredients together in a large container of. Shake everything up and let sit for a few hours. Pour into empty bubbles containers or dishes and go wild with your bubble wands!!

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6.Head to the Beach: A day at the beach sounds like the perfect way to spend a Summer day. Just don’t forget the sunscreen and beach essentials you need.

7.A water fountain or a Splash Pad helps keep the kids cool. Check out which parks have splash pad accessibility in your city.  You can also make your own DIY sprinkler

Homemade Sprinkler ~ Made with Recycled Materials

Image credit : HousingForest.com

8.Go Visit : Family outings to the ZOO, Children’s museum, Library, Aquarium , Botanical Gardens or a visit to the Flea Market are all great ways to spend a weekend.

 

Indoor Fun

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  1. Create a Tape Race Track in House: Just when it is too hot outside staying indoors seems ideal. I found this very cool race track inspo for you all. Try it .

Fishing in pool

  1. Fishing in the pool: Great activity for toddler for color recognition and on hand-eye coordination and fine motor control (by manipulating the net).All you need is baby pool, foam toys that you can make or store bought boy toys.

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11. Mess Free safe Finger Painting: Colors and more colors are always fun. Check out my previous post to make your own DIY safe finger paints. Ideal for babies over 6 months  Click here.

12. Other Sensory Play Activities like

Playdough, Water beds, Sand castles, playing with rice, beans or cornmeal or playing with those arts and crafts poms poms.

Summer days are really long, with these activities you can kill some time and keep them busy.

Here’s to summer fun with your little one!

arushi