It's time to start planning and thinking about the Spring and Summer travel seasons. For many, this will be their first opportunity in a few years to visit loved ones and explore new places. It's relatable to feel out of practice even if you were a pro at one point. We want to help you make the most of the summer travel season without the possible stress of being away from home base with your children.
- Air vs. Road
- Getting Around
There are so many more options for where you stay these days. Families are no longer limited to bunking with family or staying in a hotel. If you have never tried an Airbnb, once you have children, it's time to give it a try! Some of the perks are having a little more privacy (read space for your kids to be loud), maybe a yard to play in, baby items like a pack n play, a kitchen to cook food that your kids will actually eat (this cuts cost too) and a literal host who will keep their distance but answer questions for you. Be sure to use filters to find the exact amenities you need. Some places will be creative with how many people a dwelling sleeps, but you should manually count beds that would sleep your family well.
Air vs Road
This blog and our spring collection (more on that later) are inspired by the family road trips that imprint such strong memories from growing up. There is something nostalgic about piling in a car and hitting the open road. What are the benefits of traveling that way with kids though? The main one is flexibility. Babies and toddlers are notoriously unpredictable with moods, ailments, and can derail just about anything. An airplane won’t wait for any child except maybe Blu Ivy and North West. Taking that extra 30 minutes to nurse a baby or listen to big toddler feelings before you hit the road will not literally destroy your trip. The other side is that air travel with carseats can feel complicated. The best practice is to install your seat on the plane and never let it out of your sight. That means lugging it through the airport. As a perk, the familiarity of a carseat for a mobile baby or young toddler helps them stay seated.
Of course there are destinations that can’t be driven to and situations where flying is easier. Many do not consider the carseat breaks every 2 hours that must be taken with an infant. You often hear about driving during sleeping hours so that a child isn’t disturbed in their seat for 4-6 hours. Unfortunately that is not best practice. If you are not comfortable giving a car seat break every couple of hours with a newborn at night then driving during the day will be better. You might decide with the amount of time these breaks add to your trip that a plane ride is in fact a better option.
For either option, bring along some fun distraction and plan for them to drop it. There are many options and opinions on what to bring to play with. Whatever you decide, bring several so that when one hits the floor and can’t be recovered in a packed plane or while you are driving, that you can easily replace it. If you get stuck, remember that anything can be a toy, and sometimes the non-toys are the most exciting. Hand over an empty water bottle, a baby wipe, your costco card, etc.
While this is very personal, there is one easy and practical tip that can give you a boost! Gift cards! There are gift cards for so many travel-related expenses. The trick is to make sure they are things you will absolutely be able to use. We recommend Disney, Legoland, Airbnb, and VRBO gift cards. Unfortunately, airfare, car rental, and hotel are all things that have prices that drastically vary, and you would not want to have to use a specific provider just because you had a gift card. Vacation rentals and theme parks are a bit more predictable. So, how do you get them? Just ask! Next time someone asks you what you would like for the Holidays or your birthday, let them know you would love a Disney (or what works for your family) gift card! Disney cards specifically can all be combined to one balance and can be used on anything from souvenirs to an entire cruise! This works excellent for well-meaning family members who want to shower your children with toys they just don't need. Let them know that their gift of an experience and the memories created will last so much longer than another toy that lights up and plays loud music. Have you heard of a "fiver party"? You can do the same with gift cards. It is far more inclusive than a party where you open gifts from each friend anyway.
Let's face it, once you become a parent, packing for a trip can feel as complicated as doing your taxes. Depending on how you are traveling, economizing your space becomes critical. One hack that can help is shipping ahead! While sending your luggage would not be cost-effective, if you have a little one, there may be some consumables like diapers that can be ordered and arrive at your destination for free. A week's worth of disposable diapers takes up so much room in luggage. Just bring with you what you will need for travel +2 for Murphy's law, then place an order to arrive at grandma's when you do. Since you are ordering anyway, this can be an excellent way to add some of your staple snacks and travel-size toiletries vs. having them take up precious space in your luggage.
Another way to make sure you have just what you need and nothing you don't are packing lists. Many sample templates are available on Etsy if you do not want to make your own. The visual checklists are great for young children to help with the task. One thing to consider is if you will have laundry access at your destination. Many vacation rentals have a washer and dryer. If you can throw in a wash load, you can bring less. As a perk, it's nice not to travel home with dirty clothes.
Speaking of laundry… Before we start packing, there is the task of getting organized and not coming back to a mess! One thing that can help is taking one giant monster off your plate. We have found that most areas now have reasonably priced laundry services, especially considering everything comes back folded! You can send out everything and have it back ready to pack the next day. It's an extra expense, but think of the time you will save!
Choose your babywearing adventure!
You have made your list, and now it's time to pack! Which carrier will you bring? Travel often means that you will be getting extra mileage out of your baby carrier. You will want something that offers full-body support for you and is also comfortable for baby. Our Tula Explore and Tula Free-to-Grow carriers are made with a supportive padded waistband so that your shoulders and back are not shouldering (pun intended) all the work. If your travel adventure involves hiking, your Tula carrier will accommodate that without the need for a large framed carrier. Both carriers can be worn on your front and your back!
Vacations of all types involve lots of photos taken. Because of that, you may decide that you want a carrier that puts baby's cute cheeks and gummy smile in full view of the camera. You can achieve this and give baby a view of the sights in our Explore Carrier. The Tula Explore is our only carrier that offers a forward-facing position.
If your destination involves meeting up with extended family, sometimes that means a special babywearing moment with grandparents, aunts, and uncles. Our Free-to-Grow carrier is the ultimate in simplicity and can be easily shared between caregivers. Set it to baby's size and enjoy the no-fuss style and function of this carrier.
While you are deciding between Free-to-Grow and Explore, there are some things that you should know about both of them. First, either option supports babies from 7 to 45 pounds. They are both adjustable in height and width to grow with your baby. Finally, both come in multiple fabric options, including All Cotton, Coast, Tula Linen, and Signature.
While the most significant difference between the two carriers is that the Explore offers a forward-facing position, it is not the only difference. There are subtle fit differences, and the Explore has soft moldable padding on the panel to support baby forward-facing. However, you can rest assured that both options fit a wide range of body types.
Spring 2022 is all about a fresh yet relaxed look, and our Upstate Getaway Tula collection falls perfectly in that mindset. If you like soft, subtle rainbows, Harbor Skies will honor this season perfectly with a hazy blue that looks neutral enough to compliment any wardrobe. This print will come in Explore, Free-to-Grow, Toddler, Preschool, and Mini sizes.
On the other side, we are bringing a vintage-inspired floral print that will make you swoon! While Flower Walk has shades of blush, sunkissed peach, and lemon, the sky blue flowers steal the show. This carrier will be a cheerful yet stylish print for those who love a punch of color. Flower Walk will be available in Free-to-Grow and Explore carrier styles.
Tula Linen was an absolute showstopper in 2021, and we are also riding that wave into 2022. We have a brand new color for spring called Linen Moss that is both subtle and beautiful. Moss offers a very soft green hue, but all of our Tula Linen carriers are made of a beautiful herringbone weave that adds a dimension to the colors. In Linen Moss, you will see citron, avocado, and cream colors dazzle in the bright sun, while in shade or indoor lighting, the greener moss tones are more present.
Toddlerwearing, and beyond.
Of course, many people find Tula in the early stages of infancy, but we also find that travel inspires the need for a carrier from people who may not have used one during that period. Or maybe they did wear in infancy, but their current carrier won't support a toddler or preschooler. While you can travel with a toddler without a carrier, there is about a 100% chance you will have to pick them up in your arms. They could need a break from the stimulation, need to be protected in a busy environment, have their sleep schedule thrown off and need to rest, or their legs can get tired on adventures. You can't really predict if that will be in an airport while you manage 3 carry-ons or out sight-seeing. You will both be so much more comfortable in a carrier made especially to support their weight. While strollers have their place, you may enjoy the freedom of not having to bring an additional large piece of baby gear.
Tula has three carrier options that are popular in the toddler+ years. Our Standard carrier is excellent for 12-month-olds and has a 45-pound weight limit. The Toddler Tula is the next size up. It doesn't usually start to fit until a child is in 2T pants for length. Before that, the panel will be too wide and tall. This carrier has a 60 weight limit and will take many people to the end of when a child is still being picked up in arms. After that, we have our Preschool Tula with an incredible 70-pound weight limit! This is for the family that recognizes what a joy and how convenient carriers are. The Preschool Tula will not start to fit until a child is in 4T clothing. This carrier has also been impactful for families with disabled children so that they can all enjoy places a mobility device won't take them.
From big feelings to tired legs and crowded places or breathtaking views, Tula carriers help you navigate it. Once you have made a comfortable and supportive carrier a part of your vacation must-haves, you will never go back. We love seeing and following your travel adventures on Instagram, and we are honored when you tag us. It doesn't have to be Tula'ing through the lush rainforest. We are just as happy to see an airport nap because it means you can keep doing what you love, and your little one's needs for safety and connection were met.
Happy Babywearing. Safe Travels.