In between the bustle of the move, we packed the clan and set out for a 10-day trip to Italy! Packing for an 8 month old and a 2.5 year old was an intimidating task but I decided to go with the less is more approach. When I was planning for the trip, I did a lot of research from other parents to get some ideas for anything that would make the journey as smooth as possible. I wanted to share a post of what worked for us and what didn’t when traveling internationally with two small children. We had some wins and some fails for sure!
We decided to fly direct to Rome in the afternoon in the hopes that they would sleep on part of the flight since we’d be landing in the morning in Italy. On the way home, we left in the late morning, thinking they would take a long nap and then just push through to bed time in Chicago so we could get them oriented. We also flew home on Thursday so we’d have the weekend to get them acclimated. This system actually worked for the most part. The 2nd night back in the states was the night our baby was actually awake in the middle of the night. I’m thinking Thursday she was just so exhausted and then Friday it took her that full day to get her days and nights back together. Thankfully, she was back to sleeping through the night by Saturday.
In between Rome, we took a high speed train down to Naples where we would stay in the Amalfi Coast for the remainder of the trip. We didn’t want to have too many legs to the trip that involved carrying luggage and uprooting the littles so we stuck to day trips on ferries and one overnight stay away from our main hub in Sorrento. This was totally doable and it was awesome not to have to bring the full luggage around with us everyday.
Here’s a run down of what I packed for the kiddos and why:
- Clothes – I stuck to the bare minimum!
- 1.5 outfits per day
- 2 pairs of shoes for each
- 2 swim suits
- 1 coverup
- 1 swim hat
- 2 pairs of PJs
- Sleepsack, lovey
- Sound machine – our sound machine was plugged in to an outlet adapter and it fried on the 1st plug in! We ended up using the sleep pillow app on our iPad so beware of that! If you can use a surge protector or something similar you may be fine but ours short circuited and we had to toss it
- 75% of the diapers needed and we bought more there to save suitcase room
- A small backpack to use as the daily diaper bag
- 2 baby carries, which were the best things to have…the sidewalks are often too narrow for the stroller and our toddler likes to run and walk and I was paranoid she would step off the street and right in to a Vespa! So for my own sanity, the carrier was amazing when she became overtired and wouldn’t hold our hands and stay on the sidewalk
- Stroller- we left our double uppa baby vista, as we figured the wheels would be too big. We bought the Joovy caboose instead where our 8 month old could have a seat and our 2 year old count stand on the back or sit if she chose to. If you’re using this as a double stroller for long days walking, I wouldn’t recommend it. The seats aren’t conducive to two kids napping well. Often, I just had the baby on me and our toddler slept in the stroller. She did sleep but she always seemed uncomfortable. For quick grocery store runs or things like that, I think it’s great! But long days where you want them comfortable and able to take stroller naps, it was tough in this when you use both seats
- Snack cups/Assorted snacks
- Water cups
- Small amount of assorted toys
- My hand pump and 2 bottles to pump in to for after bedtime emergencies when I went out with my sister or my husband and the other was back sleeping with the girls *I’m still nursing her on demand so this worked well for me. If you need to carry on a cooler of milk, I’ve heard great things about companies that will ship it safely to your hotel and you can also ship it back to the states to your home. I haven’t used these services, but they’re out there and worth looking in to!
- Travel bottle drying rack with ravel size dapple bottle soap
- Headphones for our toddler – we purchased a pair of cloth headphones that can be worn like a headband thinking she would keep them on if she didn’t notice them…she didn’t even keep them on for a second! Maybe we’ll try again
- My sister! The most important tip I can offer is to bring help! It was a huge bonus to have an extra set of hands! This was a family vacation so she wasn’t there in an official childcare capacity but she helped imensely. If you’re planning a trip, it can’t hurt to ask family members if they’d also like to go. More formal childcare or nannies are also an option if you have someone available to ask. She was a life saver and it was some great sister/auntie time!
That’s the low down of our trip! It was a great time and even though it was daunting, it was completely worth it! The memories and pictures we have are something we’ll never forget. A lot of people said, it was crazy to go when the girls were too young to remember it but my husband and I have the memories and that’s priceless. If you’re considering an international trip with littles, know that there will be chaotic times and meltdowns but life is too short to stay home! Take the trip. When in doubt, always take the trip! This is the stuff you’ll remember about your life. Your baby being home for their 10:00am nap is not.