A Dad’s guide: Thanksgiving travel hacks

Friends, family, food, football and napping are what we think about come thanksgiving. What we choose to forget is thanksgiving travel, which became much more challenging with a baby – especially as a single Dad

Before you were a parent, did you ever guess that thanksgiving travel, literally travelling from A to B could be such a formidable task?

thanksgiving travel - @mumtraveldiaries - clip on high chair on a hand rail

lobster – Photo credit: @mumtraveldiaries

We’ve all been there – travelling 200 miles for thanksgiving dinner. This time you’ve got a baby, which resets the required parenting level to expert.

Let’s make travel an adventure again!

Broadly speaking, there are 3 simple things that need to be covered for thanksgiving travel. These are:

  1. Eating
  2. Sleeping
  3. Pooping

Simple right? Wrong. There are so many things that could go (and do) go wrong when you’re jet-setting around. At least we have 2 of these 3 things covered.

The last thing you want is for something simple like a bed or a highchair to become a hindrance to an otherwise successful journey. It’s all about instilling confidence by being prepared for the unexpected right?

thanksgiving travel - @my.blended.tribe porta cot traveller

traveller – Photo credit: @my.blended.tribe

Back to thanksgiving – you really want everything to be perfect. The hurdles to success are:

If they’re eating right, then their blood sugars are going to be regulated giving you a 75% less chance of meltdown. A well slept child, well, does this even need explanation? If you are confident that both of these bases are covered, then the time you spend with your family is going to be quality.

Here’s a little story about my boy, Julian:

Every year Julian and I travel at Thanksgiving to my sisters place. Her house is an isolated, rural retreat. We love it there. It’s right on the beach, close to nature and there’s a massive garden full of fresh veges. She’s the simple living type. The first year we went Julian was still a baby. I hadn’t practiced putting the travel cot up, let alone had him sleep in it. To be fair, I hadn’t even thought about it. I thought children just fall asleep when they were tired!

My sister on the other hand, had eased her child Tor into her travel cot by making it the daily nap crib.

Once we’d arrived we had a successful afternoon with only one meltdown. All that lay in front of an almost flawless day was bedtime.

thanksgiving travel - escape carrier - @trevor_ridder

escape carrier – Photo credit: @trevor_ridder

So there we are on the first night: Me, Julian and the travel cot in his bedroom for the next few days. The unfamiliar surrounding terrified my son. He stood there screaming – not sleeping. All of this raucousness happening while right next to him, Tor is fast asleep, completely oblivious to the meltdown 3 feet away.

True story.

Here are my learning’s presented in thanksgiving travel hack form.

Travel hack #1 – sleep baby in their travel cot a few times before they get to the destination

Familiarity is a big part of what makes a baby tick. They respond well to familiar faces, sights, smells and environments. Well, at least in my case.

I suggest introducing your child to a travel cot early on in their life. A practised child will rest easier. A sun mesh cover also helps as it dampens out the unfamiliar environment. Its common sense – being familiar with your bed is one extra sensory sensation less to take in.

The second hurdle was storage. I knew my sister only had one highchair and I couldn’t pack up our poppy for the trip. We needed something a little more portable to free up space in our luggage.

Travel hack #2 – for thanksgiving travel, use a truly portable highchair

This is a phil&teds blog so I am required to gush about their products. Bias aside, man oh man, this one really takes the cake.

thanksgiving travel - @ushappyfour lobster

lobster – Photo credit: @ushappyfour

Lobster is such a handy little portable highchair that will fit onto almost any table. Once it’s dirty you can pull it out of the frame and pop it into the washing machine. The best thing about it is that it will fit into your handbag or carryon luggage – it only weighs 3.9lbs!

My sister has an outdoor area with a sea view, boasting a picnic table. lobster is designed to clip on to picnic tables. Every year we sit by the beach, living the dream eating lunch outside. It’s great – thanksgiving travel at its best!

Enjoy your thanksgiving travel. Embrace the family and relish the time that your parents, friends and family have with your child. Eat lots of food and go the Redskins! You like that?

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