Traveling with children is never really easy, but there are a few things you can do to make your holiday travel plans go as smoothly as possible. I've partnered with Graco to share some tips with you and to give you a look at the Graco 4Ever Extend2Fit 4-in-1 Car Seat.
Every year, we travel 2.5 to 3 hours to visit my parents for the holidays. Then, while I'm in town, I usually travel a few hours north and a few hours south to visit family friends. We end up logging quite a few miles on our SUV around our great state of Florida, but that pales in comparison to our Easter plans. Every spring we head across the country to visit my husband's family in Washington state. It can be daunting to travel with our little ones in tow, but you only live once, right?! I like to think that I'm sort of a travel pro at this point, so I want to share a few tips to help you arrive at your destination safely and stress-free.
Holiday Travel Tips for Trips With Kids
1.) Try not to leave on the busiest travel days. The days right before and right after the holiday are notoriously the busiest travel days. Try to avoid those days if possible since the flights and roadways will be packed and that makes things more stressful for everyone.
2.) Allow yourself some wiggle room. If you need to be at the airport at 12 PM and it takes two hours to get there, leave 4 hours ahead of time. Traveling with kids means unpredictable things are going to happen. That might mean frequent potty breaks, an episode of car sickness, or an epic meltdown. If you've got time to spare, you won't have that added level of stress.
3.) Be prepared. I know this is an all-encompassing term, but I'm a planner so I like to be prepared for anything that might happen. When you're traveling with little ones, you're going to need lots of things for them to do and lots of things for them to eat. I load up on pre-portioned snacks and treats. A little lollipop might pull your child back from the brink of a tantrum, so have a variety of healthy snacks and tiny treats. If you're traveling by car, make sure you create a no-fail anti-boredom car kit for kids. Choose small coloring books, little cans of modeling dough, miniature cars, fidget spinners, and whatever else will keep them entertained.
If you're traveling via plane, pack a small backpack full of snacks and things that will keep them busy. Also, load your phone and tablet with kid-friendly apps, just in case.
4.) Prepare your children ahead of time. A few days before a trip (not much sooner than that though, otherwise my 5-year-old won't stop talking about it), I start to talk to my children about where we're going, how long it might take, and how I expect them to behave. Familiarizing them ahead of time helps alleviate their fears of the unknown and setting clear expectations lets them know I expect them to keep it together during the trip.
5.) Keep them safe. Just because you're traveling and outside of your normal routine, does not mean you should let safety fall by the wayside. If you're flying, please consider that the safest way for your child to fly is in their own seat, secured into their car seat. Make sure your car seat is FAA certified, like the Graco 4Ever Extend2Fit 4-in-1 Car Seat.
If you're driving, you should be sure that their seats are installed correctly before you head out on the open road. If you haven't done so in a while, schedule an appointment with your local certified technician to inspect your car seat's installation.
The Graco 4Ever Extend2Fit 4-in-1 Car Seat
Speaking of keeping them safe, I can't stress how important car seat safety truly is. I know it can be tempting to think, "Oh, he's 5 years old. He'll probably be okay in a booster seat," or, "She's almost 2, I can just use a forward-facing car seat for this trip." According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children should remain rear-facing until a minimum of age 2 or until they reach the maximum rear-facing height or weight rating for their seat. Also, forward-facing, children should use the built-in harness system for as long as possible until they reach the maximum forward-facing weight or height for their car seat (for most car seats, that's up to 65 pounds). After reaching the maximum forward-facing weight and height, the AAP recommends that children 4 feet 9 inches tall or under should ride in a belt-positioning booster seat (NOT a backless booster seat). As you can see, having a car seat that can do it all and transition with your child from birth to childhood is beneficial. That's exactly why the Graco 4Ever Extend2Fit 4-in-1 Car Seat is one of the best options out there.
The Graco 4Ever Extend2Fit 4-in-1 Car Seat was designed to give you 10 years with just one car seat. Yes, you read that right, TEN years. This seat was designed with your child's safety and comfort in mind. A child can rear-face in the 4Ever Extend2Fit from 4-50 pounds before transitioning forward-facing in a 5-point harness (from 22-65 pounds), then to a high-back belt-positioning booster (from 40-100 pounds) to backless belt-positioning booster (40-120 pounds).
There are 6 different recline positions keeps your child comfortable. If you're wondering about which recline to use, there are clear indicator stickers on the base of the seat to guide you and there is a built-in bubble level on the seat also.
Thanks to the 4-position extension panel, 4Ever Extend2Fit provides 5 inches of extra legroom which will allow your child to ride safely rear-facing longer.
The Graco 4Ever Extend2Fit has a NO re-thread (and if you know me, you know I LOVE this feature) Simply Safe Adjust Harness System and 10-position headrest that lets you adjust the harness and headrest together with just one-hand.
I had my almost 5.5-year-old son, who weighs 43 pounds and is 43 inches tall, try the Graco 4Ever Extend2Fit on for size and we were able to get a perfect fit. I have no doubt this seat would work well for just about any child.
Installation can sometimes be tricky when installing car seats, but Graco makes it easy for you. Their directions are crystal clear and very easy to follow. The 4Ever Extend2Fit comes with premium LATCH attachments (unlike simple hooks that some seats include, which can be hard to maneuver). With the InRight™ LATCH system it's super easy to get secure your seat onto the anchor point in just one-second.
If you're installing your 4Ever Extend2Fit with the lap/shoulder belt, you'll find an integrated belt lock-off for easy vehicle seat belt installation too.
I've installed a lot of car seats and I'll tell you, having a built-in bubble level like the one on the Graco 4Ever Extend2Fit makes things SO much easier and gives me much more confidence that I'm installing the seat correctly.
My 2.5-year-old daughter, who is 34 inches tall and weighs 25 pounds, is sitting very comfortably while rear-facing thanks to extension panel. We don't have it fully extended yet so she's still got plenty of room to grow.
See, she's got plenty of legroom!
The integrated cup holders are great features and I really like that there are two. My little lady likes to drink a lot, so it's not unusual for her to have one sippy in each cup holder. That also leads me to my next point - the washable seat cover! If you've got a heavy wetter, you'll really appreciate the fact that cover is washable and can be removed without having to remove the harness. The cover feels like it's made from quality material and the seat also comes with plush inserts for extra comfort and to help position smaller children and infants.
The Graco 4Ever Extend2Fit weighs 25.8 pounds and feels like a substantial, solid seat. It's got a steel-reinforced frame for keeping your little one safe, but it's not so heavy that you couldn't carry it while traveling. As I mentioned before, the 4Ever Extend2Fit is also FAA certified for airline travel.
Will you be traveling this holiday season?
Do you have any travel tips to share?
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