GUEST POST: Adventurous family travel

Born for adventure, LeAnna Brown has travel in her blood and has enjoyed experiencing cultures around the entire globe.  Now with a family, travel looks a bit different but is still a top priority for the Brown’s.  That includes “settling” back down in their hometown in the state of Nebraska.  But the travel hasn’t stopped just because they have kids and no longer live abroad.  LeAnna loves inspiring her fellow Nebraskan’s at to stay and travel in their own backyard and make experiences and memories no matter where they are in the world; near or far from home.

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“Let’s just move to Europe and travel the world!” I exclaimed, mostly joking, after months of a really rough job.

Andy looked at me and said, “Ok!”

I stared back at him in disbelief.  He was serious!

Several months later, we were settling into life in Bavaria, Germany and checking off bucket list item after item traveling Europe, Asia, and Africa!

Close to 40 countries later, we decided it was time to add another member to our travel gang, but we weren’t quite willing to let go of our travel lifestyle yet.

So, we knew there was only one answer: Break Lil B into being a worldwide traveler with us!

By aged 6 months, Lil B had 6 countries stamped in his passport and was well on his way to earning “Pro Traveler” status!

How has traveling changed?

At first, traveling with a baby didn’t change a whole lot.  We could still watch our own movies on planes, we could continue to leisurely go to museums as he slept in his carrier and we’d still spend hours just walking while the babe hung out on our backs.

As Lil B got older, travel has had to change a bit though.  We now adapt for naps (he’s not as keen to sleep in the carrier anymore!), we get back to our lodging early for bedtime and we can pretty much forget museums or anything that requires “quiet” or “no running!”

But all that is ok.  We have therefore just adjusted expectations as well as travel destinations.  We now focus more on an outdoor type of travel rather than city sight-seeing and we’ve learned how to make roadtrips with a toddler bearable.

We have also recently moved back to our home state in the US of Nebraska and so we’ve taken on the personal mission to see as much of our own backyard as possible, mostly via camping (well, ok GLAMPING in Nebraska now that we have the tots!)  while getting in a few trips to other major US destinations as well.

TIP: if you are into family camping trips, check out this guide to the best family tent.

My indispensable travel items for kids

Traveling with a baby (who is now a toddler!), inevitably came with needing to travel with extra gear (something very difficult for us “Carry On Only” kind of nomads!).  We are still perfecting the art of light packing with a child, and now we’ve really gone and done it and had ANOTHER baby!  Maybe gone are the days of carry on only- until they can start pulling their own weight!

A few of my MUST HAVE Travel Gear Items for Traveling with a Baby or Toddler are:

Baby Merlin Magic Sleepsuit: Getting a baby to sleep anywhere isn’t the easiest of tasks, but I found having this “magic sleepsuit as they call it, has been great for continuity.

Opsrey Backpack Turned Into a Diaper Backpack: I searched high and low for the best diaper backpack but couldn’t find it.  So, I made it!  I simply used the Osprey Nebula Backpack as a Diaper Backpack and LOVE it!  We still use this with our toddler when out on big trips, as it holds not only all of his daily essentials but ours as well!

Tula Baby Carrier:  I’m a HUGE proponent of babywearing while traveling so I also have a Moby wrap and a LilleBaby ring sling for when they are newborns, but I have used my Tula baby carrier so much, you’d think it was just a part of my everyday wardrobe by now!

TIP: Looking for the best baby carrier? Check out these articles! The best baby carrier for travelthe best baby carrier for hot weatherthe best waterproof baby carrier

Lotus Travel Crib:  Not just any pack ‘n play, this small, light-weight, carry on sized travel crib is a breeze to use and travel with.  I freaking love this thing so much that we actually don’t use a real crib at home.  The purpose of this is because we travel so much, I wanted just one more strong “sleep cue,” so no matter where in the world we are, he has a sense of familiarity in his “own” bed.

TIP: read our article on the best travel playard here!

Traveling for pro's: sleeping in the bathroom!
Traveling for pro’s: sleeping in the bathroom!

Tips for other traveling families

I often joke to families interested in travel that they need to really lower their expectations.  No…..lower!  Ok, good….now a bit lower still!

You can’t expect travel to the be same with kiddos as it was without.  And you have to be ok with that!

Travel has surely changed for us now that we have kids.  A lot more needs to be taken into consideration and A LOT more needs to be packed and brought along with.  However, travel is a life-long passion of my husband and mine and I love sharing that with my children!

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