When we first found out we were having twins, I wasn’t… thrilled. A big part of the reason was that I had imagined that, though travel would slow down, it would still be possible with one baby. With two- out of the question, right? Maybe not. Traveling with infant twins isn’t easy, and it probably isn’t for everyone. But for us, it’s well worth the trouble.
- The babies are too young to remember any of it
- Babies need a lot of stuff
- Being away from home isn’t as comfortable or easy as just staying home
- More exposure to illnesses
- Your travel pace will be much slower
- Even if the babies don’t remember, we remember it, and there is nothing like watching your kids enjoy something new
- Maybe they won’t exactly remember the trip, but they will have this great time to bond with family, and they will remember it in their cells
- Mom and dad have probably been cooped up in the house for months and need a change of scenery
- Getting away from home and forgetting a thing or two teach parents and babies how to be a little bit more flexible
- Traveling at a slower pace, as is required when traveling with small children, can actually make your vacation more enjoyable and more relaxing.
Travel, even with our infants, was a no brainer for us for several reasons. The biggest thing, in those early years, is the fact that we have no family nearby, so getting to know aunts and uncles, cousins and grandparents means traveling. But also, travel so is important to us for a million reasons, and I feel strongly that one of the most important gifts I can give my children is the gift of perspective that only comes with travel and that the shared experiences we have traveling and taking family vacations will bring us a lifetime of happy memories.
So once our boys were about four months old, and we finally felt a little bit less afraid (they were premature and just so small), we started traveling. Keep reading for some of the things we learned. Also, see our separate posts on flying with infant twins and for travel with twin toddlers.
Tip 1. Just jump in.
The younger your babies are, the more likely they are to be flexible about where they sleep, where they eat, etc. It can be intimidating thinking about taking on something else when you are already exhausted, but sometimes a little family trip can really refresh you.
Tip 2. Enjoy the things you can do and don’t dwell on those things you can’t.
There are a million things we simply cannot do now that we are traveling with young twins. But there are also a million things we can do and experience in a whole new way- watching our boys’ wide eyes when they see a colorful school of fish or feeling the sand on their toes for the first time, or even just getting to witness the first time they meet someone important to you.
Tip 3: Cosleep if you are comfortable with it
We are not a co-sleeping family (at least not on purpose), but we did feel comfortable with it once they were about 5 months old. When traveling by plane, co-sleeping made things easier because we didn’t have to bring much extra for them. They didn’t move around a ton at that age, so we felt fairly comfortable having them in the middle of a hotel bed. The best arrangement for us was to have two queen beds, and each parent slept with one baby.
Tip 4: Replicate your twins sleep environment as much as possible.
Hopefully, you are lucky enough to have twins that can just sleep anywhere, whenever they get tired. Mine have never been like that. And we’ve found anything we can do to replicate our sleep situation at home helps them get to sleep faster. We always stuck to our normal sleep routines, and whenever we could, did blackout curtains, white noise, and a room with a door.
If our hotel could provide two pack n plays, we’d definitely take it. But we didn’t find the availability of two to be reliable. We tried all kinds of travel bassinets, pack n plays, etc., and found that they were not for us- too expensive, too bulky, and not something that we could use for very long, and when buying two, we just didn’t find worthwhile.
- Blackout curtains are almost a guarantee at hotels, but if you are staying at a VRBO, or a friend or relatives’ house, there is a pretty low likelihood of having them. Bring a cheap plastic shower curtain you can tape or pin up to block out some of the light
- We use a white noise machine at home, but a tablet we’d be bringing anyway does the trick. There are 8+ hour Youtube videos or white noise apps you can download.
- Being able to stay in a 1+ bedroom suite, or VRBO is such a luxury when your kids are tiny. Infants sleep a lot, and it’s so nice to be able to able to do your own thing while they sleep. Plus, lots of kids have trouble falling asleep when they see their parents. However, that wasn’t always possible for us. We could sometimes head out to a balcony with the door cracked, or just hang out quietly and in the dark until we were ready for bed.
Tip 5 Travel light
Pick up diapers and wipes at your destination, or order them ahead of time to be delivered, and bring only what you really need. Your twin nursing pillow might be amazing but it’s not absolutely necessary for a week away- a few pillows are a decent substitute. As much as it feels like you are moving out every time you leave the house, you really can get by with much less than you expect.
- Clothes for a couple of days- plan on 2-3 outfits per day per child
- A lightweight blanket
- A heavier blanket for them to lie down on
- Swaddle if you are using them
- One lovey per child
- Extra pacifiers and clips
- If you bottle-feed, enough to last you through the night, plus a bottle brush.
- Your baby carrier/s of choice
- A couple of small toys/teethers
- Baby butt cream of choice.
- Any medicine you might need- Baby Tylenol or Motrin, gas drops, etc.
- Baby lotion and soap
- Some kind of a lightweight stroller (maybe just a single)
Tip 6: Don’t forget about baths
Baths on vacation are something that is easy to forget about. You can certain opt to just do a sponge bath or attempt to hold your slippery infants one at a time in the shower. We tried the slippery shower situation once- it was terrifying to me. My go-to solution was Otteroos. They definitely look strange and not everyone is comfortable with them, but they do comply with US safety standards. As long as you are in the room and watching them, I feel that they are perfectly safe. Other pluses- they are inflatable and fold up really small, and then allow you to give your infant an enjoyable bath in any bathtub. Plus my kids LOVED them
Tip 7: If you are breastfeeding, learn how to breastfeed in your carrier.
When we are at home, I tandem nursed. But in public- no thank you. I have to be pretty much topless and looking like a milking cow. No one wants to see that. And if you try to sit down to nurse individually, you’ll end up doing nothing else. Nursing in the carrier meant we could carry on with our day instead of planning around our nursing breaks.
Though infants generally are pretty ok with being in a carrier or a stroller, we found it was best to plan on giving them some time to get out and wiggle around every few hours. Maybe you stop back at your hotel and let them do some tummy time on the bed. Maybe you put a blanket in the grass at a park so they can look at the leaves. Whatever it is, make a plan because it can be difficult to find somewhere you feel comfortable putting your twins down and letting them touch things.
Tip 8: Babywear, but also maybe bring a stroller?
Babywearing was a lifesaver for travel for us. It’s so convenient, no stopping to get the baby whatever they need, and no limitations to where you can go because of a huge stroller.
But some babies don’t love it, and some parents don’t love it. And some babies and parents get hot in there and just want a break after babywearing all day, or maybe your babies can nap in their stroller and you can eat a meal without two babies touching you for once. Also, when you have two, at least unless you are a superhero mom, you kinda need two adults when you are babywearing. I never really got the wearing two at a time thing down. I don’t know how you awesome mamas do it. Anyway, having a stroller can really help.
We love our MacLaren lightweight double stroller because it’s fully reclinable, has a nice big sunshade, and it is easy to fold up. Another option we only came up with accidentally was to just bring or buy a single, super cheap (like $10) umbrella stroller. I used it when we tagged along on my husband’s work trip, so I was alone sometimes during the day. When you usually are pushing around a massive double stroller, even a super cheapo single feels GLORIOUS. I was totally comfortable and could get around really easily with just the single stroller, and my bigger twin was pretty happy to have that extra breeze in the stroller.
Tip 9. Don’t forget, you are all on vacation.
While you probably don’t want to let your regular schedule go out the window completely, accept that your babies are not going to be eager to nap with all the excitement. They may skip a few naps, or at least delay them. They may not eat as well, and they may want to try some new, fun, but less than healthy foods, just like you.
Tip 10. Take tons of pictures.
Really, has anyone ever wished they had taken fewer pictures? And little video clips- those are even better. They change so fast at this age, and you’ll be capturing a ‘first’ almost every time you take a photo
As tricky as travel with your twin infants may seem, it is doable with if you just take it easy on yourself. And nothing beats these early memories. I will never forget the way they looked in their baby suits for their first wedding, or the strange pride I felt seeing them happy and thriving in outside of their ‘normal’ environment in our sunny hotel room. You can do this!