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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.
Babies are actually pretty great travel companions as well. They are happy to go along for the ride. Take in the sights, smell the scents, feel the breeze. Before long, your baby will hit toddlerhood and need to climb and explore everything, and will not enjoy sitting still for more than 0.2 seconds, so now is really a great time to get started.
It’s true that when you have TWO babies, you can’t be quite as relaxed as those Instagram moms, traveling the world with their dream of a baby. BUT you can get out and enjoy yourself, we promise. Perhaps you’ll spend most of your time in the hotel room, or close to all the things you need, but at least your are out of the house and trying something new!
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 CAB do and experience in a whole new way. We will always fondly remember the first time we watched our boys’ wide eyes when they saw a colorful school of fish, or felt the sand. Or even just getting to witness the first time they meet someone important to you.
Our first big trip with our kids was to go to a family member’s wedding. Some of the other family members visiting had their days packed full of fun activity after fun activity. And honestly, MOST of those things we’re in the cards for us. We probably said no way more than we said yes, and it was tough.
However, we DID get to visit lots of family that live across the country from us, introduce our beautiful kids to cousins, aunts, and uncles, and watch a beautiful wedding. Sure it’s easy to get caught up on everything you CAN’T do, but the truth is we had a great trip overall. And we would have missed out on these experiences had we opted not to go.
Tip 3: Cosleep if you are comfortable with it
Finding a great travel sleep solution for your baby can be really tough. When you need TWO? Impossible! Standard Pack n Plays are massive, especially if you need two, and for us, totally infeasible for travel. The Phil&teds Portable traveler crib is ultra-lightweight, and a HUGE improvement over standard Pack n Plays, but even this tiny play yard, when you need two, can be unmanageable for airline travel. Plus, the price tag was tough to swallow for us. Another potential sleep solution is the KidCo Peapod Plus. But, it looks and feels pretty different for baby, which might interrupt sleep (and no one wants to mess with sleep), and again, two of these aren’t exactly NOTHING.
When we really thought though it, we were not happy with any of the sleep solutions we found. And while we are not a co-sleeping family (at least not on purpose), at home, we were open to it to minimize luggage. We feel comfortable with sleeping with our twins (while following safe sleep rules for cosleeping) once they were about 5 months old. And honestly, it worked GREAT for us. We all slept comfortably, and we didn’t have to lug around 50 lbs of gear for them to sleep.
As infants, my twins didn’t roll around that much. We felt reasonably comfortable 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. As they grew and got more wiggly, we purchased these fantastic inflatable bumpers. They fold up tiny and are easy to inflate, then you can stick them under the sheet to keep your child from rolling off the bed. In fact, we STILL use these bumpers with my now 4.5-year-old twins.
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 make sure we always stick with the same routine we have at home, even if all the steps look a little bit different when we are away from home, and we bring what we can to replicate the conditions we’d have at home.
- 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-ish
While there are DEFINITELY some extra baby necessities you’ll want to bring to make travel with your twin infants easier, make sure you don’t get carried away and pack the whole house. The hassle of hauling tons of luggage and constantly rearranging it trying to make space in a small hotel room with certainly diminish any benefit of BRINGING all the things.
For example, do a test run. Even though you might LOVE your twin nursing pillow (and I LOVED mine), you might find that a bunch of stacked up pillows are a decent substitute that can save a BUNCH Of space. Perhaps you have a ton of great baby toys you’d love to bring. But realistically, a tiny baby can easily be entertained by just one toy at least for a weekend.
Our packing recommendations:
- Clothes for a couple of days- plan on 2-3 outfits per day per child, and do laundry if you can
- 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
- A lightweight double stroller (or maybe even just a single)
Tip 6: Don’t forget about baths
Baths on vacation are something that is easy to forget about. You can certainly 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. If you are comfortable in your skin enough to do this, that is FANTASTIC. I am certainly not.
Taking a break to sit down and nurse each baby individually to prevent the whole nudity scene just takes AGES- 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. Of course I did have to have to nurse babies one at a time. So I’d have to plan ahead a bit- feeding the first a bit early so the second baby wouldn’t be melting down by the time I was ready to feed him.
We loved our Ergobaby carrier for nursing. Ergobaby even has some great tips here on nursing in the carrier that really helped me figured it out. Once I got the hang of it, it really was a LIFESAVER for my family.
Tip 8: Let them Get out of the Stroller/Carrier
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 9: 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 lightweight double stroller, and find it invaluable for travel- check out our post here on the best lightweight double strollers.
BUT it’s nice to have another option sometimes. We tried out a super cheap single umbrella stroller for one baby, then I carried the other in the baby carrier. 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, because one of my twins enjoyed the baby carrier more, and one enjoyed the stroller more, it ended up keeping the kids really happy as well! Even better, it was really easy for me to get around alone, when I didn’t have my husband to help me.
Tip 10: 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.
It’s easy to get frustrated when your babies don’t stick EXACTLY to routine, as you’d like them to. But the good news is, they’ll fall asleep eventually, and they’ll eat when they are hungry enough. Try to relax, enjoy the moments, and don’t get caught in the little imperfections!
Bonus Tip: 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. No matter how many times I look at them, each photo I’ve taken of my twins exploring new places, or learning something new precious and SO fun to check out!
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!