Monday, July 9, 2012

Tips and Tricks for Traveling in the Heat with Kids

While the heatwave that plagued most of the country last week has subsided, it still seems timely to share some tips I picked up on our recent trip. We spent the week in my inlaws' beautiful cottage on Saginaw Bay in northeast Michigan. It's only flaw (which is ordinarily a non-issue given it's typically cool and breezy location) is that it is not air-conditioned. Temps in the mid-90s had the whole family scrambling for ways to get relief from the heat.

If you find yourself traveling this summer with kids (especially babies) and know you'll be without regular access to an air-conditioned space, such as a campsite, here are a few things you can do and should pack.

  • Blow-up baby pool.* Even though we were staying right on the lake, we got a lot of relief from an inflatable baby pool right in the backyard.
  • Cloth swim diaper.* You'll want to be in and out of the water as much as possible. So forget the disposal swim diapers (I can never get my chubby baby boys in and out of those anyway). Make a one-time investment in a cloth swim diaper and you'll be good to go for the whole trip no matter how many times your little one gets wet. I've used this Bummis Swimmis brand with both boys and they've held up really well.
  • Fans. I suggest a fan for each bed in order to keep everyone cool in the sticky evening hours (and during naptime). If you don't have room, buy a few cheap ones when you arrive. I even got some use out of a laptop fan* I bought for about $6. I just put it right on my bed by my pillow. 
  • Bed sheets instead of sleeping bags. I still like to be "covered" when I sleep, even when it's hot.
  • Hydrocortisone cream.* Both Arrows got a pretty nasty heat rash by the end of the week. It was nice to have something handy to give them some relief.
  • Outdoor toys. No matter what we did, it was always cooler outside than inside the cottage. So we hardly used any of the indoor toys I packed, but got a lot of mileage out of the outdoor activities.
Dinner picnic because it was too hot to eat inside!

  • Move the pack n' play* mattress onto the floor. It was impossible to get enough air flow into the pack n' play itself for Little Arrow to get cool enough to sleep. So we moved the mattress pad onto the floor and kept a fan blowing on him (but out of reach). He doesn't move much in his sleep, fortunately, but even if he did, he was safe on the floor.
  • Keep a beach bag packed and organized throughout the trip. It made for quicker organizing for heading out to the boat, pool or lake.
  • Extend bathtime. Both boys spent most of the evening splashing around in the tub (or sink!) Perhaps pick up a couple of new bath toys to bring along.
  • Do what the locals do. We went swimming at the local community center one day. We also looked into the local libraries, movies, etc., as potential sources of relief. Whatever you might do to keep cool at home works just as well when traveling!
  • Cold wash cloths. Little Arrow's favorite toy during the hottest part of the day.
Little Arrow loved cooling off in the sink bathtub every night.

Check back on Friday, I'll be sharing some photos of our view at the cottage that made all the heat worth it (as if Little Arrow's adorableness wasn't enough!)

This post is a part of Travel Tips Tuesday at Suitcases and Sippy Cups and Walkingon Travels.

*Amazon affiliate links.


  1. Great ideas:) The boys are getting so BIG!! So bummed we missed out on all of the fun! Hoping we can join the fun next year!! LN

  2. I have to go back and read the actual words. Just could not concentrate with that adorable grin on little arrow. How cute is he! And getting so big so fast. Where does the time go. You are reminding me to cherish every second.

    1. Great tips even if you are just staying at home or have out of town guests taking up every room in your house, like I do this week :-)

  3. Little Arrow is way too cute in that bathtub! I hear you on the heat-we wouldn't survive without air conditioning.

  4. That's it...I'm gonna go find a sink big enough for me to sit in and stay cool. I might not look as cute, but at least I won't be sweating.

  5. We LOVE our bummis too! So much better than disposables. Thanks for the great tips.

  6. We experienced an unexpected heat wave like that in Washington one year. No air conditioning there, either. These are all great tips for beating the heat with kids!

  7. Great ideas, all. What a cutie Little Arrow is! I could just eat him up.

    I especially like the suggestion about the baby pool - those things come in handy on the road with little ones.