Happy New Year, friends!! I took a brief break from the blog these last couple of weeks to spend some uninterrupted time with family, but I’m happy to be back. If you have been following along on my Instagram, then you probably already know that the Hill family spent the last week of December in New York. It was cold, festive, and fabulous!
I’m usually extremely traditional when it comes to Christmas time – I thoroughly enjoy spending all night getting ready for Christmas morning, and then spending the day in pajamas, drinking way too much coffee, and binge watching all of our new movies. This year however, we decided to change things up and head to the Big Apple. We have always wanted to spend a Christmas in New York, but we also wanted to do something special for JD’s birthday. So we loaded up the troops, hopped on a jet plane, and started our adventure.
Some people thought we were crazy for taking the boys to New York, others thought we were brave – ether way, we had a blast. I’m not saying traveling with toddlers is easy, but for our family, travel is important, so we make it work. While we were sharing our vacation on Snapchat (amberlynnehill) and Insta Stories, we got a few questions about what to do in New York with toddlers, along with some of our must have items. So I have put together a brief list of some to do’s, and a few things that we always take when traveling with the boys.
New York Musts:
- Carriage Ride in Central Park. The first big thing we did in New York was take the boys for a carriage ride around Central Park. I booked ours ahead of time, because I didn’t know how crazy things were going to be with everyone traveling to the city for the holidays. I wouldn’t say it was necessary, but when traveling with young kids, I believe reserving and scheduling as much as possible so that you can avoid waiting in lines. It was pretty cold, but Noah loved “riding a horse” and traveling around the park. It was a great way to see a large portion of the park, and a unique experience that was easy with the kids.
- M&M store in Times Square. We let our kids have candy sparingly, but I knew the boys would love getting to go to this massive candy store to pick out their own M&M’s. Times Square wasn’t far from our hotel, so we walked the whole way and took in the sights of all of the lights. There was an unexpected line to get into the store, but it moved quickly. To see Noah’s face light up when we filled up our bag with all blue M&M’s was totally worth the crowd.
- Saks off 5th Avenue and Rockefeller Center. When we went, it was spur of the moment and cold, so the boys weren’t as overly excited about the experience. If we would have better planned the outing, I think they would have enjoyed it more, because Saks puts on an insane light and music show that I could watch all day long.
- American Museum of Natural History. This one is totally self-explanatory. I’ve dreamed about going to this museum forever, and it did not disappoint. It was a bit difficult, because there were so many people there. But we did get to see the dinosaurs and animals, which is all the boys cared about seeing. My biggest tip for the museum with kids would be to leave the stroller, and check your coats. There are a ton of stairs, and waiting for the elevator takes forever. All-in-all, this was probably their favorite part of the trip.
- Serendipity. The only way I can recommend checking out Serendipity is by making a reservation. I scheduled our reservation a couple of weeks in advance, because I really wanted to see what all the fuss was about over this frozen hot chocolate. Honestly, it was super tasty, and their food was actually really good. The boys were thrilled that we were going out for ice cream, and the environment was definitely something special. One thing you need to know before you go, they do not have high chairs or booster seats. I purchased the phil&teds Lobster High Chair for Emmett to use, and Noah just sat in a regular seat. The high chair was super easy to carry, and simple to use.
Travel Must Haves:
- SNACKS. Lots and lots of snacks.
- The iPad. I get that some people don’t let their kids watch TV, and I think that’s amazing. But our kids aren’t making a three hour flight without some movie choices. We scheduled our flights when the boys would usually sleep, but they were completely uninterested in taking a snooze. iPad to the rescue!
- Crib Bumper. This is another split parenting topic, but we have always used a bumper in our boy’s beds. On the few occasions that we have forgotten our bumper at home, it took Emmett forever to fall asleep. While it takes up quite a bit of room in our suitcase, I refuse to travel without it.
- Potty Seat. When we went to the Gaylord for an overnight stay, Noah really had to poo. We had forgotten his potty seat at home, and he had the worst time relaxing enough to go to the bathroom while we held him up. So I wiped that bad boy down, tossed it in a trash bag, and we had a Noah-sized rubber ring ready to use whenever we needed to transform our hotel potty. *Side note: We also pack solo cups in my backpack for emergency pee situations. I read about carrying solo cups in the potty training book that I read, and I have to say LIFE SAVER.
- White Noise App. We all sleep with box fans at home, and if there is anything hotel rooms have in common, it’s that they are awkwardly quite at night.
- Sanitizer. I like to buy the little sanitizers that you can attach to things, like my backpack and stroller. Little hands touching all kinds of things while traveling need immediate sanitation!
- Ziplock Bags. I plan out the boys outfits in advance and put them into individual ziplock bags. Once they wear the outfit, I use them for really dirty clothes, hygiene products, or wet items.
- Backpack Leash. I get it, some people have a visceral reaction when they see kids wearing a leash, but I would have to say to those people, “You clearly have never lost a child in a public place.” We brought one for each of the boys, because for the most part, our stroller stayed in our hotel. The boys love to walk, and we wanted peace of mind that they wouldn’t get scooped up or wander off. Noah did fantastic and never had to wear his, but Emmett (who isn’t two yet) wore his regularly. Here is a link for the ones we ordered: Bear and Elephant. The boys love theirs and carry them around all of the time because of the animals. I also really like these in particular, because they have a handy zipper pocket that you can store some snacks in.
Because the boys were sick, I also packed our own medicine, kleenex, and a snot sucker just to make life a little easier.
It rained a little while we were there, and on those days we did a lot of snuggling and ordering in food which was actually great for all of us, because sometimes you just need a brain reset from all of the stimulation. We were sad to leave, but super glad to be back at home sleeping in our own beds in a normal size living space. I hope everyone else had a wonderful Christmas break, and cheers to a new year! XO!