January 13, 2021

How to Staycation with a Toddler

As parents, our roles are inherently full of stress and disarray, but to parent through a pandemic surmounts to an unprecedented level of pressure that we all collectively feel. For some families who live in urban spaces with limited access to the safe outdoor play, it’s especially harder with cooped up children.
This post is in partnership with Airbnb. All opinions are of my own.

The idea of travel and vacations have completely changed and a lot of us are looking closer to home to safely get away and find joy in a simple change of scenery. A staycation is a wonderful solution for a family looking for a renewed sense of adventure, while keeping safety and health at top of mind during this pandemic. This year, instead of our annual vacation overseas, I did some research to explore areas that my family can roadtrip to. There’s so many beautiful destinations in our country that we take for granted and there’s no better time to appreciate what we have closer to home than now. We’ve already done a couple staycations in the last few months in homes we found through Airbnb and we’ve felt completely safe while staying in someone’s home, because Airbnb has committed to COVID-19 health and safety standards with enhanced cleaning practices and features like contactless check-ins and flexible booking options. Additionally, I want to share some personal tips in making a family staycation trip safe and successful.
1. Search Airbnb with Airbnb Plus and Superhost filters turned on. Airbnb Plus is a selection of homes that is verified in-person for quality and thoughtful design. They are typically well-equipped with essential amenities and are designed with a guest’s comfort in mind. Superhosts are hosts recognized for their top-rated listings and experience. You’ll have the best staycation experience with these listings! We stayed in an Airbnb Plus home in Lake Arrowhead that also had children’s toys and essentials like a high chair, which is extremely helpful for a traveling family. Also, we loved this Superhost listing in Carmel Valley that was such a child-friendly space and experience with farm life. If child amenities are important to you, don’t forget to also turn on that feature in the Amenities filter! 2. Pack more children’s activities - whether you're going someplace new or familiar, your days will look much different than traveling pre-pandemic. Touring a town, visiting shops and attractions are much more limited, if not completely off limits. Playgrounds and parks may be restricted. You have to plan for spending more time indoors and bringing more activities and toys to keep your child engaged during the day. We’ve packed our foldable Pikler triangle into our car for one staycation. We also have this versatile play mat that turns into a toy sack, which is amazing for toy portability.
3. Invest in a high quality cooler and freezer packs to bring your child's food necessities like milk, snacks, or prepared frozen meals. I've learned not to take our chances on delivery, pick-up, or grocery runs when we're staying somewhere new, because you never know what’s available or nearby, if near at all when you’re somewhere remote. While it’s an additional bag to take, I find that it saves so much stress by preparing some meals ahead of time, just to have on hand in case getting food isn't easy. In my cooler you'll find a few frozen cubes of homemade beef and vegetable stew, a small bag of frozen rice, a small bag of frozen peas, two containers of cut organic fruit like grapes and strawberries, a few sticks of string cheese, a few kids superfood bars, and a thermos of organic whole milk with DHA. This cooler paired with these ice packs keep food frozen for up to 48 hours! I first used this cooler combo when I was traveling and pumping my breast milk for storing and it proved to be an incredible solution. I also prefer packing my son’s personal plate, cup, and utensils since he’s used to eating from those and this will prevent any possible transitional tantrum.
4. Bring your streaming device like your Apple TV or Chromecast, if your listing doesn’t have your preferred streaming service already. This way, we can make sure that our son can still watch his favorite movies on Disney+ when it’s a movie night during our staycation. Since you’re spending most of your time at home, familiar shows, movies, or music will be so helpful, especially when adjusting to a new place. 5. Plan your days ahead of time: this is our biggest adjustment from being the spontaneous and casual types of travelers Kyle and I were. Especially during this pandemic, research restaurants, shops, and activities before the trip to note which ones are open with safety measures, which ones need advance reservations, etc. This will save a lot of stress and headache on the trip. Don’t forget to check out the Experiences tab in Airbnb for fun and safe experiences you can have in person at your destination!
And don’t forget to just breathe, relax, and have fun with your family! We have made some incredible memories during our staycations. We’ve found that our son Jacob actually loves beautiful nature hikes and he loves seeing new animals like chickens and goats, albeit from a distance. I’m grateful that a staycation is something we can all still enjoy together, safe and sound.


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