I have a lot of people ask me how I travel with a baby or toddler. How do I still see the sights we want to check out when we have naps, feedings and just plan “out of sorts baby” to deal with? Well, it all starts with a small square sticky note…AKA a Post-It.

Here’s what you do: 

  • Grab a Post-It Note or some other sort of sticky note
  • Stick it on cover of your guidebook, travel folder, whatever you are using.
  • Write down the places that interest you and you hope to visit
  • Have one column for “Must See” and a second column for “Added Sights”
  • Bring the sticky note with you on your trip. Tuck it in your guidebook, your wallet, wherever you can access it quickly and easily, and not lose it. Copy it into your phone notes if you need to.
  • Voila! You’re done.

Still not on board? Ok, here is the how and why of what I do:

Mike and I always have a mental list of the things we really want to see. Many times it is why we picked a specific destination. We do our research ahead of time and narrow down our Must-Sees to one thing per day. Then we have a small secondary list of things we would like to get to, but it won’t be the end of the world if we miss them.

I plan out our days seeing the most important things first and working our way down. This way if we don’t hit number 5 of our Must-Sees we still got to see our Top 4. If something on our secondary list is close by we will try to sneak it in.

This is not a perfect system by any means, but it does give us a jumping off point each day. Instead of wasting time every morning, like we did pre-baby, we now know our plan and can get out the door accordingly. We have had to postpone due to weather, the cry for extra naps or even the need for Mike and I to get a little down time. This is all OK. It is part of travel whether you have a kid or not.

Most importantly we leave room for the unexpected. More often than not we will get sidetracked by something we never even knew about but is so much cooler than what the guidebook told us to do. Or we stop to have a meal and realize it is one of the best meals we have ever had and we want to savor the moment. This may mean skipping a museum. OK, so we throw a walk down a side street into our day instead. It will probably take us to an even better place than we thought we were headed to anyway.

Above all, we make sure we are having fun. We use our Post-It note as a guide when we feel lost as to what to do, but we are not locked into it. Some locations have so much going on that it can be daunting to make a decision. In these cases we work on our list and see where it takes us. If we are enjoying the ride, we just go with it.

How do you plan your trips? Got a favorite app, notebook, margin of a guidebook book, doodle on your iPhone or even your own sticky note? Tell me about it.