Saturday, May 14, 2011

Tiny Photo Books and Big Travel

I'm leaving soon on a long journey with Julio!  He and I are going to my brother's wedding in Switzerland.  It will be Julio's first time on an airplane, train, and even in a taxi, and I am so excited about sharing the many adventures ahead with him.

                                                                             The last time I flew: with Joe & Diego in '05

I am a little bit less excited about the 17 hours of airplanes and airports between here and there (and then again a week later when we come home!)  Julio is generally a mellow little guy who likes to stick close to Mama, but I know that this trip will be asking a lot of him.  I need some small, quiet things that will entertain my little 22-month-old travel companion.  I have crayons, a new cup, a favorite blanket, snacks and some small toys.  What else do I need?

After making those tiny blank books the other day, I saw this description on Elsa's book blog of why miniature books became popular in the late 19th Century: "One could carry a vast number of books in a small case for when one travelled."

A light bulb went off!  These would be fun to have on the plane, and they are TINY!  I quickly made some miniature photo books to stash in my backpack.  One has family portraits, one has pictures from our last camping trip, and one has pictures of Julio doing all sorts of things that he loves doing at home.  I made lots of them!  They were so quick to make, and I used packing tape to laminate the pages before I folded and glued them, so they look like tiny, glossy magazines.

What else do I need for traveling with a toddler?  I asked some mom friends who travel a lot, and the advice I've gotten so far is this:

     "Bring one new thing for every hour on the plane.  They can be simple things like a new cup, book or spoon."

     "Bring lots of snacks."

And my favorite, so far:

     "Hand out earplugs and cookies to the people around you as soon as you sit down, 'cause you're going to need some friends!"

I'm really hoping that I'll get some payback for all of the times that I offered to hold and entertain young travelers when I was flying solo.  Have you traveled alone with a little one?  Got any advice for me?


  1. Have a great trip!! I am sure you heard this one before: nurse Julio when the plane takes off and again when you are landing land - it will help with his ears and maybe he will fall asleep and stay asleep for the next 17 hours in your arms! the tiny picture books are a great idea! Nova was really into a small English-German dictionary that my mom had in her purse.

  2. We've traveled a lot with our kids when they were little -- a lot at night! Always by car though. (But that means Mama can't reach them very well.) I'd bring new toys and new crafts. Have you tried stringing cheerios/froot loops on pipe cleaners (I usually don't advocate froot loops, there are probably colored organic equivalents, but we've grown past them). Not too much motor control, and if he puts them in his mouth, he won't choke.

    We spent a lot of time in the car listening to music and singing like crazy people. I second the cookies, for the flight attendants too.

  3. I make these on a lightly larger format and my college age children and their friends love them ...if they send me pictures and stories to go with them and I send back books. It 's a great way to stay in touch from far away

  4. Your soo cool! I'm glad I stumbled upon your blog, I love all your fun ideas & can't wait to try them! :) Michelle

  5. Hi! Love, love your site. I'm your new biggest fan. In the last 24 hours, I've picked up paint chip samples, PVC piping, and felt to get making. For these books, you said you laminated/taped before folding and glueing. Can you explain further? Did you cut individual pieces? Seems it might be harder to fold as a big ol' strip. Thanks! Mia in Berkeley


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