Last week was our first long family trip with two kids. We’ve taken the short 4-hour drive to Nashville with both kids, but we haven’t taken a full-fledged trip since our last vacation (which was when we had only 1 kid). I asked around the Twitterverse and FB-union for some tips on traveling with kids and got a couple suggestions. The rest was up to us to figure out on our own, and we did. I will, in turn, pass along what I recommend.
- The oldest is 8 and the baby is 18 months … there are none in between, so we have a huge age difference to contend with.
- The baby is what one might call “high maintenance” – she is demanding, picky, and can throw a tantrum better than any 2 or 3 year-old I’ve ever seen.
- The trip required two early wake-up calls – as in 4am and 5am!
- Two airplane rides in one day with a toddler – doesn’t that sound fun?
- One of the planes was an 18-passenger tin can with no beverage service, much less a bathroom. (Of course we wouldn’t know about this challenge until after we were about to board.)
Tips from Others
- My friend Irene (@notsusiehomemkr) recommended ring pops … (doesn’t work for me since I try to avoid giving candy, but may for someone else)
- My cousin suggested the ABC game (great for kids who know their ABCs)
As you can tell, I didn’t get a ton of ideas from the world-wide web. So, it was up to me and the hub to figure it out. If you know anything about my family, you know that by “me and the hub” I really mean “me” because the hub got back in town only a few hours before we had to get up to catch the first flight. So …
Our Top 10 Tips for Traveling with Kids
- Early AM flights are actually a good thing – tired kids sleep on airplanes
- Wheel Easy Car Seat Travel Bag is perfect for toting along the car seat to check with baggage (there are a number of other options out there, but I found this was the most reasonably priced option for our travel needs)
- Pack a small bag for the oldest to carry-on filled with all-age activities (a pad of paper, Crayola Twistable crayons, Play-doh, Rubik’s cube, and finger puppets filled our bag)
- Have a change of clothes for each person in a carry-on. Fold each item in 1/2 and roll to avoid wrinkles.
- Bring along a diaper bag for the little one, but have your diapers delivered to your destination ahead of time using a service like diapers.com.
- Dress everyone in layers: We left Atlanta at 6am and it was about 75 degrees and humid. The plane was comfortable. We landed in Denver to 59 degrees and breezy. Then we got on a hot little airplane to get to South Dakota, where it was 89 degrees but windy. On the way home, it was FREEZING on the airplane, then warm in Denver, comfortable on airplane #2 and then HOT in Atlanta. Layers, people.
- Nurse that baby on the plane. I cannot emphasize it enough – their little ears have the hardest time with the pressure changes. There were 2 babies other than ours on the plane at one point – I nursed, they didn’t. Guess who’s baby was screaming? (Hint: it wasn’t mine.)
- Have to take more than 1 flight? Schedule yours so that your layover is about 2-3 hours. This gives the kids time to wander the airport, stretch their legs, get a snack, go to the bathroom, and play for a bit. And then take a nap on the next flight.
- Different time zone? Try to keep everyone on the time zone in which you’re accustomed – this is only reasonable if you’re only an hour or two off.
- Relax. Being uptight about every. little. thing. makes the trip stressful and difficult to enjoy. Every moment doesn’t need to be planned. There are bound to be hiccups that will throw things off a little. It is ok. Enjoy it.
Do you have other tips that I should have mentioned?
P.S. – Here are a few of my favorite farm-country pics from our trip:
Hurried Homemaker was in no way compensated for this post. We are actual customers of all products/companies mentioned above.