I love to travel, the adventure of planes, the new people, sites, and sounds…I love it all, BUT add Kids in the mix and whoa traveling takes on a whole new dimension. Traveling with young children is NOT EASY. Many of you commented that our vacation looked picture perfect, and I didn’t mean to fool anyone, the reality of travel is that it is a tough adventure complete with meltdowns, lots of spills, and stress. The worst meltdown of our adventure occurred in the airport during our layover which was right in the middle of dinner and the bewitching hour. Dawson was deadset on drinking Parker’s chocolate milk without the assistance of his father and threw a full on tantrum, spilled the milk everywhere, etc etc, you get the hellish picture.So now that we have that vision of a picture perfect vacation corrected and out of the way…you are likely reading because you want some sanity saving travel tips for jet-setting with ‘lil ones, so ASK (as a few of you did) and you shall receive. We just finished a trip with our two boys…and they live up to every ounce of the wiggly boy stereotype. These next three photos are from the day we flew home and our attempts to get the wiggles out pre-flight.Car Rentals/Car Seats: I am starting with this topic because it was the BIGGEST improvement for us. If you are planning to rent a car at your destination I highly, highly recommend joining the Emerald Club with National Rental, or something equivalent that lets you skip the line when you arrive and select the car of your choice without waiting at a counter. After a LONnnnnggg day of travel the LAST thing you want to do is wait in ANOTHER line. It was literally life changing, I hate answering all the silly rental counter questions, declining insurance, etc, etc…it is just a hassle. The second game changer was bringing our own carseats. We rented carseats in the past and it just adds one more thing to find and installing a carseat you have never used before is zero fun. Airlines will check your carseat free of charge under the plane and unless you are a miraculous packer you will be checking bags either way so you might as well grab a luggage trolley and bring them with! Flight Entertainment: The obvious entertainment for older kids is a good set of headphones and a kindle or ipad if you allow screen time. The DELTA kids programming was amazing. We try to hold out until mid flight, but our kids are also the ones launching themselves around the gating area while other children are peacefully sitting watching their ipads before boarding, sorry, not sorry 🙂 We purposely have the kids run around as much as possible between flights to get the wiggles out, we rode the escalator a bagillion times. The other random hack that my best friend shared with me before this last trip was to bring a roll of painter’s tape with you on the plane. At the height of desperation my husband and I looked at each other and agreed it was time to get out the tape which I will admit we were skeptical about. The concept is that the tape is fun to stick on plane seats, walls, and trays, basically like a sticker but it is also easy to remove so clean up is a breeze. We got a solid 30min out of the tape and the sideways glaces from our aisle mates was priceless. The new reusable stickers also work excellent.Gear/Packing: Oh the gear, I am not the best to give advice on this one, we packed light on this trip, so light our eldest son only had enough underwear for 3 days and I had a single pair of shorts, what was I thinking?! On the flip side we WAY over packed on diapers and had a month’s supply on hand for a 6 day trip. My one packing tip is to stick to one color pallet so everything can mix and match, my typical go to is Navy (shocker). We also leave the warmest winter jackets at home since they take up too much space and won’t be used once we get to our destination, instead we put the boys in layers that can be used on cool nights. I also pack a roller board carry-on with a fresh set of clothes and bathing suits for everyone in case we have a major spill OR the luggage is lost so we can still have a fun day before dealing with any hassle.
Last but not Least: We traveled Sun-Sat which seemed like the ideal schedule for a getaway with kids. Working full-time it is helpful to have Saturday at home before we left to finish packing; then on the return having Sunday at home to unpack and prepare for heading back to reality is key. Finally, make sure you have Beer and wine awaiting you at home upon your arrive, trust me on this one.We would LOVE to hear your travel tips, what/how/when you pack (yeah, need some serious help there), and how you entertain the natives, please add your comments below & thanks for reading!
Next up, I am working on a round up of our trip to the Grand Cayman Islands; What an amazing island!!