Thursday, 1 March 2018

Tips for travelling with kids (and saving your sanity)




We recently took a family vacation that required us to travel on a plane and let me tell you friends, I was pretty darn anxious about it!

We've actually never travelled with either of the boys anywhere longer than 3 days...and the furthest we've travelled with them is 2 hours away. So, this was kind of a big deal to go on a plane with both AND to be going somewhere for a full week! This was also hubs and I's first week long trip since our honeymoon, so we were all pretty pumped to say the least.

Pumped annnnnd super anxious about the idea of taking a 1.5 year old and a 4 year old on a plane. To be honest, I'm not the adventurous type. The boys actually won this vacation (remember my story about the littlest being the Boss Baby Contest winner?! Well, this trip was the prize!), otherwise we likely would have gone to a local beach and called it a day! So I pulled out all the stops when it came to preparing for this trip...and the plane.

Overall, we had an incredible time. This was our first vacation that didn't involve anyone getting super sick or ending up in a hospital so IMO, it really couldn't have gone better. We used a bunch of tricks to help with the plane ride and keep the kiddos entertained while we were there so here are my top tips of what worked best for us.



Plane Ride:
- Look into a "kids club" if your airline offers this service. Our airline automatically enrolled our oldest (4 years old) into the club and it got him free snacks (GIVE ME ALL THE SNACKS), and a bunch of other goodies for the plane ride.
*If you have the option to pre-select your seats (you need to call early enough), you may have the option to get a row with extra legroom. Ask for it, if they don't suggest it. Seriously, it made a big difference with 2 kids and a 1.5 year old who wanted to stand (and occasionally dance) on the plane.

- Bring new/exciting things for the plane. I literally went to the dollarstore and bought a ton of small things for the boys to read/do on the plane. A brilliant friend of mine suggested individually wrapping each one, and although I wasn't thrilled with having to individually wrap 15-20 little trinkets, it actually made a world of difference. Each toy became a "gift" and just the process of unwrapping took up extra time for C on the plane. I bought books, puzzles, a few cars/toys and some crafts. Don't forget to wrap stuff for the way there AND the way back. I saved the wrapped items for the way back, in my suitcase so they were a surprise for that flight. Also, the one thing that kept C the busiest was actually a kindergarten math workbook (I have NO clue where the math gene came from!?!).

- SNACKS. Honestly, pack a ton. Based on our flight times the boys were up at 2:00am on the way to the airport and the coffee shop at the airport didn't open early enough for our flight. The flight didn't arrive at our destination until 12:00 so missing breakfast AND lunch wasn't an option. I packed a bag of snacks for my carry-on, and made sure to pack a second bag for the trip home (along with the billion snacks I packed for while we were there).

- Backpacks. I bought each of the boys their own special backpack for the trip, so they were responsible for carrying around their toys/stuffies/entertainment. Lets be honest, I have no idea how parents can fit all of their kids belongings into those mini suitcases that kids carry (we used one large suitcase, shared for both boys), but the backpacks made them feel like they were still helping.

- Media. Ok so both hubs and I have been hesitant about the boys having a tablet (just our personal choice) until they are older, but a plane ride really makes you throw all your rules out the window. We actually went and bought a tablet specifically to bring on the trip, since we didn't have one, and to be very honest, we barely used it. I think since the boys aren't used to using one, they didn't realise what they were missing (plus the tablet died day 2 into the trip so that didn't help). We also brought a bunch of movies/tv shows for the hotel room, since when the youngest was napping we had the oldest take some quiet time. If you do bring a tablet, make sure you get one of those tablet holder things for kids (lifesaver). We also bought each kid a set of headphones. They actually just liked wearing them around...not actually plugged into anything.

All these things made the plan ride go surprisingly very well. Both of us were pretty nervous about it, but the boys were super well behaved and even received a really nice compliment from an older couple on the plane. Parenting WIN.



During the trip:
- Stroller. We debated on bringing a stroller and which one to bring, but in the end we brought our middle of the road stroller with us. Its a Peg Perego Book Plus, so its not big or heavy, folds up very easily and also fully reclines (KEY!) for when the little guy needed to nap. The littlest would sleep in it every evening while we took C to the "kids show" at 8:00pm.  Important tip- DONT FORGET YOUR STROLLER AT THE AIRPORT! We'd never travelled with a stroller before and the stress of being in a new country and dealing with 2 tired kids just totally distracted us from going to find the stroller. (Side note: it took 2 days and LOTS of front desk trips, but we did get it back).

- See if your hotel has a "baby club". The resort we stayed at was very family friendly and actually had a baby club, that stocked baby food, milk, snacks, etc. Although we really only benefitted from the snacks we actually took a jar of baby food and used the empty jar for C's keepsake/memory jar. He put some sand it in and a few shells to bring home. Which brings me to my next tip...

- Bring a jar or container for your kiddos to use as memory/treasure keepers. You know what also works really well for this? A small Pringles container. Airlines always seem to have Pringles as a snack option. Keep the empty container and you can store shells, or treasures the kids find in there easily and they wont be crushed in your luggage. Otherwise an empty baby food jar (or a sippy cup!) works really well for this too.

- Beach toys. If you are going somewhere warm don't forget to pack a few sand/pool toys. We brought a few dollarstore toys (they literally had none when I looked), but anything inflatable is your friend. We also brought a lifejacket and a set of water wings and used them daily. They sold these options at the resort, but you don't even want to know how much they were charging. I probably could have almost bought an actual alligator for the same price as the inflatable alligator toy at the resort.

- Food. Bring ALL THE SNACKS, sippy cups (and also travel mugs for mom and dad beverages), and then pack more. We ended up giving the kids little boxes of cereal for snacks we took from the breakfast buffet since we had to start rationing our snacks at literally day 4.

- Bring a small tupperware container filled with some laundry detergent...and like a billion outfits for the kids. Dirt literally jumps onto them. Enough said.

So there you go. Some of my top tips for travelling with the kiddos. Safe travels my friends!


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