Our trip has been so far, FABULOUS, and we have had tons of fun with family and friends and even a few BLOGGERS! I will do more trip details later, but as promised, I wanted to post my tips for TRAVELING WITH KIDS!
There is NOTHING like the ego boost of traveling by yourself with small kids. Everyone ooohhhs and aaahhhs at your bravery. For the most part, it REALLY isn't that bad. However, I have learned some serious tricks of the trade. I will share them with you FREE OF CHARGE! You're welcome. These tips probably only work best if you are traveling with a 7, 5, 2 and 4 month old baby though. Keep that in mind and adapt to your own children's ages. But SERIOUSLY! YOU CAN DO IT!
I had one woman who sat behind me and said to her neighbor, "I am just watching this lady with her four kids and I just can't believe how well she is doing!!" (Insert ego boost). I told her it wasn't that bad and she proceeded to tell me that she has to fly to her daughter, pick her and her kids up and fly back with them just to get them to visit! You REALLY don't have to do that people. . REALLY. Here are my best tips for getting through it WITHOUT making someone come and get you!
1. FLY DURING NAP TIME. Now, this can be tricky, because your kid might fall asleep on the way TO the airport, but if you can keep them awake and you know they won't throw a fit in security because they're tired, DO IT. It worked on the way there, but not on the way back. It was still ok on the way back because I . . .
2. BUY YOUR TODDLER HIS/HER OWN SEAT. I know your kids fly free under 2 and Wade is over 2. . but I am almost THANKFUL for the day that I have to buy him a ticket because that means that. .
3. HE WILL BE IN HIS CAR SEAT! Put your toddler in their car seat on the plane. You may think you don't want to haul that buggar down the corridor. Especially if you have an infant with you like I did, but DO IT! It is TOTALLY WORTH IT.
4. One other trick I learned, is CHECK THE STROLLER AND BAGS CURB SIDE. It is worth every penny of the $2 a bag charge they give you, and if you are traveling by yourself with small kids. . IT IS WORTH IT and you DESERVE IT.
5. You might think you want that stroller but. . DON'T BRING A STROLLER IN THROUGH SECURITY. Check it as a bag if you need it, but there is NOTHING worse than having to take everything off that stroller that you stuffed into it just to take it all out at security where you THEN have to fold it up and put it on the conveyor belt. Seriously. If you have a toddler, just let him be. Hold his had until you get to the gate, and then
6. TRAVEL WITH YOUR BABY UNDER 1 YEAR IN A FRONT PACK CARRIER. Seriously. That is what I did with K and it was great because my hands were totally free and she was totally entertained, and it left a hand free to carry Wade's car seat in one had and my bag on my other shoulder or even Wade's hand if I had to. However, I usually relegated that responsibility to Abby. If you are REALLY worried about having to carry that car seat, rent a luggage carrier in the hall. It can also act as an impromptu stroller if you put the car seat on in and then put your kid IN it!
7. TRAVEL AROUND MEAL TIME. We traveled right around lunch and it is a great time kill and keeps your kids in one place if you can feed them right before you get on the plane. In the SLC airport they have little "kiddie playlands" which are great, but, if you are traveling to an airport that doesn't. Just take a lunch, or buy one there. It is worth it to keep them busy and in one place until you are ready to board. It also keeps them from wanting to get their toys out and losing them before you even get on the plane!
8. When you board. . You have to have your toddler in the window seat because that is where their car seat has to be. PUT YOUR TODDLER IN HIS SEAT FIRST! I was lucky to have Abby to hand the baby to when I was putting Wade's seat in, but I put him in, handed him his blankie and binkie and NO TOYS. I wanted him to get the idea there was nothing else to do and so he would just go to sleep. WORKED. :)
9. BRING A VIDEO ON YOUR IPOD. You can rent videos on itunes and it is a great way to keep ONE child (your most difficult i.e. Jaxon) busy on the plane. They have to wait until they are in the air, but, that is ok. . you can usually keep them entertained until then with looking out the windows and watching the plane takes off. NOTE TO MYSELF AND ALL YOU IPOD USERS! IF YOU RENT A VIDEO YOU MUST COMPLETE WATCHING IT IN ONE DAY OR WHEN YOU TURN IT ON AGAIN IT WILL AUTOMATICALLY DELETE!!! I didn't know this and actually still don't know if I really understand it since rentals are SUPPOSED to be like 20 days long, but when I went to turn on the movie on the way back to SLC for Jaxon I couldn't. . . it deleted itself because it had not been watched all the way through. If you know what I am talking about and know a way around it, please leave a comment and TELL ME! Anyway, Ipods are WAY better than bringing a HUGE BULKY video player with you. But remember to down load the day before because sometimes it can take a while and then you have to sync! I learned the ipod trick for THIS trip.
10. oooh ooohh. I forgot one thing. GO TO THE FAMILY BATHROOM BEFORE THE FLIGHT! This is my most favorite activity because it is always mass chaos. Changing TWO diapers and washing at least 4 pairs of hands and all watching each other go is all very exciting but saves you from having to take them on the plane. . which is totally not fun. So, just do it. . it is a good time burn too.
Any other tips and tricks I missed? You can leave them in the comments! I would love to hear YOUR tricks for traveling! If you are reading this post because you googled "How to travel with kids" GOOD LUCK! Will post more vacation details later!