We recently embarked on our very first airline travel adventure with two kids in tow. Last summer we pulled out of our Nixa driveway and headed to Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. It was a 15 hour drive and fairly uneventful. My parents were with us so perhaps the 2:1, adult to child ratio made things seem much more manageable.
In any case, I wanted to just make a few comments about our trip. So many of you were helpful in passing along travel tips. Thought I'd share what worked for us and what didn't.
Overall, it was a good trip. And we'll probably do it again sometime......like in 3 months....for my sister-in-law's wedding in Florida. :)
First I should say...flying, in general, is not what it used to be. So kids or no kids, the whole process is just a hassle anymore. And expensive...increasingly ridiculously expensive.
If you are traveling with younger kids, here are my DO's and DON'Ts
* use a back-pack as your carry-on.
* pack that bag very strategically with outside pockets full of must-haves like pacifiers, antibacterial wipes, small toys, a snack or two, your driver's license and boarding passes.
* check a stroller curb side.
* bring your child's favorite blanket, lovey, or other snuggle item.
* bring a book that you normally read to your child at bedtime. (to trick them into thinking that it's time to sleep!)
* make sure ALL liquids are in ONE spot when you go through security. They tore apart my strategically packed bag because somewhere in some pocket was a container with liquid in it than I forgot all about.
* bring lots of snacks, especially ones that aren't too messy. (fruit snacks, string cheese, granola bars, raisins)
* borrow or buy new toys for the trip. Nothing fancy.... some things from the dollar bin will do. Stickers are very entertaining and easy to pack. :)
* bring a change of clothes for baby AND for you (just an extra shirt for you would probably be fine)
* bring a couple gallon-size ziplock bags for soiled clothes.
* get an extra shot or two of espresso when you order Starbucks during your layover.
* ask to board early (I was surprised this wasn't offered each time...sometimes you have to ask for it)
* wait to exit the plane until after everyone else is off (if your layover allows)
* be prepared for perfect strangers to offer you unsolicited advice : - /
*expect other perfect strangers to be absolute God-sends, placed in your path to help you along and tell you everything is going to be ok.
* get your yourself all in a tizzy. Your kids will pick up on your nervous, flustered state and act out. Go with flow and remain flexible.
* fight with your spouse. By God's grace, Andrew and I did really well. We remained calm, worked as a team and still loved each other when the trip was over! Ha!! You need each other to stay sane through this traveling process. :)
* put anything in the overhead compartment that you're doing to need during the flight.
* expect to sit together as a family. There's only one child oxygen mask per row.
* forget to look around and see that many, many other families are doing exactly what you're doing!
* be surprised that the flight crew isn't as helpful and kind as you would think they would be (yep, there's a story there, but to save Delta's reputation, I'll keep my mouth shut and leave it at that)
*Kudos to Salt Lake City for their many play areas scattered throughout the airport. Caleb LOVED these! It was a great chance for him to burn some energy between flights.
*The concept of a Family Restroom is a genius idea.
*I'm really thankful we haven't said "Bye-Bye Binkie" just yet. They were life-savers during take-off and landing.
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