Well, we did it. We managed to fly across the country with two kids two and under and lived to tell about it. We had a great time visiting with family and friends and even managed to sneak in a "date night" which truly made our trip feel more like a vacation and less like for-the-love-of-god-why-did-we-bring-the-kids?
The boys absolutely exceeded my expectations on many travel fronts. They behaved impeccably well on both flights and adjusted with minimal meltdowns to the three hour time difference.
That being said, I did learn a few things on our trip and what kind of friend would I be if I didn't share them with you? Here are the Top 5 Lessons Learned While Traveling With Kids:
4. Pace the fun. When traveling by air and faced with 5 hours of in-flight time, be sure to rotate your toy and snack options wisely. Don't give up the good stuff early. Chances are you'll need to keep a few tricks up your sleeve around hour marker three point five. Two words: Tootsie pops. Or if you're like me and own an iPad, prior to your trip, spend approximately half of your children's college savings on new movies and apps.
3. There is no such thing as "over-packing" when it comes to packing for your kids. Inevitably that extra shirt will get messy, those extra pants muddy and just like at home, you will lose baby socks. Less is not more when it comes to packing for your kids. More is more and sometimes then, not enough, and you want to make sure you're prepared for anything and everything.
2. There is a reason you can buy alcohol on the plane. Take advantage of it. If nothing else, it will drown out your child's eardrum-bursting shrieks. If your child continues to shriek, encourage others around you to start drinking too and tell them it's on you. Of note: alcohol consumption also works when traveling solo and it is not your baby that is doing the shrieking.
1. Remember, you're making memories. If nothing else, this type of "vacation" will leave you wondering why you so badly wanted to travel with your children in the first place. Sleep schedules thrown off? You're making memories. Both kids come down with colds just two days into your trip? You're making memories. Also? Take plenty of pictures. This way you can look at them for a good reminder when your memory evades you and you begin to feel that travel itch again.
Speaking of "the itch," we feel it but I can say for certain that our next trip? Will be adults only. Bring on the Mai Tai's.