We are home. We successfully travelled to South Dakota with SIX people (including a 6-month-old) TWICE in about a month’s time. That would be: ten total connections, eight total checked bags, approximately six total carry-ons, one diaper bag, a stroller, a purse, and a partridge in a pear tree. I’m sure we looked like a pack of gypsies on our way to a better life, but honestly, it was not that bad. We had to run to one connection and we only had 10 minutes to spare, but we made it. Other than that, there were really no major setbacks…on either trip.
I know traveling with kids can be stressful. No wait…traveling with kids is stressful. BUT it can be done. While we were traveling, I was compiling a little list of things that I’ve noticed help things go faster and easier so I could share them with any of you brave souls getting ready to face the airport with wee ones.
1. Take a stroller if you have little legs with you. Seriously its so much easier. You don’t have to pay extra (we travel primarily with Delta and they don’t charge for gate checked items). They will take the stroller for you at the gate and have it for you when you get off the plane. Make sure its one that folds up though. You can use the bottom compartment for your purse or extra bags.
2. Do not pack carry-ons for your little kids. First, do they ever really do any of the fun things you packed? Second, you are going to end up carrying that sucker. Guaranteed. What we do is Jarrod and I have a carry on. These last two trips we let Noah take his own because he can carry it without getting tired, but we do make sure and check that he’s not packing a set of encyclopedias. That’s important. So in our carry on bags we stick in a few little snacks (like granola bars or fruit leathers), a book or sticker book, and a game (like a DS or whatever they’re called). That’s it. Pack light.
3. Use a passport carrier. Just basically a little wallet thing to hold your license and boarding passes for everybody. So much easier than trying to pull it out of your wallet every time. Something like THIS would work well.
4. For formula users: I use the powder for Vera. Enfamil makes these great little pouches that hold 4oz. of formula each. I just pack those with several empty bottles. The last thing I want is a bag weighing me down, so I just get water at the airport. I either buy a cold bottled water and have a restaurant give me a cup of piping hot water to stick it in and warm it up OR I fill the bottle with 1/2 cold water and 1/2 piping hot and it usually comes out just right.
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5. Dress comfortably, but cute. Let’s be reasonable here, ladies–we want to look cute, but nothing is going to put us over the edge more than a pair of jeans too loose in the waist showing off our you-know-what everytime we sit down or a pair of shoes giving us blisters while we high-tail it through the airport with 15 kids. So maybe something like: a pair of leggings, boots, and a comfy sweater with a t-shirt under it that’s presentable enough if we start having a hot flash and need to remove the sweater. We still want to look cute, after all, because there’s nothing cool about the guy in the perfectly tailored suit giving you the stink eye while you clean spit up off your stained sweat suit…save that for the homestead.
I also wanted to add a list of some tips from one of my awesome sponsors: Little Passports. They have some great ideas for traveling with kids in the car. Here’s what they said:
Making the best of a road trip with Little Passports Travel Tips
“Are we there yet?” was a term coined by the family road trip! While new technology and toys may have silenced backseat conversations, spending time together in the car can still be a great opportunity for family bonding and learning. Even if you plan on bringing the latest gadget to pass the time, try saving them for the end of your trip when everyone is tired and cranky!
Here are some ideas from Little Passports
that are sure to make the time fly by (or at least go by a little faster):
Save your most recent Little Passports delivery from Sam and Sofia for your road trip so your kids to learn and explore during the car ride.
Say goodbye to your trusted GPS! Bring back the memory of car trips as a kid and use a map! The night before your trip bring out an actual map (if you can find one!) to show your intended route to your child. Even better, copy the map and pull out a highlighter so your child can follow along – and let you know when you missed a turn.
Build in time for pit stops – and if time allows, make short stops that incorporate fun activities along the way. Everyone will need a bathroom break and a meal, but if that happens at a place right off the highway and near playground it can be better for everyone! The kids will get fed – and burn off some energy.
Hit up a dollar store before you leave and stock up on small toys and activities to give to your kids along the way. Every hour let your child choose a surprise – a great incentive for good behavior! You can even wrap the toys for an added element of excitement.
Use this link to make your next road trip educational: Little Passports Travel Tips
So there you have it folks, by car or plane, you can do this!!
Enjoy your long weekend and I’ll be back on Monday to share about our trip to South Dakota.