Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mommy Tip #2 - Traveling

Well I made my first trip to Wisconsin by myself with both kids and it went extremely well! Roy loves having his own seat now and this time we didn't drag the carseat on board so he was able to sit in the big boy seat. He calls it a 'big boy pilot seat'. Lilli moved around constantly but was very well behaved except for a few minutes when she was just exhausted and we hit some turbulence, thankfully that plane was really noisy so I hope we didn't disturb too many passengers.

I did several things to try to keep this trip smooth here are some things that I thought helped the situation:

-bring a stroller with storage space - I had the choice between our umbrella stroller (not much storage underneath) and our Graco (a decent sized storage basket) and am glad I chose the Graco so I didn't have to carry our diaper bag and jackets everywhere we went it made running through the airport to make our connection a bit easier. And since no matter what stroller I brought I would have to gate check it, it didn't really matter that it was a bit bigger.

-stock up on "prizes" from the dollar store - I got this idea from a parenting magazine a while back and first did it with Roy when he was about 19 months old. Go the the dollar store and buy a bunch of goofy little toys and wrap them up for your child to open during traveling. My kids each got a prize when we got on the first airplane, after lunch in the airport, while we were waiting for the second airplane, and while we were in the air on our second airplane. The unwrapping part takes up some time so don't forget that part! My kids' favorites were a sticker book with stickers, a mini magna-doodle, and some little search and find books. Roy's favorite was Go-Fish, he really loves games and had never played before so it took up a lot of time in the airport.

-if you're unsure of the listening ability of your toddler, get a leash :o) - I swore I would never put my children in a leash but desperate times call for desperate measures and I was glad I had it. Lilli is a very independent child who loves to do things for herself. If her independence is taken away she is very vocal about her disappointment, so keeping her in control was crucial for our sanity on this trip. I knew she would want to walk and that Roy would want to ride in the stroller so the leash was perfect! It was a puppy backpack thing from Wal-Mart and was less than $10. She liked helping put the buckles together and held the beginning of her "tail" while I held the end. She only fell a few times for while wanting to go a different direction than me but she quickly learned that wasn't going to work. She became so attached to her little puppy she even wore it when she got home.

-only take one carry-on - It may take some creative packing but I was able to get extra clothes, 4 prizes for each kid, the portable dvd player, a case with dvds, my purse with my wallet and cell phone, some lotion and lip balm, wipes, diapers, wet-ones, and two milks all into my diaper bag. My diaper bag can be worn like a backpack which was great because it gave me both of my arms too!

-don't forget a change of clothes - We have been peed on, puked on and spilled upon many times while traveling. I make sure to pack an extra change of clothes for each kid and have had to resort to buying myself a new shirt once. There seems to be some law of physics where if you pack the extra clothes you won't need them but if you don't pack them you will encounter disaster and maybe some half naked children.

-check your car seats - We have traveling car seat bags for each of our kid's seats and they are amazing. When we get to the airport we just take the seat out, zip it up in the pouch and check it - for free!! Car seats are one of the few things left you can check for free. When packing is tight we've also stuffed the seats with diapers, presents, coats, make-up, and any other extras we can't fit in our suitcases and they still didn't charge us for them. I definitely wouldn't have been able to drag the car seats through the airport by myself.

-traveling toddler car seat strap - If you want to bring your car seat with you and have a rolling carry-on this is the product for you! Traveling Toddler We bought one of these for traveling with all 4 of us. We thought Roy would do best on the plane if he got to sit in his car seat so we brought it with us and used this strap to convert it into a stroller thing. He loved it, wouldn't get out of it, and even fell asleep in it at one point on a long lay over! It takes a little bit of time to adjust the straps but it was worth it for us! (I'll put up a pic of Roy in his car seat at the airport when Josh gets home with his computer.)

Because our family lives so far away we've been flying at least twice a year since we moved here which means Roy has flown at least 7 times and Lilli at least 5. Each time we're on planes or in cars for about 12 hours before reaching our final destination and have learned to pace our selves and our forms of entertainment. So whenever or wherever you do travel just make sure you have a plan before you go and take note from others who have gone before you!

1 comment:

  1. Great tips! Hey, you need a header for your blog. Can I help you make one? I bet you've got a ton of good pictures that could start us off...