Have Kids. Will Travel: Traveling As A Family Of 52
I recently celebrated a parenting milestone and I’m feeling pretty happy to have it crossed off the list. Last week we flew as a family of 5 for the first time and it wasn’t terrible. The baby is our youngest baby that we’ve flown with I think Ben was a solid 1.5 years old before we attempted boarding him onto an airplane. We were just plain scared at the time. Now I laugh at myself because 2 parents: 1 kid! Why did we stress?
One thing I did differently this time around was to seriously be totally relaxed about everything. I did not dedicate any pre trip time to worrying how things would go down. What if the baby cried the whole time? What if one of the big kids spilled their drink on their lap (that has happened before!) or has a bathroom emergency just as you w are about to land? I just chose not to put my time into worrying how things would go. This frame of mind was a game changer.
Now that I’ve traveled with all 3 of my kids I feel like, ‘bring it on!’. Where else can this passport and credit card take us? We felt pretty confident traveling with all 3 kids as our flight was short and sweet at 3 hours and a direct flight. It was international but it was as easy as it could be and only included a 1 hour time difference. I know both of those helped make things feel easy. I also know that sometimes even the best kids have off days and no matter how you plan things can always go sideways.
I packed some fun things into each of the kids backpack. We make them carry their own backpack when we travel and they are used to it and it helps them gain responsibility by carrying it around. We had books, binoculars and those magic pen colouring books plus my magic go to when traveling, lollipops. It’s like a guaranteed 10 minutes of pretty much quiet.
We also charged up the iPad and loaded it with shows for the big kids. I don’t care if your the parent of the kid who doesn’t usually watch television or shows, traveling on an airplane is not everyday life and it’s the perfect time to let them watch something of your choice. We also make sure the kids have headphones so all the seat mates don’t have to hear about Dora or Pokemon.
This time we skipped bringing a stroller and chose to bring 2 different baby carriers, my soft Baby Buddha carrier that folded up really nicely into my carry on case when I didn’t need it. We also brought our Beco Organic Baby Carrier which went in the checked luggage. I wore the baby through the airport, kept her on during the security check point and took her off once we got into our seats on the plane.
Since I really didn’t want to rent a mini van when we got to our destination we didn’t bring our Uppababy Vista stroller so that we could save on potential trunk space. Now for the record, I do not hate mini vans! I just don’t love driving large, new to me, vehicles in different countries. It’s just my hang up. Plus you save money by renting a car vs. a van. We even brought all 3 car seats with us from Vancouver.
I made sure I had an Aden and Anaise swaddle blanket for the plane. I figured this one out with the last baby. These blankets are seriously so light weight and big that they are perfect for nursing in comfort in tight quarters and also keeping you and baby warm. They fold up so easily to shove back into your carrier on bag when it’s time to get off the plane.
With the baby being on my lap and at the curious age of 7 months old, I was so glad that I wore my stylish yet functional necklace from Mama Gems. The baby did not get bored of chewing it and I loved how it looked. I am absolutely in love with my Monarch necklace from this Vancouver company. I was able to wear it as an actual piece of jewelry during my time away and I felt totally at ease with my baby slobbering all over it while playing in my lap on the plane.
Now that we have unpacked from this last trip I am already day dreaming about where we should go next. Maybe somewhere extra warm and tropical? I’m definitely a fan of direct flights when traveling with kids!
How do you make traveling with kids work for you? Do you have any great tips to add?