Travel Preparations for Young Families

I mentioned that we’re getting ready for a complicated journey to two weddings. We’ve got a 5-year-old, a 2-year-old, and a 6-week-old baby. Even generating a packing list took all of my concentration over the course of several days. Since I already had diapers sent ahead and arranged for a pack-n-play to be in our hotel room, I wanted to share what else I’ve been doing to try to make the trip go smoothly.106089018_078d03d0d6_m

First, I made an extremely detailed packing list. If I don’t have “drivers license” written on the list, I’m not sure I’ll remember to bring it. My brain is so frazzled and sleep deprived! I can’t count on myself to remember anything right now. Then, I showed the list to my friend, who gets plenty of sleep, to see if she thinks it seems complete.

Then came all the laundry. So much laundry was involved in packing these bags! We have decided not to check anything, because that costs a zillion dollars, so while I was waiting for the washer to spin, I got all my liquids or quasi-liquids into a quart bag for easier tossing onto the security belt. When I bought snacks, I avoided anything that seemed like a liquid.

I read some other sites with tips for traveling with youngsters, but none of these tip-givers seem to have more than one child. “Sit separately so you and your partner can trade off the kiddo and one of you take a nap” doesn’t work when your family is so big you can’t even all sit in the same row! I ended up calling the airline for advice and arranged our seats so I am sitting with my infant and kindergartener and my husband is in front of us with the toddler.

I’ve been prepping the big kid that he will wear his backpack, which will hold his inhalers and the iPad, and be in charge of pulling one rolling suitcase, to which we will jigger his carseat using the latch hooks and the tether. I plan to wear the baby on my front and a stuffed-with-diapers-and-snacks backpack on my back. I will have a hand free to wrangle the toddler, who is in charge of only his baby doll. My husband will pull another rolling bag with the toddler’s seat jiggered to it, lug along the bucket seat (we’ll just do a seatbelt install on the bucket–no base!), and probably wear his own backpack. Our fancy clothes will probably be a bit rumpled when we get to St. Louis. So be it–hotels have irons!

(Actually, I’ll be updating more about this later, but my dress won’t be rumpled because of the wonderful wrinkle-proof material.)

I’ve got copies of all the kids’ birth certificates printed out and I bought them some silly putty and plastic worms at a dollar store. We have new-to-us issues of Ranger Rick Jr. for the plane and gummy worms as bribes for calm behavior in the security line. My husband has been made aware of the extreme importance of arriving at the airport with enough time for me to get a very large mocha once we’re through security. Plus time for me to use the bathroom before boarding. Use the bathroom by myself, that is. What a treat, even in a dirty airport bathroom, am I right?

The last time we flew, my boys fought each other over empty cups from the drink cart, so between those and the Sky Mall catalogue, I feel ok that I’m not bringing any toys for them. If memory serves again, the excitement of the rental minivan will keep them entertained for hours. Failing that, I’ve loaded the iPad with apps and videos that don’t require an Internet connection.

At this point, I’ve done all I can do to prepare logistically. All that remains is for me to surrender myself to the idea that all three of the kids will pee and poop during takeoff, that we will arrive stinky and covered in somebody’s spitup, and that nobody is going to sleep more than an hour at a time. If I just accept this in advance, it won’t surprise me as much when it all happens. I’ll see you on the other end to let you know how it went!

Have you flown recently with a new baby and other young kids? Leave us a comment to share your experience!

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