We had our first BIG family trip in September. It’s safe to say Adam and I were both filled with mixed emotions… excited about a vacation and exploring Washington, but nervous about traveling with toddlers. This was their first flight, and thankfully it was short one.. a way to “test the waters” before we do another family trip, with a longer flight next spring.
If you aren’t too familiar with my girls, let me introduce them… Stella is our oldest. She fits many of the “S” descriptions. Sweet. Sassy. Silly. Smart. She’s also incredibly active and curious. We were nervous how she’d do being couped up on a plane, in a row, in a chair for two and half hours. So, I made sure to pack lots of special surprises, activities, and treats to occupy the time.
Then, there is our little “Landy” or Landyn. She’s a year and a half, and the sweetest peanut. Only, she’s a bit like her big sis and likes to move. PLUS, she’s in the phase where she can’t quite communicate, yet thinks she is big like her sis. You know that phase?! She wants whatever her big sis has, and wants to do whatever big sis is doing. SO, I had to pack as close as I could to Stella’s bag while keeping it age appropriate for Landyn.
Backpacks filled with snacks and surprise activities were a hit. And, from a parent’s standpoint, so simple to do! The Target dollar spot has some cost effective and fun things, AND you don’t have to feel bad about throwing them away if they’re ruined during the trip! We picked crafts, learning games, stickers, and a variety of snacks. If it fits within your budget, we also got each of the girls their own Amazon Kindle Fire Kids Edition and then loaded it with a few of their favorite movies and tv shows (ie Doc McStuffins, Bubble Guppies, The Little Mermaid, etc.) *Sidenote: The kids edition of the Kindle comes with a 2 yr, worry free warranty (aka no questions asked!) and what they call “Freetime” for streaming movies/shows. Worth it!!!
You can also pack their favorite sippy cups or bottles, empty, to then fill once through security check points at the airport. The sippy cups with water/juice/milk made take offs and landings much more comfortable and gave a sense of familiarity. Another trick (or treat) for take off and landing was gummy bears! It gave them something to chew on, plus it was exciting and special, during those tough moments where the ears needed the help to pop, without giving them gum.
Another thing we discovered that made the whole being away from home, in a new environment, a lot easier was to find local parks. Kids like to be outdoors and active. Especially ours! Our girls have never been the kind to just sit for long periods of time, playing with a toy, or lounging to watch tv. They love to be on the go and in motion. (Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!) So, we had a blast exploring and finding different local parks around Mt. Vernon and Seattle, Washington. The girls got to burn their energy each day, and it gave us some sanity to not have kids with a form of cabin fever!
Our flight home took off in the early afternoon, so we found the coolest park we’d EVER been to in Seattle and played hard! (I’m talking zip lines, crazy slides, rock climbing hexagons, etc!) The timing worked out perfectly to wrap up some playtime, then head to the airport, check in, have some lunch, and then up and away we were. Both girls feel asleep at takeoff, and slept 2/3 of the flight. Praise Jesus! It was awesome.
So, our biggest tips:
- Stock up on new (inexpensive) activities and toys
- Have a variety of snacks (some that are special treats) ready
- FIND PARKS OR OUTDOOR PLACES TO BURN OFF ENERGY!
- Hope for the best, be prepared for ANYTHING!
- ENJOY YOURSELVES AND REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE MAKING FAMILY MEMORIES!
What traveling tips do you have?? Comment below, I’d love to hear! We have another trip coming up next spring, so this mama could use all the ideas she can get!