If there is anyone who I can ask about traveling with kids, it’s gotta be Trina McNeilly of La La Lovely. Just like my guest from yesterday, I also met this gal at Alt Summit a few months back. We shared a cab ride together to the hotel and I remembered asking her whether or not if she had kids. In my mind, I didn’t think she would have more than two. Yes, I totally judged her by how little wrinkles she had around her eyes and how well put together she was! When Trina told me that she has not one, not two, not three, but FOUR kids, I was shocked! I thought it was already hard enough to blog with one baby, but Trina is able to do it with four and her blog is nothing but – Lovely! How does she do it? I have no freakin’ idea – perhaps I need to save that for another blog post. But today, she will share with us her tips and advice on traveling with kids. With the summer coming up, I thought this would be helpful to many young families on my Mini+Me column . It certainly does for my trip right now.
Take it away, Trina!
Traveling with kids doesn’t always go according to plan. Sometimes it goes way worse than expected and, surprisingly, sometimes it goes better. Honestly, traveling with kids differs for everyone. But, however you put it, or plan it out, it is not an easy task.
I’ve come to the conclusion, 9 years and 4 kids later, that it basically comes down to luck and money. Not what you wanted to hear right? Luck if you have a well tempered little one (s). Luck if you happen to get the right ticket agent who will hook you up. Luck if the flight is not full and you can stretch out over a couple of seats. Luck if you have no delays or hiccups. Money, you ask? Well, money, can buy you lots of things, like extra seats, traveling nannies or flying private, which of course would be the ultimate easiest way to travel with kids. Yes, I know, very far fetched but I’m just speaking the truth. You drive your car right up to the plane. Load anything and everything you want on the plane. You can stretch and roam about and eat catered food. Your kids can even talk to the pilots and see what goes on in the cockpit. Then the nice pilots land the plane. Open the door and viola your car awaits you and you’re off. And this pretty much would explain how Brand and Angelina can travel the world with 6 kids often and easily (that and add in a couple of nannies + an entire staff). Ok, now back to reality.
The best advice is to be prepared…having a plan is key. Although, be prepared that the plan may not always go “as planned.” After 9 years of traveling with little ones, I’ve learned a few things along the way:
01/ Technology. Load those iPads / iPods up and let them roll. Be sure to bring earphones that work with small little ears (ones that you wear like a headband and cover the entire ear have worked best for us). My faves are Earphones by Califone. I also love iGuy Case by Speck.
02 / Snacks . Bring lots of snacks + then some. Whatever it takes, yes, even candy (suckers last a long time).
03 /Change of Clothes. I forgot a change of clothes once (duh) and of course, my then, 8 month old, had an explosion. Thank God it was summer time + a short flight. He ended up wearing a slightly stained white onsie. These things happen, try to laugh it off.
04 / Pain Reliever. I don’t know if people still give their kids a little “something” when flying, but I always bring a little Tylenol for sensitive ears (do you?). Gum is also a great idea for, older kids, for take off and landings.
05 / Coloring / Craft . Ok, you know you want to bring something like this. Go ahead and do it. I recommend Crayola Color Wonder coloring books + markers (no mess). However, prepared to pull the iPad back out after about 3.4 minutes.
06/ Bottles. If you are still nursing or bottle feeding, bring enough milk (or plan to nurse) for take off and landing and extra for in between. The swallowing helps babies ears when you are climbing in altitude. Bottles by Lifefactory are tops with me.
07 / Buy an Extra Seat. Here is where money and luck comes in. If money is not an issue, by all means, buy an extra seat for your baby. You might not have the best luck and may end up squished between two people with baby screaming on your lap.
Although traveling with children can be hard and, yes, very tiresome. In the end, it is worth it. Hours of pain traded for days of fun. And lets not forget, memories that last a lifetime. Yes, even those travel nightmares end up being some of the funniest memories and most told stories.
Links: Earphones by Califone / Bottles by Lifefactory / iPad / iGuy Case by Speck / Backpack by MadPax – coolest backpacks around / Annie’s Fruit Snack / Crayola Color Wonder Products / Change of Clothes – outfit by Splendid