Thursday, September 8, 2016

Traveling with Children


It's a long established fact that I have 3 kids. I try to forget this fact from time to time, but it's unavoidable. Traveling is something Mr. Mayer and I have always liked to do. We don't let having kids hinder that. However, there are some logistics involved when traveling with kids that you don't consider when traveling alone. Mainly-survival. How on earth am I going to survive a long trip with my kids?! When you travel alone (or in my case with Mr. Mayer) you pack your bag and saunter to the airport. Flight delay? No problem! Long flight? No problem! I have a book/Facebook/Internet/Etc. Traveling with my children that first concern is packing. I have learned that staying somewhere with a washer and dryer is essential. Especially with 3 kids. Being able to do laundry during your trip cuts back on the amount you have to pack immensely. We recently went to Disney World and stayed at Animal Kingdom Kidani Village. Our room was equipped with a washer, dryer and small kitchen. I only packed each family member 3 changes of clothes plus what we wore to the airport and swimsuits. I packed 5 people for 7 days in two suitcases. I packed snacks, drinks, clothes, swimsuits, toiletries, shoes and Mr. Mayer's running stuff (he's training for a marathon) in two suitcases. As a reformed over packer I am very proud of this feat. Another perk to our stay was that we could "pre order" groceries. I sent in a grocery list ahead of our stay and when we arrived they had the kitchen stocked with my order. We were able to eat breakfast in our room each day and had plenty of drinks and snacks on hand which saved some $$ in the long run.
The second concern I always have when traveling with my children is the actual travel. Last year was our first year to take #2 and #3 on an airplane. We had taken #1 several times and she is a champion flier. I wasn't sure how the twin tornadoes were going to do. I considered buying earplugs for the entire flight....but I didn't. Instead I bought each child a small backpack. I filled the backpack with a small book, coloring book and crayons, stuffed animal, tablet and a small action figure toy. This year I varied the contents and omitted the small toy and included their IPods and headphones. All 3 kids have the same things (different colors) and I carried snacks in my backpack. Just before we left I added new games to the Leap Pads and the IPods. Second year in a row my kids showed me up and erased any fear I had about them alienating the entire flight. They played with their toys and games. No one threw any tantrums or got grumpy. We did potty breaks each time we landed and just before take offs. It was smooth sailing. This was one time I did not mind my kids proving me wrong.
My third and final concern is always how much are the kids going to be able to take? Are they going to wear out and get grumpy? Are they going to be little machines always on the go? Mr. Mayer and I have the agreement we will take our vacation activities at the kids pace. This cuts back on melt downs and everyone (including those around us) has a more pleasant experience. We will go and do until we see the kids fading. For instance this last trip we would spend several hours at a theme park and then spend some time at the hotel pool. That's what the kids wanted to do. We didn't get to see and do everything we wanted, but we didn't have many melt downs or protests either. This has been something we've continually done on all our trips and it seems to work. I'm of the belief vacations should not be work.
Now....I handle road trips slightly different, but not much. We stop every few hours and try to tailor our pit stops somewhere that has something fun- a playground or play place for the kids to burn off some energy. We travel to New Mexico a lot and the Texas travel centers have GREAT play grounds for kids. We also travel with lots of movies.

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