Traveling with children can be both awesome and awful. Throw more than one kid in the mix and you have a recipe for some pretty interesting times. Add two more of the same age and well…you’re traveling like I do. My boys, Brody (age 3) and twins Linc and Chase (age 2) are great travelers, but even they don’t make it easy. Unless you have one adult per kid, and possibly a nanny on board—traveling with multiple young children is never easy.
Be sure to let your kids blow off some steam before boarding the plane or getting in the car
We could stay put and never leave the house but think of all the fun we’d miss! My children are of the toddler/preschooler variety—but some of my advice can be applied to any age child. Here are five tips for traveling with young multiples.
Plan your little heart out. You know what it takes to get you through a 24-hour period in your house of chaos. From the time they wake up in the morning, until they crash exhausted at the end of the day, what is their routine? Think about (and write down!) the approximate times are you going to eat, nap and head back to your lodging each day. Young children feel safe in routine and you’re likely to have less meltdowns if you take the time to plan and prepare before you go. Sure you might become known as the Schedule Sargent (I am) but I also have happy Travel Kids—and wouldn’t have it any other way.
You don’t have to pack double the stuff just because you’re bringing double the kids.
Lay out what everyone is going to wear from the shoes up, in piles and by day. Determine what you have versus what you need and purchase any needed items before you go. Keep in mind, outfits can be shared and clothing can be washed.
If your car is too crammed or you don’t want to pay baggage fees to tote your own travel crib or play yard, you can rent full-size cribs and other baby necessities at many destinations from baby gear rental companies or borrow a crib from your hotel.
Invest in a good travel stroller—I love my Valco Baby Snap Dual
Invest in quality travel gear.
A nice travel-friendly stroller is a must. We just traded in our big old, heavy duty stroller for a fantastic travel-friendly one in the Valco Baby Snap Dual. It rolls like a dream, I can push it one-handed and folds together with ease. When you pick up your gate-checked stuff after a flight, this stroller can pop open with one hand (I know, I’ve done it).
For those of you flying with young children, I recently discovered the One Step Ahead ‘Sit Seat’. This travel harness is wonderful because it attaches your baby or toddler to you or to any seat (at a restaurant or an airport, for example). My kids were never good staying in the high chair, so this harness has been a terrific addition to our traveling gear.
If any of your multiple children are under age 2, I advise bringing a baby carrier of some sort. Instead of struggling to carry your little one on your hip, strap your child to your tummy or back instead. I love my Baby Carrier by Boba—it’s lightweight and easy to shove in a bag or stroller basket.
Stock up on zipper-lock plastic bags.
When traveling with my brood, I pack more gallon-sized zipper-lock baggies than any normal person should ever consider. I use these for packing my kids’ snacks, their games, a stack of diapers for the plane, sanitized hand wipes, and I bring along many empty ones for garbage. I keep them in the car, diaper bag and even my purse. I cannot tell you how worthwhile it has been to have a place to put sticky sucker sticks, toxic diapers, errant toys and more.
Never, ever forget to pack the favorite blankie!
Book a big room and make it feel like home.
Whenever possible, I suggest booking a two-room suite or connecting rooms. I put my children in the main living room with my oldest on the sofa sleeper and the younger ones in their play yards. Unless you co-sleep at home, having a separate room for the parents allows all family members to get much better sleep while away from home.
I always bring along my children’s white noise machine, so to them it feels more homey and drowns out the random noise of guests coming and going. Also, don’t forget the night light! Of course, you MUST bring along any comfort items like a favorite blankie, stuffed toy and lots of pacifiers.
Above all, try to remember that traveling with multiple small children isn’t going to always be this difficult. You’re making memories and learning from each trip you take. Enjoy yourself too—don’t give yourself an ulcer worrying about all of the what-ifs. Kids are going to be completely unpredictable and that’s their job. Your job is to roll with it.
Do you have a great tip for traveling with multiple young children? We’d love to hear it—please share your thoughts in the comments below!