Traveling Solo with 2 kids
Last week I traveled alone to Texas with both kids (1.5 and 3 years old), 2 car seats, 1 large suitcase and a double stroller. I carried on car seat on my back and lugged the other one along with the stroller. Yes! I am a crazy lady, but I did it. As you can see from the picture you can see my Josilyn was over it before it even started. And while it was no easy feat, but it was definitely one of my major supermom moments. So if you're like me and like a good challenge perhaps like traveling alone with 2 kids at 10:30 PM (yep, PM!). I've come up with a few tips that might be helpful:
- Take Kid-friendly airlines: I love Delta! They check my car seats and pack and play for free. I hate to get nickeled and dimed, so free is good. They also gate check my stroller. I can NOT begin to imagine trying to make it through the airport with 2 kids and no stroller. And I have a huge double stroller, no problem. They also offered pre-boarding from anyone with kids under 2. I mean who couldn't use the extra time with 2 toddlers!?
- Take flights when your child usually sleeps: Try to book flights during your child's normal sleeping pattern. This can be midday during naps or even late in the evening during bedtime. They might wake up when you reach your final destination, as mine did, but the flight was peaceful. Try to keep them awake until you get up in the air. We run around the airport before boarding. And we don't take any naps until we board. I want them nice and sleepy.
- Take your time: Do not be hurried along by anyone. Checking in and going through security are the most stressful parts of air travel. Give yourself plenty of time before take off. And take your time so you remember everything you need. Yes I get all kinds of stares in the security line, but I don't care. A few extra moments helps me make sure I remember everything I need, kids included.
- Pack Light: Try to keep everything as light as possible. I packed one suitcase for all 3 of us. You can rent carseats from rental are companies, if that is your thing. I'm not quite as motivated to do that, but it removes some of the heavy lifting. I pack with the intention to wash in mind. If you have that option, use it. Buy diapers and wipes once you get to your destination. Anything you not an absolute necessary, leave it.
- Try to keep to your normal routine: This is probably the hardest when traveling since nothing is normal, but try to make it as normal as possible. I tried to keep regular naps and bedtimes. We used our same bath routine as we did at home. Kids like normalcy, and providing that even when out of town is key. My oldest is very flexible when it comes her sleep schedule. My youngest is very strict. He wakes up and goes to sleep like clock work. Sticking to his sleep schedule is necessary for a happy mommy.
- Accept help: I'm very independent, and as a general rule of thumb, I've got everything handles. But let's face it, sometimes we all need help. There were lots of helpful strangers. A few people offered help with my bags in the airport. And an older lady offered to hold my sleeping son while I took my daughter to the bathroom on the airplane. People know the "pleasure" of traveling with kids, so they are willing to lend a helping hand, even other moms.
Overall the trip was a huge success. And has given me some perspective on my new goal of living a slightly expat life when the kids get older (more on that later). It wasn't easy, but it was definitely doable. If you have the option, go with someone who can help. If not, go forth in confidence knowing that you can do it because you're a momma and you're awesome!