Monday, May 31, 2010

Walt Disney World ~ Part One : Traveling with Toddlers

When we decided that our annual family trip would be a little different in 2010 (like to a major theme park that is many states away compared to a small town in central Indiana) I immediately began to hyperventilate over the act of an airplane....with our 1 year old and 3 year old. And being the Worrier that I am, I began my list of "What

~What if they scream the entire time we are on the plane?
~What if they catch some gosh awful sickness? Because airplane air is like, super gross."
~How on earth are we going to maneuver around an airport with two toddlers? With car seats? And diaper bags? And everything else?
~(Or my husband's biggest worry)What if they get an ear infection RIGHT before we are supposed to leave? And then we can't fly? And then what will we do?

Well, let me ease the anticipation. Because our 3 year old DID get an ear infection the week before we left. And our 1 year old developed fluid in the ear the DAY before we left. And we all still made it on the plane and no major medical catastrophes occurred. We survived.

But when I was asked to give some tips on traveling with toddlers, I knew my key point here would be to mention how i strategically planned EVERYTHING. And I made TONS of lists! And lists OF lists. Lists to remind me of where another list was. And as terrified as I was that we would forget something (and I did), I felt relief when I saw that Walgreens right down the street from where we were staying.

But back to the "travel" part of the trip.

And forgive me for not having too many pictures, because airports and toddlers and timelines and boarding passes and those moving sidewalk things, are truly NOT conducive to snapping photographs. I am not that talented. I was just lucky I didn't lose a kid in the Chicago Midway Airport.

But my main points were this:

1. I made a separate (diaper) bag for each kid, and made sure it was a backpack type bag, so it would be easy to carry. My husband and 3 year old son were in one row in the airplane and my 1 year old daughter and myself in another. By having the separate bags it made it easy to know that things were in reach for both of us at all times. Of course, Lily's bag had HER toys and HER diapers and HER snacks and Jonah's had HIS toys and HIS diapers and HIS snacks. Made for no confusion. Also, in each bag, I put the ziploc baggie that has a few liquids or medications right in the front pocket so it would be easy to reach at the security check point. I also made sure the kids has easy on/off shoes (or in lily's case, I kept her shoes in the bag to eliminate the hassle and just put them on after we got to the gate.

2. Since we purchased seats on the plane for both kids, I wanted to make sure they were in airplane approved carseats. And since we needed their car seats for in the rental car in Orlando (and renting a car seat is like $25/a day!), it made sense to use them and keep them safe on the plane. Not to mention, we made it perfectly clear that kids weren't allowed out of their car seats on a plane. Worked perfectly at keeping (the 3 year old mainly) maintained. Now, I wish I would have taken a picture, but like I said this was not the time for photographs, but we discovered (from another twitter mom who I am blanking on her name right now) a way to convert the kids car seats in to strollers, per se. We purchased these compact and collapsible luggage dollies at Sam's Club for $15, and along with a long sturdy strap, we were able to attach each car seat to. Essentially, it is the cheaper and more economical version of THIS. It was super easy to maneuver and we didn't even have to remove them from the car seat at Chicago Midway, they were able to go right down the belt, through the x-ray machine at security (but for some reason, the belts are smaller in Orlando, so we did have to take them apart....but again a super quick issue when you think of how awesome they are). We did also bring our strollers, but checked them with the luggage, so we didn't have to worry about lugging those around either. Essentially, the hubs and I each had a kid to roll along in a car seat, a diaper bag backpack on our back, and an additional small carry-on (camera's, laptops, DVD players). We felt organized and confident in moving through the airport smoothly, and for the most part, we did.

3. Every parent worry's about their kiddo's going through some sort of ear pain on an airplane. So I thought it out, and what I did (and forgive me if it sounds cruel) was tried to avoid giving the kids anything to drink for about an hour before getting on the plane. Since my kids drink A LOT, I figured that once we started to ascend in the airplane, we'd give them something to drink and they'd drink, A LOT. And they did. We also spoiled them with suckers, licorice, and fruit snacks. To keep them eating and swallowing. Only on the descent on the way home was there any noticeable discomfort with the kids and their ears. But nothing too major, and nothing they couldn't handle. Truthfully, Lily slept 75% of BOTH flights. She fell asleep during the take-off both times. I could not have asked for a better experience on the plane with our kids. (Tip: If your kid(s) sleep better with some white noise, sit by the wings. It is a little louder there and it helps drown out any other noises in the cabin. I think that made all the difference for Lily.)

4. Some parents talk about giving their kids "a little something" to make them drowsy or sleepy for the plane. I can't say I would be comfortable giving my child Benadryl or anything like that, but then again, we do try to do things a little more naturally around our house. I DID give them both Hyland's Calms Forte for Kids before we took off. I can't vouch for if it did anything or if it is the reason Lily slept or not. But again, it is all natural and in no way could harm the kids, and it didn't. And if we were to fly again, I would definitely give it to them again. We use a huge variety of Hyland's products, so I trust them completely and feel comfortable giving them to my kids all the time.

5. Regarding the gross airplane air; being the naturalists when it comes to medications like we are, we made sure we gave the kids AMPLE amounts of Vitamin D weeks prior to the trip. Vitamin D is known to boost the immune system and nearly everyone on the planet doesn't get enough of it (PLEASE check out the doctor who is a genius when it comes to Vitamin D and Vaccine Choice & Education and just about everything...Dr Mayer Eisenstein with Homefirst).

Traveling with toddler's can be stressful, but like I said, what I found is that planning, planning, and more planning makes all the difference and is what made me feel comfortable and prepared when the time came to get on a plane with my kids.

But I can't stress enough (and wish I was better at taking my own advice), is to HAVE FUN and LET LOOSE. Because the trip is over before you know and then you are back home too soon wishing the vacation never ended. It went all too fast. And living in northwest Indiana means we won't be going back for awhile. I wish I would have treasured all of those amazing moments just a little bit more.

More on Mommy Instincts:

2. Tuesday (6/1) ~ Disney Parks with Toddler's
3. Wednesday (6/2) ~ Schedules with Toddler's
4. Thursday (6/3)~ Entertainment with Toddler's
5. Friday (6/4)~ Eating Out with Toddler's

1 comment:

Carrie said...

thanks for the tips. We will be going to Disneyland in September with our 4 and 2yr olds. It's a very short flight BUT the planning involved has me freaking out a bit :)