Flying often evokes anxiety in people on it’s own, let alone with twins or more in tow. Here are some tips to ensure that your trip goes as smooth as a baby’s bottom.
When To Travel:
Traveling for pleasure? Travel “off season” as much as possible. If you aren’t locked in to particular dates, find out when the slow season is for your destination. Holidays are usually the busiest travel times of the year, so booking the week or two AFTER major holidays will typically ensure that where you are headed will be a bit less crowded. Think about it, if folks are taking their children away during a school break, are they really going to extend it another week? If you are heading down to Disney World or to Disney Land the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is usually a ghost town. Booking a Disney vacation for the first or second week of December is a GREAT bet if you want to avoid the crowds.
If you are traveling oversea’s call the hotel and do your homework on when their slow season is. True, the weather might not be perfect, but if you are the type of person who likes to avoid crowds, this is the time to go.
How many seats do you buy?
This depends on how much you want to spend. If you are on a tight budget, any paying adult can have a “lap child” under the age of two (check your airline for their specific regulations). If you have a long flight, you might want to consider booking at least ONE extra seat. That way you can hand off a child and have on in a stationary position for meals and bathroom breaks. This is ideal, but if your budget can’t fit it in, it shouldn’t be a deal breaker for your vacation.
Currently there are no laws that require your child to be in a car seat on an airplane, but there are some laws being knocked around Washington that say otherwise. Only time will tell what the outcome will be, but for now there are no official rules that require car seats, HOWEVER the FAA does recommend you use them. For more details on this, check out The Car Seat Lady’s guide to airplanes.
Where should I reserve our seats?
Rear of the plane? Front of the plane? These are your choices. Here are the pro’s and con’s:
Rear of the plane pro’s: You can only annoy the people in front of you. You are close to the bathrooms. You are close to where the flight attendants are usually stationed for the majority of the flight.
Rear of the plane con’s: Could take a while to board and get to your seat. There is usually a line of folks waiting to use the restroom in the isle. The seats don’t recline in the last row.
Front of the plane pro’s: First to board. First to disembark. Close to a restroom (depending on the plane). Extra leg room.
Front of the plane con’s: If there is a first class/business class, the people on the other side of the curtain are not always the most patient and understanding. Could take a while for an attenant to assist you if necessary since they are typically stationed in the rear of the plane.
NOTE: If you are breastfeeding, you will need a window seat! You will have a bit more elbow room and a bit more privacy.
What time should I book our flight?
If your children are on a schedule, try to book your flights around their naps. If they typically nap at 11am, try to be airborne at 10am so they have a moment to chill, take in their surrounding, and be ready for their nap. If times aren’t an issue, the first and last flights are the days are usually the least expensive. Also the first flight of the day isn’t a bad option since it’s almost always on time.
Other tips for preparing for your trip.
Packing properly for the big travel day is essential. If you need some ideas on what should be in your back, check our Diaper Bag Packing List. Some additional tips for air travel are:
- Bring enough food for the whole flight plus five/six hours. If you are bottle feeding, you are allowed to take formula and pumped breast milk on the plane. Don’t believe us, check the TSA regulations. Sure, you can find baby food and formula in an airport, but the cost associated with it could buy you a first class ticket to the Caribbean, so make sure you have enough.
- Bring enough diapers/wipes/cream for a small army. (see note on cost above)
- Pacifiers! Plenty of them. If your children use pacifiers, you should have a few extras on hand incase they choose to chuck them at passengers like grenades. Having some pacifier wipes on hand is a great idea too.
- Pack a few extra NEW toys that might grab their attention. Once my kids got older I packed ziplock baggies with different activities and took them out as necessary. I had some filled with crayons and post-its, some filled with small plastic dinosaurs and cars, some filled with puzzles, some filled with snacks and forbidden foods like M&M’s and Hershey’s Kisses. I took them out at different times during the flight. They couldn’t wait to see what the next bag brought them. I always packed two. Sometimes even three for me!
- We purchased special headphones for kids so they could watch the show’s offered to us (JetBlue!!!!). Baby A was the lion and Baby B was the bear!
Other important tidbits:
- DON’T FORGET to pack an extra shirt or two for you! Nothing worse then having to sit with a smelly shirt on for the whole flight.
- PACK 10+ PAIRS OF EAR PLUGS! Hand these out to the folks around you and apologize in advance for the crying and tantrums, and that’s just your own, the kids are another story. Doing this will win them over immediately and get them on your side.
- PACK LEVEL 1 NIPPLES! Using these with their bottles will give them more chances to swallow helping with the pressure in their ears.
- Bringing your own DVD player, don’t forget the splitter!
Once you get there:
Reach out to the area’s local twin club or find some fellow Twiniversity members in the area. Parents of twins are notorious for going the extra mile for each other. You might be able to borrow strollers, two pack n’ plays, and more from your fellow parent of twins.
Good luck and happy travels!
Read these other articles for great tips for travelling with multiples!