4 Tips to Survive a Family Vacation with Kids
I know the title seems a bit harsh, but when I think about trips I’ve taken to the grocery store with my twins, the word ‘surviving’ describes the way I felt a number of times I’ve gone out with my twins.
It’s not easy. At all.
So family vacation with twins is a totally different journey in itself. But don’t worry, this article will help out… a little bit.
Plan, Plan, Plan
One of the biggest things that has helped us as a family when we travel is planning out every single move we make. We take the time to create a plan of how each twin will be handled, by whom, and when.
The best plan we’ve come up with has been to assign a twin to a parent. Snacks are divided out between two diaper bags, toys are divided, as well as diapers, wipes, extra pairs of clothing, and pacifiers. That parent is responsible for feeding, changing, entertaining, and walking around with that twin for the traveling portion of the trip.
I know we hear it all the time, but it’s best to keep your twins on their regular schedule as much as possible. Feed them something when it’s normally their meal time. Try your best to get them to sleep for a period of time when their nap would usually come in.
Vacations are usually about relaxing and having fun, but no matter where you go in the world with your kids, for a day, a week, or a month, you still have to go back home to your regular schedule. If their schedule is thrown off too much, getting them back on it will be a nightmare. It may be an inconvenience at times, especially when you’re visiting family, but it has to be done.
Don’t Take The World With You
One of the inconveniences of going on vacation is that you are not at home. Now that sounds like a silly statement, but when you’re a parent, there’s no other statement that rings true.
I know my house. I know where my kids' toys are. I know where the dangers in our home are located and how I’ve already prevented them. My kids know where to play. I know where I can monitor them. The list goes on.
When I’m not in MY house, there are so many unpredictable outcomes of what my twins can and cannot get into. So this makes me want to bring as much as I can with me wherever I go. But over the years, I’ve realized that I’ve simply packed too much. Maybe you are too.
For starters, you need a good double stroller. If you’re flying, you may need two smaller strollers to travel in the airport. My double stroller has gone with us across the country and across the ocean. I will hold onto that stroller until the wheels fall off… and then I will use duct tape and put them back on.
You will also need one or two playpens with a good mattress for sleeping if your children are small enough. One of the hacks we’ve used is to purchase one in whatever city we’re in, and then when we’re leaving, return it. I know that sounds terrible, but it’s so much better than trying to travel all around the world with it.
Another option is to ask the hotel if they have a crib. Many times what you’ll get from them is a playpen with a mattress, pillow, and blanket. Once our twins started to realize they could be best friends, we started getting two so that they could be separated and not keep each other awake all night.
One thing that I loved to travel with when they were smaller was their Space Saver high chairs with trays. This could be used to let them play with toys in their chair instead of on the floor and could also be used to eat at, instead of me having to hold them and feed them.
One thing I like about traveling with certain airlines and staying in some hotels is the perks that come with having children. Before you book a flight, check out the airline’s website for information they have on families and children.
If it’s a long flight, do they have certain crew members who come and spend some time with your children or special meals for kids on the flight?
Are there certain seats that are available to you because you have young children?
Do children get free breakfast at your hotel?
Are you given a discount for a “Kids Area” at the hotel, where you can go off for a few hours and leave them with trained professionals?
Does the hotel offer complimentary milk for babies and toddlers?
Even after we’ve arrived at the airport, I still approach the customer service desk outside the gate to ask about possible seat changes if we were given seats we didn’t like or just needed more space. Many times, the airline can be very accommodating, especially when a flight isn’t full and you ask about seat changes as soon as you get onto the plane, which is usually right after first-class is given a chance to board.
When I was flying to the United Arab Emirates, I asked the flight attendant about changing my seat right before we boarded. She was able to move me next to an empty aisle seat and put that seat on hold so that no one could purchase it. That made all the difference in the world.
Small Things Make Big Differences
There are small things along the way that helped to make our trips run a little smoother and take small, but impactful burdens off our shoulders. These are small investments to help with assistance when you arrive at your destination.
One of the biggest ones for us was assistance in the airport. It’s a paid service, but it came in handy when we were flying back to the USA. We had way too many bags. There was no way we could push two kids, and our two trolleys worth of luggage. We hired a few more hands to help us at the airport and it was worth every penny.
Other small things to consider are layovers vs. direct flights. I know that my twins will need some time to run around and play after sitting for a long period of time. So I like to have at least one layover between long flights. You know your twins the best. If you’re traveling a long distance, how would they handle it?
Once your twins turn two, they are eligible to have their own seat or continue to be a lap baby. Even though it will cost additional money, GIVE THAT TODDLER A SEAT!!
Trust me when I say, you will get tired of a child sitting on your lap for hours at a time. They will get tired of being on your lap for hours at a time. With their own seat, they can stand up, lay down, watch a movie, eat snacks on the table, draw, and so much more, without stopping you from doing what you want to do or having to reach around them to do something simple, like eat food on the tray or read a book.
Even using one or two of the suggestions above will help your trip run a lot smoother. The purpose of a family vacation is to have fun, relax and create new and impactful memories. But if we’re being honest, the only way we can do that is if things are in order and organized before we even pack a bag.
Having twins is an amazing experience, but it can also be overwhelming. You know what’s best for you and your family to have a good time. Do what you can to put them in place.
Allyson Robinson had no idea she had twins in her genes until Kayla and Kamilah showed up and changed her life for the better. She and her husband, Quincy, are expat teachers in the UAE. She is the author of “Where Are My Panties? The Truth About the Morning After”, a book on sexual purity. You can follow her adventures on allysonarobinson.com, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
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