Thursday, May 26, 2011

Packing

Some people ask me how I pack for five people, for an extended period of time so easily. I thought I would take a minute to discuss my travel "sense" and give ideas on what I have found works for me. Regardless of how long you will be gone for only pack a week's worth of clothing. Make sure that you include a dress outfit, plenty of casual, jeans, sweatshirt/sweater and at least two different types of shoes. That's it. I am able to fly all of my children for a week up to an extended amount of time with the same amount of clothing and accessories. I hate paying for extras, and that means checking luggage plus that is too much work to fill the entire suitcase with what, a lot of clothes I don't need. I am able to pack everyone in an entire morning with cute, comfortable and dressy clothes as well as my "entertainment" bag and I am not stressed at all.

I have traveled, in the past 4.5 years, over 90% of the time alone. I have done it with two children and now I am up to four. The most stressful part of the trip is traveling with a baby between the ages of six months to two years. They have not hit the rationalization age yet or occupied age and just want to move, squirm and flop around. I do have a few traveling tricks that I have learned, through trial and error, and feel I have the system pretty down pat:

1. Sit in the very back of the plane, next to the bathrooms. If your older child has to go, you can let him without having them far from you, and at the same time not having to move and wake the sleeping baby on your lap ( which is very critical)
2. Sit in the very back of the plane- the noise of the engine will lull your child(ren) to sleep- works EVERY time.
3. Sit in the back of the plane, if you children are talking a little louder than the average person around you, their noise is drowned out by the engine.
4. Bring sippy cups to be filled with juice/water
5. Bring only " bland" colored snacks ie: Parmesan cheese goldfish, cheese sticks, banana chips, pb crackers. I made the mistake four years ago to bring nutrigrains. They are gooey, sticky and get red junk everywhere. If it is bland in color it will not stain and is a lot easier to clean up. None of the above snack ideas will get sticky on your hands, seats, faces, or clothes, you get the idea.
6. Buy the marker and coloring book sets that only color on that particular paper- works amazing!
7. Buy new activity books for the older ones that involve stickers, mazes, dot to dot, coloring, etc.
8. Bring listening cd players and borrow books on cd from the library
9. I have not brought a dvd player in over four years on the airplane. There is many reasons for that one being I find my kids manage just fine by using their mind and creativity and also, every time I wanted to turn it on the battery would come up low- it was just too frustrating for me.
10. Always bring a comforting blanket/animal/ and small quiet toys
11. Don't bother with books/magazine or anything recreational for yourself, haha, you will be too busy helping your resident "friends"
12. Relax, enjoy your flight and always bring a watch- you need to time how much longer you have on the plane and how much longer your kids, especially the little ones, will manage.
13. Reward yourself with a frappuccino- it will relax you after the flight is over and you made it, traveling alone with four small children.

2 comments:

Caitlin Stokes said...

These are such great tips! LOL
I think I got it-sit in the back of the plane:)
We just came back after being in FL for a week and I wish I had read this first.
After 4.5 hours, my little 3 year old was really trying my patience-but I will get activity books for our June flight.
Thanks again!

Mary Broussard said...

I have flown by myself with the children before and next month I will be flying with the help of my husband with all 4 kids (ages 1 mo- 4yrs old) for the first time! I have learned the same things, particularly the "sit in the back of the plane trick" to be the best! Great tips (I like the Frappuccino suggestion for mom). It's only a few hours to Seattle, and it's totally worth any inconvenience for the opportunity to travel and see friends and family! Love it!