Holiday Travel Tips

Below are travel trips for car and plane.  A huge thanks goes to Shelly for sharing her expertise. (Shelly traveled solo with Geneva every six weeks for the first 16 months of her life and also regularly drives 5+ hours to visit in-laws).  Also mixed in are the tips from Parent Ed.
Enjoy & safe travels!

(Many thanks for sharing these, Irene!)


For the plane:

1.  Definitely use curb side check in for your bags.  Bring plenty of $5.00 bills for tips.
2.  Make sure to go through a security checkpoint with a family lane.  
3.  Take your BOB stroller (or other large stroller) through the security checkpoint and check them at the gate (you can pick them up directly on the gangplank at your destination).  Airport security can take your large stroller to one side and do a quick secondary scan so, unlike a small travel stroller, you don’t have to break it down and put it through the x-ray machine.  A big stroller also doubles as a carry-on baggage cart as you’re weaving your way through the airport.     
4.  Ask the gate attendant if there are any vacant seats – if there are they will probably offer you a seat for your child’s car seat.  Even if your little one rides most of they way in your arms it’s nice to have the extra space.  🙂
5.  Take at least one change of clothes for you and at least two for your toddler on the plane.  I’m not sure why, but altitude seems to make for explosive poop.  🙂  Also, take plenty of wipes and quart sized baggies. 
6.  Take one diaper and some wipes and put them into an easy to access baggie in your diaper bag.  Then you only have to grab the baggie if you need to change a diaper in the tiny airplane bathroom.
7.  Take plenty of “disposable” books and small toys [finger puppets (introduce one-by-one); sticker sheets & books; paperback scholastic books from Goodwill/ValueVillage (Holman Road) are under a $1; playdough w/some stampers; paper & crayons; wrap small toys to buy some extra time] Tape measurers, painters tape, keychain flashlights, and things they can manipulate are big hits.
8.  If you have one, take a smart phone or tablet loaded with children’s books (there are a ton you can download for free), games, and Sesame Street videos. [Ladybug App books with coloring, shape matching, & other games] 
9.  Take plenty of “special snacks” [and a few new snacks] (animal crackers in the box with a handle, yogurt covered raisins, pretzels, bootie, etc.).
10.  Take a few packets of instant oatmeal and/or other easily rehydratable food (think backpacking food like Mountain House meals).  This will save you if you get stranded in a strange city and have to get a hotel room late at night.  You can at least have a simple meal using hot water from the coffee maker.
11.  Take a small first aid kit containing children’s Tylenol, children’s ibuprofen, children’s benadryl, sanitary wipes, band-aids, and rescue remedy.
12. At Seatac airport there is a toddler/young child playroom across the hall from Boarders Books in the Central (Pacific Marketplace) terminal. It’s close to the walkway taking you to concourse A or B. Also in the Pacific Marketplace there is a Fireworks gift store, a Life is Good store, and Boarders Books store with toys and books available for distraction  
-Liquid restrictions are waived for traveling with kids from TSA website http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/children/index.shtm “Medically necessary liquids and gels, including medications, baby formula and food, breast milk, and juice, are allowed in reasonable quantities exceeding 3.4 ounces (100ml) and are not required to be in a zip-top bag. Officers may ask travelers to open these items to conduct additional screening and passengers should declare them for inspection at the checkpoint.”
-Helps to have carry-on food for kids in one location to speed up screening. 
-Bring non-perishable milk like Organic Valley or Horizon (aseptic) Milk as airlines are increasingly stingy about offering milk as a beverage on flights.
-Consider bringing a down pillow that will pack small, but provides some comfort if holding a sleeping toddler; also small blanket (as airlines often no longer offer blankets or pillows.)
-Half-full attitude about changes in altitude: a night at the airport with toddler will hopefully at least make a good story!

If you’re staying at a hotel [or relatives]:

1.  Try to get a room with a balcony or a ground floor room with a sliding glass door to the outside.  That way, when your little one is taking a nap or down for the night, you can head just outside and have a glass of wine and watch a movie on your laptop or tablet (assuming it’s warm enough).  

2.  Take a small babyproofing kit (outlet plug covers, zip ties for cords, nightlight) and sanitary wipes to wipe down suspicious surfaces.
3.  Call ahead and see if the hotel has a crib you can use.  We’ve done it several times and while the cribs have never been outstanding, they’re good enough for a night and a little better than a pack n’ play.
4.  Try to get a room with a microwave and minifridge (or at least a coffee maker so you can make hot water for instant oatmeal or other easily rehydrated food).  
-Pack a portable booster seat (can be used at hotel for take-out meals or at relatives) http://www.amazon.com/Fisher-Price-Healthy-Deluxe-Booster-White/dp/B001GQ2RWQ/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1324161541&sr=8-2
-If staying for an extended time with relatives, take a trip to their local library and checkout books to replace packing heavy hardcover books.

If you’re driving:

1.  Go at nap time or bedtime to take advantage of sleeping in the car time.

2.  Take small toys to hand back one at a time [also small paperback books or Ladybug magazines]
3.  Whether or not you like the food, there is a McDonald’s about every 100 miles and they will have a clean bathroom with a changing table, entertaining toys, a safe place to play, and if you’re okay with it, unsweetened ice tea for a sippy cup (ice tea is Geneva’s special travel treat).  
4.  Pick up a bunch of read along books (with accompanying CDs) at the Library.  You can put on the CD and your kid can flip through the pages to follow the story. [Bring CDs or ipod w/songs that toddler likes]
5.  Sing songs about the things you see (“when telephone poles wake up in the morning they always say buzz,” etc.)
6.  At about hour 4 we always get a little desperate so we take a portable DVD player, tablet, or smart phone loaded with videos.

Advertisements

One thought on “Holiday Travel Tips

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s