Truth be told, traveling with two is only slightly harder than traveling with one. There’s a ton more “stuff” but it’s doable! Mind you, my oldest is 2 months shy of her second birthday and my youngest is 3 months old. He’s still pretty predictable thus easier to travel with. My daughter on the other hand― she’s temperamental and when her schedule is disrupted, she can struggle. After several trips this year already, I have a few tips to share.
Now when I say tips, I mean what has worked me. Every child is different and these strategies might not work for you and your family. If you are looking for a starting point or some ideas, keep on reading!
I remember the first trip we ever took with our daughter Joy; I was terrified! I didn’t want to have the SCREAMING child on the plane, was scared we would wake up our neighbors in the hotel, and felt like I forgot something the whole trip. In retrospect, I didn’t really enjoy our first trip. Don’t worry, things got better! If you are traveling with your little one for the first time make sure you check out my previous travel series.
Our first trip with both kids was way less traumatizing. I packed smartly, maintained a smile in spite of her occasional tantrums, and adjusted my expectations. Notice I didn’t say lowered them?
Packing is 1/2 of the battle. DON’T ATTEMPT TO UNDER PACK. You will be way more comfortable if you know you are prepared for anything.
For the flight:
Pack an extra outfit for each child and parent. Might sound silly now, but a blowout on an airplane usually ends up on whoever’s holding the culprit.
Pack extra wipes, and diapers in case your flight gets delayed or even worse, cancelled.
When it comes to packing entertainment, I DO bring the iPad. For us, especially with a little one in tow, a flight is not the time to be righteous and anti screen time. Honestly, she will watch whatever movie we previously downloaded and eventually fall asleep. On the rare occasion that she doesn’t, I have snacks like cheerios or fruit loops, time consuming to eat individually, and fruit snacks for those desperate moments. If the flight goes through a meal time, I always pack a PB & J. If we have blown through the iPad and snacks, I usually have a small, brand new toy that will hopefully keep her attention. The dollar section at Target is good for that.
For the trip:
Packing for two toddlers can be complicated but don’t let it! In a large plastic bag, I would include an outfit for each child, diapers, socks, and even hair bows. That way either parent could get them ready. In a separate bag I packed PJs for each child and 1 extra outfit for every two days you will be gone. Have to plan for spit up, blowouts, and messy meals.
Remember this: waiting is better than running. We have done it both ways― been super early for our flight as well as praying and running through the terminal with both kids. Just trust me when I tell you to get there early. Don’t underestimate the amount of time it takes to remove the car seats, bag them, check everything else, add a lap child to your ticket, get scanned through security, change those diapers before the flight and fold up the stroller.
If your oldest is old enough to walk, this next piece is for you. Ditch the stroller through the airport. Get a carrier like the ergo for the smallest and wear them (you don’t have to take them off to go through security), walk with your oldest, helps burn some energy, and minimize the amount of stuff you have to lug through the air port. We check as much as we can. I carry the diaper bag and wear the baby, and my husband carries a backpack and hold’s our daughter’s hand. Let to keep track of and much easier to walk down the airplane aisles.
We check the stroller with our luggage and retrieve it at baggage claim.
This was the biggest struggle. Trying to figure out where everyone would sleep. Our daughter isn’t ready for an adult bed so a double room wasn’t an option and we weren’t about to bring 2 pack n’ plays. Our solution was to bring a cosleeper, we have the dockatot, which I LOVE but it’s pricey, and we bring a pack n’ play for Joy to sleep in.
Try to stress less. Nap schedules will get disrupted (i.e. Disney trip, I didn’t handle that one well) but have since learned, go with it. Appreciate those short car naps, go back to the hotel when someone get’s cranky and try it again later. We prevented a lot of stress by booking early dinner reservations just in case our daughter planned to be rambunctious; restaurants are usually less crowded around 6. We would also bring breakfast back to the room sometimes so we didn’t have to rush.
Something else I have learned, is that you will get looks; People will glance when you walk past, stare while you wait for your flight, and some might even roll their eyes― it doesn’t matter. There is no way to guess what’s going through their mind so don’t worry about it. I like to assume they are just in awe of what a cute family I have ; )
Truth be told, part of the reason the first trip was less than enjoyable was because my husband and I were so uptight. Learn from our mistakes and sometimes you just have to laugh.