Just as every vacation is different; your approach to travel with your multiples will be different (and ever improving) each time you take a trip.
In this collection of advice from WLAPOM members, we hope you can pick out some advice to help you with your next adventure.
Safe travels POM's!
This is a good time to lower your expectations and go with the flow. Try not to do too much - and celebrate what you do manage to achieve!
Remember what we learned during Covid for healthy travels. Those same basic hygiene tips will still be useful for years to come (hello Norovirus..!)
If traveling with kids in diapers; get some waterproof cloth diaper covers to layer over the disposable diaper- to prevent blow-outs/leaks whilst traveling.
Don't be afraid to use toddler backpacks with leashes. Just practice with them before the trip, so your kids (and you) are familiar with how they feel.
If you're considering renting baby equipment (car seats/cribs, etc) make sure you hire them from a family-friendly place (car rental places can often give you gross car seats) - or just bring your own along if you can (Guava and Baby Bjorn make great travel cribs).
Bringing familiar pack-n-plays, and familiar/white noise makers, can create a somewhat familiar sleep space for your kids when away from home.
Bring your baby monitor/camera with you - so you can relax after bedtime and not keep checking the kids room.
Consider a secret code word to share with your kids while traveling - and practice using it before your trip. You say the word; they come right to your side.
If you'll need a bunch of supplies; consider shipping them to your destination to avoid carrying too much with you (or head for the local Costco soon after your arrival).
Consider carrying crayons/paper or "fidget spinners" to use at restaurants as distractions. Also order your food ahead of time to reduce time waiting at the table...
Make use of hotels if you can. They're generally kid friendly and don't have many stairs (they also do breakfast). Try "Embassy Suites" or "Homewood Suites".
Book 2 x queen beds in your room; and allow the kids to sleep alongside you.
To avoid bringing pack-n-plays for younger kids, you can create a "sleep nest" on top of your bed by tightly rolling some big towels and placing them under the mattress cover.
When booking your room; request a fridge and microwave "for medication" (they will be obliged to provide them for you as a necessity).
Also request that they empty the mini bar in advance; so you're kids don't rack up a bar bill by playing with the little bottles and rifling through the candy...
TRAVELING BY AIR
Avoid taking 'redeye' flights if possible (kids rarely sleep well on planes).
Make use of the family/special assistance lanes at security, to avoid waiting in line.
Bring extra food/milk as needed for the whole journey. There's not usually milk or formula available at the airport if flights are delayed and you're stuck past security.
Enfamil and Similac both have single serving formula pouches available, or you can find a formula dispenser, to avoid 'scooping' at the terminal.
Horizon also makes single serving long-life milk cartons (which don't need to be kept cold) but have your kids try them in advance (as they do taste a little different).
If wearing diapers; assume you'll need at least one diaper per hour you're flying, per kid.
Leave your car seat bases at home; and use the provided seatbelts to strap your car seats into plane/car/taxi seats.
Wear pull down/up pants. You'll often have to go to the bathroom while carrying your child, and you don’t want to be fumbling with your button in the 3x3 airplane bathroom.
Take extra clothes for your kids and ALSO for yourselves, in case of leakages.
Pack multiple pacifiers and/or have your kids drink water or milk during landing/takeoff to help equalize their ears and avoid screaming. If using a drink, keep it hidden until the last second too (to avoid them seeing and wanting it sooner).
Kids melatonin is great for time zone differences/jet lag - but don't use it for the plane; as there are so many other stimulants (lights! people!) that it won't make much difference.
If you're going to use a kids cough medicine on the flight; make sure you test it in advance - as some kids will have the opposite of a drowsy reaction to them.
Remember that planes are loud, and if your child is screaming you won’t really disturb more than 6 people.
Bring some small but entertaining activities. If your kids are over 1yr, consider wrapping 1-3 of the activities in wrapping paper as a fun surprise.
When boarding the plane, understand that you can’t go on and off. One of you won't be able to go ahead, clean the seats, and then come back to the gate for the rest of the family.
Check as much baggage as you can (including your car seats - which are always free to check-in). Getting your children, carry-ons and a stroller to the gate is enough of a challenge (especially when everyone starts having a tantrum too).
Avoid pull-along suitcases; backpacks are much easier and allow you to have free hands.
* Remember that you can 'gate check' your stroller/snap-n-go;
which means you can take it all the way to the plane; and then
leave it with the cabin crew.
* Make use of your baby carriers/slings when getting to your
seats (you will have free hands).
* Don't bring a stroller bag; just fold the stroller as is and it
will be treated with care (when it's covered up - it gets treated
as baggage and is thrown around more).
* On domestic flights there can usually only be 1 lap child per
row of 3 seats. This means if there are 2 adults and 2 children, you
cannot sit directly next to each other. Check with your airline
in advance about this, and consider sitting either side of the same
aisle as a solution.
If bassinets are available on your flight; try and get them (there is usually a maximum weight, but not age, for having them).
Rules can change, and will vary between operators. e.g. If you've flown domestically, and are now going international, don't assume the same rules will apply. Call and check the latest guidelines for your particular flight before booking your seats.
Be prepared for jet lag. Either stick to your usual nap/sleep schedule if it's just a few hours difference; or shift their schedule (e.g. one hour per day) in the days leading up to the trip.
For international trips; decide in advance who will be on 'night shift' when the kids are full of energy at 3:00am; or make a plan to take turns until the jet lag fades.
TRAVELING BY BOAT
Don't be afraid to use those leashes whilst dockside.
If you have the option to upgrade your tickets (e.g. Captains Lounge on the Catalina Express) then early entry, and a quieter seating area, are a real help.
Take a look around the boat for quieter areas to sit (e.g. top deck is usually emptier).
For sea-sickness; avoid giving dramamine to kids unless they are actually being sick.
The last boat is always the busiest; so leave earlier, or line-up on time, to reduce chaos.
TRAVELING BY ROAD
For long road trips; plan a route which allows you to stop at parks/green spaces every three hours to allow for bathroom breaks, leg stretching/frisbee playtime.
Allow older kids to eat in the car (instead of in a restaurant) to save time when driving.
For shorter rides, complete the journey at night and let the kids sleep in the car.
If staying overnight somewhere; look for hotels with a pool. Let your kids swim all morning; and they'll happily sleep/rest in the car all afternoon.
Get a list of relaxing kids songs ready to keep everybody quiet (e.g. "Super Simple Songs" from Spotify is great).
Feel free to add your additional comments below!
** PLUS: Stay tuned for the next blog article on CAMPING with multiples..