This is a little blurb that I thought I'd blog about coming back from our Hawaiian vacation. I actually had a few customers message me and ask how I did it. The main answer is you just do. When my husband and I started having kids, we decided the one thing we wouldn't be giving up is our holidays. Let me tell you, the trip was amazing. Travelling with 3 kids (5 & under) can be tiring at times but I love holidays with my family, so won't give it up. We get to spend time together with none of the interferences of every day life (e.g. cleaning house, play dates, activities, work...). I highly recommend it be a priority in your house with kids or not!!
Here are my tips for travel
1. They pack it, they carry it. If they are old enough to carry it, let them pack what they want it. I probably could have learned from this before and let my oldest pack hers. She likely would have brought her iPad and thats it.
2. Pack lightweight trinket toys, and a whole bunch of them for those busy toddlers who loose interest in 3.5 seconds. Some great examples that our little G loved was playdoh, play foam (best thing), lego, touch & feel books, babies, markers, stickers and paper.
3. Snacks, snacks and more snacks. Bring lots!! Buy more while you are there. Kids are bottom less pits in the car, on the plane, at the beach, by the pool.
4. For those older kids (3.5 & up), my girls love arts and crafts. We made sure to bring dot-to-dot, travel books with multiple learning activities in them, lite brite, little barbie dolls with clothing, and playdoh. For boys, I would have brought lego and little cars too. We were lucky enough that the house we rented also has a good assortment of toys on hand.
5. If travelling on night flights, bring neck pillows, blankies, and stuffies are always a must. Thankfully we brought extra fleece blankets as I tend to be cold on flights. Our oldest ended up sleeping on the floor between turbulence to give us some extra room. Those blankets came in handy for laying on plus I wasn't cold at all holding on to Georgia.
6. Don't travel at night with kids unless you have no other option, or as long as they all have their own seats. Our youngest just started walking a month before at 1.5 years old, so had a total realization on the plane that she is free to get up and walk around. Being that it was way past her bed time for both flights, she was over tired, restless and took the first five hours to get to sleep. Not fun!!
7. Last but not least, bring your kids iPads. Now that most planes don't offer individual televisions, iPads are a must if your kids will sit still and watch them. Bring their headphones too (for a little extra peace and quiet)
Last but not least, how I failed miserable
In a quick summary, we brought 5 carry ons plus my purse, 3 checked bags, one stroller and 3 carseats. Two adults cannot physically transfer these items through an airport without assistance. Those car seats are awkward, wobbly and don't stack at all. We were thankful for my husband's parents who were with us on our flight down. On the way back, the Kona & Vancouver had an employee for hire to help us transfer everything through customs. I realize this won't always be the case as our kids get a little older and more independent, so don't make it be the reason to not go on a holiday.
If you have somewhere that has laundry (like we did), pack 4 days worth of clothes for each kid. They spend 75% of their time in bathing suits on a hot holiday, so can wear those outfits a few times over. I do make an exception for children 3 and under as they tend to be quite messy eaters. Also, only bring one jacket per child (I brought 2 and never used them once in 2 weeks).
Less carry ons = happiness. I had way too much stuff that wasn't touched. Next time for my oldest girls, I would bring iPads and sleeping items. I could have ditched 2 carry ons for that.
Buy what you can where you are. We brought life jackets and on our last day came across an inflatable form (so no more hauling those anymore). We also brought a floaty for our youngest which was never used. Live and learn.
Good luck and be patient!!