Three kids, will travel

It is not easy, just not easy to go anywhere with three kidlets.  Add in that we have to bring two pack and plays, three car seats and at least one stroller and that seems like a recipe for disaster.  I am here to say that you can make it work.

We recently took all three across the country to California for a family vacation.  First I would like to start by saying we survived the plane trip.  Also, thank God for iPad.  I have no idea how we would have kept them occupied for six hours without it.  Snacks, we brought lots of snacks.  I made a very rookie mom move and forgot that we were flying Southwest.  Southwest means you can't buy a meal, and six hours is a long time to survive on crackers when you are two.  I didn't bring real food.  I had snacks galore, but no cheese, no sandwich, nothing of substance.  Boo on me.

The major part is planning.  I have lists upon lists and you can be sure I check them twice.  As I didn't want to have too much stuff (HA!) each child had clothes that fit into a plastic grocery bag (which doubles as a disposable laundry bag for the inevitable explosion).  California is tricky, with the hot days and cool nights and we needed lots of layers that coordinated.  Not easy for five people!  I am lucky in that we were staying with family most of the time and had access to laundry facilities.  Otherwise my packing would have been very different.  I always make sure to pack at least one change of clothes for EACH person on the plane in case of emergencies.  Those emergencies almost always happen with young children.  Also on the carry on?  The nighttime necessities.  Those extra binkies and favorite lovies must not be lost or late.  Must!  Even with all of my lists and pared down wardrobes, we had an obscene amount of luggage.  Just obscene.

I sent a box.  My Auntie Fave collected my box of pack and play sheets, extra Jammie's, swim things and we were set.  Off to the airport.  People with children, fly Southwest.  They let you check things for free.  They even give you extra allowances for baby things.  Also?  They have no restrictions about the size of the stroller that you can bring to gate check.  Win, win.  Like Forrest Gump, that's all I have to say about that.

Upon arriving we had the harrowing adventure of checking our 13 pieces of luggage and carry ons.  This is where you throw money at the problem.  I found a lovely grandfatherly man who was checking baggage at the curb, dragged him over to my hoarde at the the parking van and he hauled all of our gear to the front of the line at curbside check in.  My hero.  He was generously tipped, we counted, recounted, counted again, and we made our way to (GASP) security.  Our airport won my loyalty that day by taking one look at us and sending us to the prescreened line.  We truly sailed through.  At this point, I was pretty sure I was hearing angels singing.

On the plane, despite my amateur hour the kids were pretty darn good.  Not awesome, but it was a LOOONG flight.  We landed at LAX and started sweating.  Too many people, lots of traffic, narrow sidewalks where my pent up angels were darting around despite our best attempts to tie them down. Duct tape may have been handy.  All 13 pieces of luggage were accounted for plus three children!  We picked up the rental van, no frills despite a hefty price tag (harrumph) and we made our way to the beach and my beautiful family.  The angels were singing again.  

It was a marvelous time after such a terribly cold winter.  The kidlets went to Disneyland, played at the beach, in various pools, and most important of all made fantastic memories with our family.  We live far from all of our family, so that coming home and the envelopment of my children in the warmth of extended family is precious.

I think I will stop writing about the trip here.  No need to tell you how awful LAX is, or how my son had a poosplosion to rival all others.  Thank goodness for the extra clothes for everyone.  No.  I choose to remember the good parts.  Fingers crossed everyone as we begin our next adventure next week...Nebraska!  With a side of camping for the bigger kidlets.  (Mommy isn't brave enough for that one-go Daddy!)


  1. This seems insane! Since then, what do you think you would do to survive the long flights? Any lessons learned, tips for parents' first long flight?

  2. Snacks and entertainment options are my number one tips, and getting the little one their own seat with a car seat!