It started in a casual conversation leading to I’m booking tickets to Chicago. Because, if I am being honest, we needed it. We wanted to escape the grind of our daily life. The hustle and chaos that enfolds raising our little loves while juggling our marriage, jobs, and home life to recharge and focus on what is most important this Christmas season. Being with the ones you love. But, as anyone with children know, traveling with kids can prove to be challenging at times. Like the night we were having dinner at Gino’s when one kid started to throw up, the other kid decided to stand up on his high chair with a mouth full of pizza yelling ho ho ho, and drinks spilling all over the table simultaneously. And, you look at each other, take a deep breath, and you charge on. Because, traveling with kids is crazy. Yet, I would never have it any other way! We made a promise before Noah entered our world that we would never stop exploring this big, beautiful world. Sure, it will take us twice as long to do anything throughout the day, but seeing the most wonderful places this world has to offer and experience it with our kids by our side is priceless.
After learning what does not work, we are able to travel with a bit more peace with our little ones with these few successful tactics:
- Pick up a few new and fun items in the dollar aisle at Target. We used to do this when traveling with Noah, and he LOVED it. Keep them small and simple! (Activity books with crayons or colored pencils are perfect.)
- Pack a few snacks in a container like this one with some snacks that are ones they have seen in the past mixed with a few new ones. Yogurt raisins were a huge hit on one of our traveling adventures.
- Smile really big and ask those kind strangers to trade you for a aisle or window seat in order to get a little more room (if you get stuck in the middle seat). If anything, show off that sweet child of yours for extra leverage. Most of the time, if we have been separated on our flights, we had people trade us seats to be next to one another or give us a seat with a bit more space. Face it, nobody wants to wake up from a quick snooze on the airplane with a cute, sticky finger up your nose (true story).
- Squeezable pouches are my jam! They are great for holding over your child when they are hungry. And, so fun! Nikhil is obsessed with them when we brought a few to Chicago.
- Whoever created window clings is pure genius!
- Small books are excellent! (Noah and Nik are both little bookworms and can look at books for hours.)
- If you can schedule your flight over nap times, DO IT! I repeat, do it! I can say more than half of our flights with the boys have fallen during morning and/or afternoon nap times, which are great ways to keep us sane on those longer flights and even enjoy watching a movie or reading a book.
- As a last resort, load up your iPad or tablet to have a few good shows/movies that are some favorites of your littles. This has been our saving grace during our more challenging flights!
- We are still learning after four and a half years of traveling with kids. But, we have learned if all else fails, get a glass of wine or a cocktail, take a few deep breaths, and embrace the craziness. For the most part, everyone around you understands what it is like to have let alone travel with kids, and they, too, have tuned out those lovely baby/toddler cries. And repeat the words of the sweet Emily Ley, grace, not perfection, in your head.
That being said, a couple of weeks ago, we ventured to the Windy City! Chicago at Christmas time was without a doubt, absolutely magical with my loves. And, even though, it was crazy at times, we are so glad we were given the chance to create some amazing memories with our boys and venture through the big city! I think we may have found a new, yearly Christmas tradition to start as a family.
Cheers to being a forever wanderluster with my sweet, little crew!