We travel a fair bit as a family. There are those who travel more, mind you, but we do fly on airplanes often enough. So, I have come up with some helpful tips and suggestions to keep in mind the next time you wish to travel through the skies. Bear in mind that what works for some families won't work for others. Also keep in mind that I've been blessed with a child possessing an abnormally long attention span (or so I've recently been told.)
Tip Number 1 ~ Do NOT wait until the night before to pack and clean. This is never a good idea. (I don't really want to tell you how I know this, but just trust me on this one)
Tip Number 2 ~ Movies. Take movies and a portable dvd player. This truly saves your life. (Don't forget the earphones because not everyone on the plane wants to listen to Mickey Mouse's squeaky voice.)
Tip Number 3 ~ New toys are a huge hit. Keep them small and rotate them throughout the trip. Don't give them to the kids all at once. A new toy holds the attention of a child much longer than an old toy. Trust me on this.
Tip Number 4 ~ Pack light. I am trying to get everything into two carry-ons for a week. For myself I have packed 3 skirts and 5 shirts which I can mix and match plus a larger sweater and those unmentionables. My coat will ride on my back or my arm, depending on the weather. We will have to borrow my mother's washing machine twice while we are there but that's okay. It beats paying $30 for that first checked bag (round trip).
Tip Number 5 ~ Spend the bucks on those portable liquid bottles. I use them for my shampoos and hair gels and such. They even sell small plastic jars with screw on lids for face soaps and lotions and such. These are allowed in your carry-ons as long as they are smaller than 3oz. Don't bother buying those expensive travel size shampoos. Fork over the money for the bottles and fill them up with your own stuff from home. Much cheaper in the long run, let me tell you. You can find them in the same location you find the travel sized soaps and things and they cost less than the already filled bottles.
Tip Number 6 ~ Snacks. Snacks are allowed on flights. They must be individually wrapped in factory seals. This means you cannot buy a bulk size bag of pretzels and fill little ziplock bags with them. No-no! But fruit snacks? Yes. While not a normal staple in our diet, they are a unique and special treat when we are on the airplane and don't want to pay $9 for crackers and cheese. Oh...and those little Lunchables? Those work great, since the $9 cracker and cheese trays they sell on the airplanes taste like cardboard and glue with a hint of hairball. (I thought I was starving...okay? And since we just paid $9 for it, I HAD to eat it all.) Just make sure everything is factory sealed and does NOT contain liquid. (some Lunchables have water bottles or jello in them...don't take those)
Tip Number 7 ~ After paying several times for an airport water bottle which we fill up with water at the drinking fountain, I came up with a brilliant idea last night. Why don't I just take my empty water bottle with me and fill it up myself? Ah-ha! It only took me 6 years to figure this one out. I will see if it works Friday and let you know.
Tip Number 8 ~ A new coloring book and small box of crayons work wonders. What little girl doesn't love a new box of pointy crayons? They just need to be broken in. And you might also want to fork over the dough for the jumbo coloring book. Hey! They need to color a picture for everyone you are going to be seeing when you arrive, right? It wouldn't be fair to leave anyone out...
Tip Number 9 ~ If you like to read to your children (and they like to be read to) consider bringing along a couple of chapter books to read aloud. This trip I have packed Raggedy Ann and Crackle Creek. Some other ideas are Anne of Green Gables or any Laura Ingalls book. Paddington Bear would be fun too. Who knows, but maybe there would be some adults on the plane who would love a good storytelling too.
So, that's all my tips for tonight. I am off to tackle more on the to-do list. Or else I might veg in front of an Audrey Hepburn tonight. Hmmmm...that's a tough choice. Do I listen to my conscious or my heart?