Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Difference Between Traveling with One Kid vs. Two

Since I'm from IL, my boys and I have done our fair share of plane trips. As we get ready to leave to go to Disney World for a family reunion, I've been reflecting on how different this trip is from other trips we've taken. Why is it different? Fun and thrills? Family members that we don't often see? No, what I've been reflecting on is the packing.

When I first started traveling with my older son (OS), I brought an enormous amount of stuff with me. Because of my experience in college when my plane was rerouted to land in another state where we had to stay overnight, I somehow decided that I needed enough supplies to last for the next 6 months. Alright, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but I did pack things in my carry-on for at least two days. Whatever the "experts" recommended, I packed. We all had spare outfits, snacks and plenty of things to do.

As we've traveled to visit family more, I've realized that the number of things we've packed has dwindled. There have been several reasons for this. The first is that I realized that I just don't have as much "me time" on the plane, so while a single magazine is great, having uninterrupted time to read a book is a pipe dream. Thus, all my books and most of my magazines stay at home. I realized crayons were much more of a pain than they were worth. They fell on the floor too many times. Same thing with other toys. After all, the aisles on planes are barely wide enough for people to sit, much less to crawl around reaching for toys, crayons, sippy cups, and other gear. We've been fortunate that we've never had a child throw up on us. Also since most of our flights are less than two hours, we've stopped packing spare clothes for us. Both of my kids are done with bottles and baby food, which clears up a lot of carry-on space. As far as snacks, I'm a minimalist. I know planes get stuck on run-ways, so bringing a couple baggies of goldfish crackers makes sense. Carting a vending machine selection around the airport, on the other hand, is a bit too much. Of course now because of FAA regulations, we have to fill up sippy cups once we go through security anyway.

Our carry-ons for tomorrow will consist (I would say do consist but I haven't packed yet) of a couple books for each boy, my older son's FP3 player, and a package of post-it notes. You want to know which toy they'll spend 99% of their time playing with? That's right, the Post-It notes. That's the other reason why my bag is so light. Nothing beats the Post-It notes, particularly if you have a couple of them in different colors. The possibilities are endless. Of course the final benefit of a light carry-on, is that I can actually fish around to get easy access to everything I have packed.

Here's to hoping I haven't jinxed myself and fellow passengers and ended up wearing a shirt with a vomit on it for two hours.


Pinks & Blues Girls said...

My travel dream is to take nothing. Buy everything I need when I reach my destination (or get stranded somewhere). Donate all my stuff as I depart my perfect vacation. I mean it.

Sharon - Pinks & Blues Girls

ps: I too consider myself a minimalist. A few years ago my husband and I took a beautiful 2-week trip to Portugal. I packed everything in two duffle bags. We were actually stopped, searched and studied at Logan Airport. Problem? I was told by security, "No-one takes a two week trip to Europe with this little luggage." No, I am not a security threat. I simply hate the logistics of luggage.

Miranda said...

Thank you for letting people know they don't have to take their house with them when they travel with their kids! I travel all over the world with my daughter and am a big advocate for traveling with children. Packing seems to be one area that continues to baffle the parents I talk to. I'm glad you've found that it can be an enjoyable experience instead of something to dread. Keep flying!

sandy shoes said...

Post-its, cool. Will remember that.

Happy travels.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

I've only flown with one child (once with the oldest, once with middle), never with two or even all three. We're thinking of trying it this spring, so thank you for the post-it idea!

Tricia said...

I should learn a lesson from you!