{my} three tips for traveling with kids

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Let me start by saying I am no travel expert. But… I have traveled (mostly by plane) with small children MANY times (and I am still alive!). So, does that make me a guru? Probably not, but today I’m going to share how I get the kids (and myself!) psyched up for our big trips. And…what do I mean by big trip?
A twice yearly 29 hr. journey by plane from Hong Kong to Chicago. (yes, they do have those pricey direct flights that will get you there in 15 hrs, but we are usually out to save a few bucks and so our trip takes about 29) Next Friday night we will fly from Hong Kong to Korea (3.5 hr flight) have a 7 hr layover (where we try to find a couch to crash on for a few hours because it will be the middle of the night) then board the plane for the real long one(13 hr. flight to Chicago). If you account for our travel time to the airport, time checking in and waiting, arrival in Chicago and drive to my parents… door to door it will be around 30 hrs. Lets just say we are really excited to finally get to Grandma and Grandpas! My husband will be with us on the way there, but it will just be the boys and I on the way home. I always tell myself, ” its only one day…you can do anything for one day!” Kinda sounds like the same pep talk I gave myself before childbirth! (ha!)
here are a few pictures from previous flights.

1. Special (new) toys-
I buy new toys for the boys and wrap them before the trip.  I actually don’t usually buy gifts for Christmas or Birthdays because we are flying around those times and I just give the gifts on the plane. I try to think small, but time consuming! I’ve also made quiet books, playmats and other homemade things for the plane. Sometimes if we are given a toy from a friend (new or used) I will just stick it away until the flight and bring it out then. I try to space out the gifts so we have some throughout the whole trip.
 I’m super excited about what I found for this summer. I was able to get four miniature Thomas trains, with a book about that train! They didn’t come together, but it just worked out like this and I am so excited, the boys are going to LOVE it!.
Wrapped and ready!
2. Special food(s)-
I pack LOTS of snacks that we might not have very often at home. I also ration these out and bring out a new one every few hours to spread out the fun. My kids aren’t too big on plane food, but we do order kids meals and they often have treats that we don’t normally allow…so a fun break in the time.
3. Special activities- 
We limit the amount of TV at home, but on the plane….the kids can watch as much as they want!
We also bring along favorite books from home that we know will hold their attention for awhile.
Lots of one-on-one time with mom and dad….I try to take this opportunity of being “stuck” on the plane to spend quality time with my kids. When we have both parents we take turns with each child and switch when needed (the little one just likes to run up and down the isles…so this is the more exhausting job) 
And that’s it! The trip will not be without meltdowns, but we will (hopefully) arrive in one piece. All I care about is that my kids don’t make as big of fuss as the kid behind us in 45G :o)
For shorter flights we modify the plan with basically less, but the same.
For older kids..(this idea is credit to my mother!) Give each one a roll of quarters and you can take one (or more) away for less desirable behaviors…and give some back for good behavior. At the end of the trip they can keep whats left. I know this worked for us when we were young, but that was back in the dark ages… you may have to give kids a stack of twenties these days…(:o)
What are YOUR travel tips? Especially for traveling with kids?

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Emily is a stay at home mom to two crazy boys {which she adores} and one amazing husband. She loves to sew, but also dabbles in crafting and recipes. Her faith, friends and family keep her going and motivated. Come along for the ride!

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Comments

  1. I love the quarter idea for older kiddos. And wrapping presents is and excellent idea. We might have to give that one a try!

    http://bottles-and-briefcases.blogspot.com/2012/05/traveling-with-kids-you-can-do-it.html

  2. Great tips! We are traveling to Florida in November. Ikes!!! New follower from just us four hop. Love for you to stop on by Naptime Review when you get a chance ;)

    http://naptimeshopper.blogspot.com

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