I will openly admit here that we are planners by nature and tend to worry about things that we shouldn't worry about nearly as much as we do (which happens because we over-think the 893278 scenarios of how things "could" play out in a situation). Because of this, we were apprehensive about bringing our tiny humans on the airplane ride. We knew we could swing the actual vacation with a few simple strategies, but the airplane ride was what made us nervous. At the end of the day, everything was manageable and we walked away with a few lessons learned from the plane ride and the trip itself - and a great first family trip to the House of Mouse.
Because I feel like the community of those who have been before is often the greatest resource, I wanted to share with you some of the things we did that helped us out on our vacation. My goal is to add to the litany of blog posts out there about traveling with kids, and hopefully you'll be able to glean something that will help you out. After all, it was Pinterest searches, advice from friends, and blogs of other moms that helped me out too.
I feel like the Monty Python crew is behind me yelling "Get on with it!", so here we go...
1. Let Go of Whatever "Before Kids" Looked Like. When we used to do a Disney trip before Will and Evie were here, it was a whirlwind parkfest. We would arrive at opening and stay until the park closed for one day at each of the 4 major parks, spend a day at Downtown Disney, and another day trying a new non-park restaurant and packing up to go home. It was always a power trip (so to speak). This seemed an unreasonable approach with 2 under 3. There would be naps to contend with, non-park character breakfasts (because let's face it, we all know that the 2.5-year-old just wants to see Mickey as much as possible), bedtimes, and all other types of unpredictable things that come along with kids. So before you even CONSIDER attempting to recreate whatever your favorite pre-kid vacation was WITH your kids... just forget about what it used to look like. It's not going to look like that again for a while. (Sidebar: If your kids are old enough, involve them in the planning and ask them what they want to do too!)
|"Will, when we go to Florida, what do you want to do?"|
"I want to see Mickey Mouse."
|This double stroller was our naptime power tool. So glad we brought it with us!|
|"Mommy made me noodles. I love them." - Evie|
|...and if you can somehow manage to get them to nap on the plane - DO IT!|
If you need to be told what it means to "Go with the Flow", listen to this song.
6. You Don't Always Need Your Camera to Capture a Memory. We are a big camera/picture family. Our camera - either our dSLR or our phones - go with us everywhere and anyone who knows me knows that I AM that annoying mom who posts too many pictures of their cute kids on Facebook/Instagram. As such, I try to make the effort to make sure that I don't always reach for the way to freeze that moment in time. Too often when you do, it kills the moment; kids start hamming it up for the camera, smiles become forced. My favorite memory of our trip is one that only someone from the outside following us around would have caught on camera - and I'm glad I didn't break to get mine. (Sidebar: If you're worried you'll forget things that happen on your trip without taking video or snapping pictures, bring a journal along and record things at the end of your day.)
|"Oh, you guys just woke up from your naps? Cool.|
Now look at the camera and smile like you just ate chocolate."
Then he ran away from me yelling with his arms out to his sides - "MOM!!! I AM FLYING!! I AM FLYING TO THE MOON MOM!! COME WITH ME!!!"
I, of course, put my arms out to my sides and ran around with him. Flying to the moon with my son while my husband danced with our daughter.
My biggest tip is to just enjoy each other. It doesn't matter where you travel to - just enjoy each other, savor the moments, and cherish the memories. Those are the things that you'll carry with you for the rest of your lives.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~**Coming soon - my thoughts specifically regarding our experience at Disney with little ones and a kiddo with food allergies. Keep your eyes peeled!**