9 Tips for Traveling with Twins (23 months; because its still two less tickets)

9:05 PM

Traveling with toddlers... it's like:


We NEEDED to visit my family in Texas.  We live in Wisconsin.  Several of my family members have never met our youngest two girls (aka, the twins).  Before they turned 2 and we had to pay for two more airline tickets, we figured it was time.  Conveniently, their birthday is in January, so we made a plan for a Christmas time trip. 

 Let me also set the stage:
- We would have to take four flights total (connection there and back)
-We would need to stay in a hotel 20 minutes from my parents
- We would need carseats for the rental car, because
- The rental car companies in Shreveport, LA (the nearest airport) did not have any, and
-We would be driving an hour and a half from/to that airport, and between the hotel and farm
-We would be staying in a Best Western King Suite, which means we had a microwave and an fridge, but one room.. no separation.
- We would need two pack n plays (or so I thought) because the hotel had none

  I started planning early, and truthfully, going a little neurotic over nothing.
My husband is a practical guy, and walked me back from the cliff's edge when I was ready to buy two cheap carseats to take with us "in case they get broken when we check them".

Tip #1
DON'T BUY ANYTHING SPECIAL FOR CARSEATS
We put black utility size trash bags over two of the four carseats we already own and checked them at the counter.
Then we were two less items to carry through security with wiggly toddlers.
Nothing happened to our carseats; they are fine.


Tip #2
DON'T BRING PACK N PLAYS
I borrowed one pack n play my sister brought to my parents' house for us.
I had signed up for a 30 day free trial of Amazon Prime (because clearly free shipping pays off during the holidays, and you can cancel Prime before they charge you for it during the trial).  I found a pack-n-play for $37 and had it shipped to my parents' house.  I'm guessing a hotel would allow you to do this too.  We couldn't check one for that price (its $25 each way to check that item). 
The only items that you can check for free are typically a stroller and a carseat per child.
AND, the girls slept maybe 2 hours in them on any given night.  Harper flat refused most nights, no matter how exhausted.  Wrenly made it most of the night a time or two. 
We usually ended up sleeping like this:

 


Tip # 3
PACK TWO SEPARATE CARRY ON BAGS
More on how we packed later, but we made two carry on bags that each contained diapers, wipes, the girls' favorite blankets, sippy cups, games, an electronic device (we own one ipad and borrowed another), two books, play-do and magnetic board for each of the girls.  I got the entertainment items from the Target $1 bins.
This was clutch.
You have to sit in separate rows with lap infants, so you each need a bag.
Ryan downloaded puppy videos from Youtube to the ipads. 
Those videos were helpful on the plane and the hotel room.


Tip # 4 

 PACK LIGHT
You think you need to take everything... The plane has a weight capacity.  Exercise restraint!
I packed the twins' clothes and mine in one large suitcase that we paid to check at the counter.
I wore the same pair of shoes all week, that were on my feet to the airport (you CAN do that, ladies).
My mom and the hotel had a washer and dryer, so we actually could have packed even lighter.  We did wash two loads of clothes while there, but I had packed enough not to have to.
My husband and Kaylie each packed in a little carry-on bag (to avoid anymore checked baggage fees).  This worked out fine, and both gate checked their bags when possible to not have to deal with it on the plane.  I asked my sister to buy the girls' bathtoys for Christmas and my mom would ship them to us after the trip, but they got to use them in the hotel bathtub. 
 However, a plastic cup works just fine for water entertainment. 
I packed one bar of my gentle soap for me and the girls to use.
We packed minimal diapers and stopped at Walmart when we arrived.

Tip # 5
CHECK YOUR LIQUIDS AND MEDICINE
If you check this stuff, you have one less issue in the security line.
We put toothpaste and medicine in the checked suitcase. 
Why would you need any other liquids for a trip? 
Unless you need to bring breastmilk, and that's something you should Google, because there are blog posts and guidance posted about that.
We used hotel shampoo and conditioner.
Wrenly has chronic lung disease from prematurity, and both of the twins have eczema,
so we have a bit of a medicine bag.


The first day of our trip, we made a trip to the Emergency Room (more convenient now that the town opened one this year).  Both twins had Hand Foot and Mouth, and possibly Impetigo.



No wonder they didn't sleep, at all, the first night.

Tip # 6
CALL ABOUT YOUR SEAT ASSIGNMENTS
If you book your tickets online, make sure you call ahead to ensure the airline is aware you're flying with lap infants and that your seating assignments are acceptable.
I have an undergraduate degree in aviation management and still made a mistake in choosing seats with lap infants.



A few pointers:
  • You cannot sit in an exit row with lap infants
  • You cannot sit in that single seat in one of the smaller planes with one seat on one side of the aisle (those aren't equipped with an extra oxygen mask)
  • You cannot sit in the same row with another lap infant (so your spouse cannot sit next to you when flying with lap twins)
  • We sat in an L shape with my husband sitting next to my older daughter since she's thin and he's broad shoulders (we could make sure he wasn't sitting next to another larger person and trying to manage a toddler)
  • I sat right behind my husband so the twins could see each other when they stood up
  • I like window seats because I can prop my foot up on the small railing and toddler can look out the window for a distraction.

Tip # 7
PLAN THE TIMING
Our first flight each way was scheduled during nap time.  I kid you not, I actually got to listen to my book on tape while Harper slept in my lap.  See my red ear buds cord?  Pack those. 
Additional tip: use a prong hair clip to keep them accessible (I clipped them to the handle of my bag).




Tip #8
REMEMBER WHERE YOUR CAR KEYS ARE
If you are parking at the airport, put your keys in a place and take a picture with your phone, or remember it well (same for where you park).  I had a small attached pouch in our carry on bag (Thank you friend Julie, for those handy bags!).

Tip # 9
REMEMBER TO HAVE FUN!
We appreciated the small things, like a play area conveniently located next to our connecting gate.




 And all the wonderful explorations and family time with our girls:















 And because I was listening to The Alchemist on this trip,
 I leave you with a quote from the author:
"If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine; it is lethal."

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