Travelin' with Tots
A trip to paradise for most people rarely conjures what most parents
face as the realities of traveling with a toddler and an infant. But
due to my brother's wedding, we found ourselves taking the leap with
our two sons Dash (age 3) and Juna (age 3 months) to fly to Hawaii. After much
consultation with fellow parents and the internet we settled on two
groundrules. Pack light. Be flexible.
We found a discount on a time share in a family-oriented condo on ebay because a family just like ours couldn't face the "getting there.." a 16 hour itinerary from the east coast. It made our 6 hour flight seem like a piece of cake! Despite everyone's warnings about packing light--which we thought we'd heeded--we still found ourselves saddled. The bags packed, included our one shared bag that contained t-shirts and swimming suits plus wedding outfits. Then there was the 48 lb food bag--upon everyone's advise about the cost of food in HI was to bring a host of dry goods to last 2 weeks. Had we surpassed the 50 lb limit our "savings" would have been lost in the extra fees to lug such a big bag!
Then there was the "magic" bag filled with plane surprises for our 3 yr old we hoped would be enough to keep him from kicking the seats of the unsuspecting passengers near us or going awol at the flight attendants snack area; the "Baby Bear" flight harness, sling, and two car seats--enough "tie 'em down" equipment for any self respecting parent to use in the name of safety or tantrum control; snacks; mini DVD player (yes we saccumbed to borrowing one!); a hopeful adult book; and diaper bag and whew this was supposed to be a vacation?
Letting our 3 yr old stay up until he passed out on the couch in order to insure a good nap on the plane the next day. Turns out he was just tired and wired the whole trip and the day lasted longer because it's 3 hours earlier when we arrive. Both boys woke us up at their usual time (7:30 mainland time) which just happened to be 4:30 am Hawaii time.
As we arrived at the airport I saw another couple we knew also braving the same flight. Mom looked like she'd just been through a sleepless night in hell -- and dad quickly came over and whispered his one feverish wish--to have a single moment alone with his wife...now that would be paradise.
Lost in translation: If you shop at New Seasons then Hawaii prices won't scare you. Don't bother bringing food. Shop at the local farmers market where you can get 7 papayas for a $1 or pick up mangoes and avacados for free outside your condo. And strangely (and so politically incorrect!), Costco and Walmart are the easiest places to get basic dry goods for cheap.
What are your favorite travel tips for parents?
The Henderson Family