My goal is to give you tips on how to travel with kids so I wanted to share a story with you and give you 4 quick tips from my most recent trip to California with my four year old.
Tip 1: Jet Blue, and Virgin Airlines America (just to name a couple) offer great deals on flights for “Black Friday” aka the Friday after Thanksgiving.
Last year, on a whim, I decided to take them up on this great offer and purchased a round trip ticket from Boston to Los Angeles for a steal of $250! That’s right I said round trip! I have yet to find an offer as great as this one! The downside to this deal is that you need to plan your trip anywhere from ‘as soon as possible’ to only three months out. Due to my budget I chose to book our trip on the very last week I possibly could in order to save up some extra money for spending.
After calculating the numbers (2 adults + 2 kids= $1,000 for plane tickets) my hubby and I decided that since the trip was to visit my best friend that I should be the one to go. Then after numerous discussions about how much I would miss my hubby and my children we made another decision to make the trip a girls weekend for my four-year-old daughter and myself. The next day I was so excited to tell my daughter the great news! Finally she would be going on a plane again… (my daughter thinks plane trips are the coolest thing in the world!) This brings me to my next tip.
Tip 2: Don’t hype up a trip to a four year old that is over 100 days away. It will only lead to him/her asking you everyday “are we leaving today?” My advice is to create a countdown calendar when the trip is 30 days away. This way he/she can visually see how many days before your big trip and this will help keep you sane!
Tip 3: The day before you leave make sure you give your kids a late morning nap especially if they have to wake up at 3:00am the next morning. Also, put them to bed an hour early. Trust me, you will thank yourself when you have to wake them at the crack of dawn!
On the morning of our trip, my biggest fear was airport security. To my surprise the security guards were AMAZING! They were so nice to my daughter and could tell she was nervous so they made sure that she didn’t leave my side. Next we boarded the plane, which was also a pleasant experience, because some airlines will let you board after first class with kids under 5 so you can get settled and not hold up the boarding process. The flight was 6 hours long (which feels forever especially when you did not get any sleep the night before. Tip 3 would’ve come in handy right about now!) I came prepared with toys, games, movies, books, and magazines for her and my own entertainment.
After landing in LAX and rushing through the airport to baggage claim my daughter mentioned she was hungry. I told her we would get some lunch soon which I quickly forgot about in the hustle and bustle of the airport. My best friend picked us up and our trip began without missing a beat. Our first stop was Hollywood Blvd for some star searching and shopping. At this point I am exhausted (there is a 3-hour time difference) but I am eager to see what the Hollywood fuss is all about. Soon we came across the Disney Soda Fountain & Studio Store and that’s when I have the fabulous idea of ordering us some ice cream for lunch (it is vacation of course!). We eat, enjoy then carry on. Our next stop was the Santa Monica Pier, which brings me to the greatest tip in the world!
Tip 4: Make sure to plan or pack healthy snacks, meals and stay on a schedule! After parking at the pier, my daughter throws the most dramatic temper tantrum that I have ever seen her throw. Which then made me realize it is 2:00pm (when in her world is really 5:00pm EST aka dinner time) and all she has eaten all day was a piece of a muffin and some ice cream. So frantically I run up and down the pier looking for a quick bite to eat. I was able to get her to eat a few bites of a burger and some fries. About 20 minutes later the second meltdown began which would have been avoided if I had followed my own tip and stayed on our Eastern Time zone schedule!
Fortunately the next day was a new day and I made sure that I was going to stick to our normal schedule with plenty of healthy snacks and meals for the rest of the trip! Hope these tips help you on your next trip!