My husband Jon travels for work and I have longed for the day that our boys and I can tag along for a trip. Last week, I got my wish as we took a four day trip to Dallas. The only glitch was that I would have to fly back by myself with the boys as Jon stayed on for his business trip. My boys are 2.75, which is a fairly good age for traveling. I wasn’t that nervous until the day before the trip when I went into a complete panic, imagining all the things that could go wrong. Despite all my worries, the trip was a smashing success.
When I first booked the trip, I consulted the write-ups on solo travel by Snickollet and Sadia. For the most part, I followed their advice. I thought I would write about what I did differently than they did, and also emphasize some Very Important Tips.
1. iFrogz + video ipods.If you’re going to keep two toddlers entertained on a long flight, this is a good product to have in your arsenal. I limited myself to one carry-on yet was easily able to fit two of these. Not only did the boys watch tv, they also listened to music and looked through pictures I loaded onto them. I wrote a full review of this product here. I spent quite a bit of time reading on the plane while the boys watched Dora.
2. GoGo Kidz Travelmate. We’ve used these for every flight we’ve ever taken with the boys. The only downside was the number of times I got stopped in the airport to discuss them when I was clearly very busy with two toddlers! Again, I wrote a full review here. Unlike Sadia and Snickollet, I planeside checked the car seats and let the boys sit in the airplane seats.
3. Burning off toddler energy.I had planned to let the boys run around and blow off steam before getting on the plane. As soon as I let Alex out of the Travelmate, he took off running through the very crowded Dallas airport without looking back. Did I mention that kid is fast?! As I ran through the airport dragging two GoGo Kidz, Nate, and my carry-on, I decided the boys lost walking privileges. If you’ve got a darter, consider this one before experimenting in a crowded place.
4. Keep a positive attitude. Our gate got moved twice. The first time, it got moved six gates away. The second time, it got moved 14 gates away. I decided to take the jetway to save some time and energy. They were incredibly excited to get to ride a car rental shuttle bus, a jetway train AND a plane in one day. As we moved gates the second time, I saw a lot of adults traveling alone with very grumpy faces while the three of us had fun. From the jetway bridge, the boys were able to watch the entire Dallas tarmac with hoards of planes. That ended up being their favorite part of the day.
5. Stay respectful of your fellow travelers.When we got to our seats, I told the boys The Rules. No kicking the seats in front of them. You must stay in your seat. You must wear your seat belt. They happily obliged. When they started playing with the seat back trays, I told them I would take away their apple juice if they did not stop. When we landed, I knew our flight was a success when the woman in front of us turned around to tell the boys they were very good on the plane.