Life is hectic. Your vacation shouldn't be. With a little bit of organization and consideration, your vacation with small children can be great or at least not a disaster. As a mother of two children under the age of three, nothing could be worse than 5 hours stuck in an airplane. Without making you read more, here are my golden rules for traveling:
1. HAMMER THE PLAYGROUND.
Nothing is more essential than hitting any playground you can before your flight. It might sound insane but if the airport isn't close to your home. Leave two hours early and hit a park. Let your kids go bananas. They have lots of energy to burn off on a regular day-on a day where a flight is involved they might have double the energy to burn. Go for any family activity where legs can stretch and arms can flap. We did this recently for our California adventure and it helped tons. We made time in our schedule to
2. SELECT YOUR SEATS.
Don't sit at the front of the plane where children meltdowns are center stage for the entire plane! Book your seats toward the back of the plane. Remember, families get to pre-board before the rest of the flight even if you aren't flying first class! If the flight attendants seem like their game is off, then approach them and negotiate. It's amazing how wonderful people, even attendants, can be.
3. BE KIND. DON'T WHINE.
Kids, even the young ones, always know. They know if you are happy, grumpy, and stressed. They are energy creatures so good at understanding you, that they should almost work for the circus. So...when Mamma and Dadda are upset and frazzled, they are too! No reason to get freaked out about taking a flight. Plan everything. Put together your wardrobe and then pull out two outfits to reduce on packing. Leave your house way early so you don't hit traffic and make your reward dinner at a sit down restaurant. We actually got to our recent flight four hours early. That sounds insane to do with kids, but the opposite was actually true! The entire airport was on relax mode. Security was a breeze! We were are LAX without having to wait for a single line!! That translated into a crazy cool and comfortable experience for the entire family! There weren't any people getting ruthless at the snack shop or a lack of seats near the gate. It was just easy, kind, and that meant our kids weren't whining! It's a win-win!
4. THE FAMILY THAT PLAYS TOGETHER STAYS TOGETHER.
Since we had arrived early to our gate by an hour, maybe even an hour and a half, we found an open area that was going through renovations. I had flashbacks to Tom Hanks in Terminal. Wasn't this awesome?! We played tag around the chairs for forty-something minutes. Next up...ah, mamma had packed a yellow mini NFL football. We had a blast tossing the ball around and security never even arrested us! I don't recommend football when others are present but when the place is yours--go for it! Our three year old got tired, we pulled out travel pillows by Pacific Coast (which are now sold out but the most amazing pillows ever! We love Pacific Coast Pillow Inserts and been hooked since we stayed at a Starwood Hotel in Washington, DC. Looking for Pillow Inserts-that link has a great article to give you ideas!) So we kept playing as my three year old relaxed. We played in the airport right up to boarding. It was awesome fun--at least for being stuck in an airport
5. USE YOGA TO HELP YOUR ADULT MIND RELAX.
Children can be like the water that made the Grand Canyon. They teach us how to become better people. When in the midst of any struggle with children in which you get frustrated, angry, or tense, think about a different moment in which something had been difficult, like holding a yoga pose. You hold the yoga pose that is hard and challenging because it makes your mind, body, and spirit stronger! However, something that new people to yoga have to understand is that trying hard doesn't help you master the post. You have to, ahem, you are going to really hate this is you have young children, but you have to Let it Go! Let it Go! Let it Go! Acknowledge that it is tough to travel with kids, give yourself space to breathe and tell yourself that you are doing your best! It's only a flight. Once you land, forget everything that was difficult and remember-hey, you're on vacation!