When traveling with my kids I always have that person who gives me that look. If you have traveled with kids you know what look I’m talking about, and if you haven’t I’m sure you’ve seen it. Before we had kids and my husband and I had to travel for work or for pleasure to the Orlando area he would always have that look, the “cringed” look. All those kids. He would just fret at the gate and then when we got on the plane. Now that we are on the other end it’s a whole other story. Thankfully our kids are now getting older so it’s getting to a different point. I actually LOVE air travel and all the airport commotion so it doesn’t bother me taking the kids with. And when I see parents at the gate flustered I feel for them. I know that for others it’s stressful to go through security and to be at the airport, let alone bring kids with. So here’s a few tips that I have found through the years that may help if it’s a bit stressful for you.
The TSA usually has a kids line at the airport. I try to make a game of the TSA with my kids, whoever is the best gets their device first. Since my kids were born after 9/11 they don’t know what life was like before then. I explained that this is just something we do for our safety. Let’s face it it’s all they know, and instead of complaining about security if we make it something positive for them it’s a good start to vacation. They now thinks it’s fun and look forward to the security check.
Once at the gate I usually let them play with their games. If the airport has charger stations at the chairs, we use those. If not I always give each kid a charger brick for the plane. When they are little I found small things like bubbles or coloring to help them pass the time. If you bring bubbles remember to keep it under the 3.4 ounces.
When it comes to boarding the plane, here’s a tip that I learned for families a while ago, however if I’m ever feeling anxious I like this tip for myself as well. I’ve always noticed that everyone wants to be on the airplane first. My thought on it, why? We are all going to be in the plane together for awhile. If you are the kind that gets overwhelmed when flying I have found it better to wait at the gate for the last group to board and join them at the end of the group. Most of the time you already have an assigned seat so you know where you are going to be seated and you will get there eventually. Another tip that I have heard and I’ve seen work wonderfully for families with small kids. When there are two parents flying with a small child and a car seat. One parent goes on the plane with the carseat during the pre board. The parent with the young child lets them run out that energy at the gate. Then during the last group boarding joins the other parent. Let’s face it we don’t always like to be stuck on the plane while everyone is boarding, why would a little person want to?
So, while traveling remember we are all going through this together. Say hi to your neighbor and enjoy the ride. Just do some planning and happy travels!
Last weekend I met with a couple who is planning their honeymoon. Although I like meeting with all my clients, I have to admit I love meeting people who are getting married. Why? They have that spark, the way they look at each other and the excitement about them. Planning a honeymoon is special. You want it to be romantic, relaxing, fun - let’s face it those of us who are married remember how special it is.
Once we have been married for a while sometimes we forget about that. Mark and I have taken A LOT of vacations and trips together either alone or with the kids. And even though every trip is important, there’s something special about taking that second or even third honeymoon. Yes, I said it, we haven’t been married 20 years yet and we took three honeymoons. And why? Because it’s a time that the two of you can disconnect from EVERYTHING and reconnect. You do things that make you relax forget about the little things, you know work, pagers, laundry, kids, who’s cooking dinner tonight and REMEMBER things like who you both are as individuals and as a couple.
On our second honeymoon, we took a similar cruise to our first honeymoon. It was awesome. This time I think we appreciated the time alone even more. It was about 15 years after we married. And to be honest we wondered why we waited so long. We went all out and did everything like we did when we were first married. As much as we loved doing new things when we were first married after building a history together it was fun reconnecting and doing things like we did the first time around. We looked at our bucket list and started checking things off. We swam with dolphins, played with monkeys and visited new countries. We came back feeling like newlyweds!
When we plan these second and “tri-moons” we don’t always do things that are traditional. I’ll be honest Mark isn’t a beach person. If I told him let’s have dinner on the beach in the sand, he would laugh and say, “That’s not happening!” Instead for us, we find romance in different ways. On our “tri-moon” we went on a cruise and one port was Jamaica. Because I’m an off the beaten path person, we ended up at Kononko Falls. We were the only two with a guide, walking up the falls. We were able to stop and sit in the mineral pools by ourselves. Now for us that was romantic. And on that cruise we were able to get a cabana in the VIBE Beach Club on the top deck of the ship for the week. Sitting alone listening to music and watching the ocean cruise by was definitely romantic. Did I mention we had someone waiting on our every need while in the cabana? Being parents who have three boys, that is a something that made it even more special.
To be open with all of you I think what makes these second and “tri-moons” the best for us is that we are able to disconnect, relax, and really communicate. That reconnects the spark and you get that feeling again. Just like I see with newlyweds, taking on the world with excitement, refreshed and new. And that’s a feeling I just love!
So what are the most important things that I take with me when I travel? My patience and a sense of humor. When traveling with the kids I have to keep not only myself, but my kids organized and ready to go through the airport and dealing with airport security. When traveling alone I always seem to attract the people who are anxious in the TSA line. It’s become somewhat of the storytelling when I get home from a trip, the kids always ask, “Who did you meet today in security mom?” I don’t know if it’s because I actually enjoy traveling and I’m usually pretty relaxed that others who are not end up next to me in line, or it’s just the luck of the draw. My last time flying home from Las Vegas and being stuck in a long security line I had a nice conversation with someone who I learned was afraid to fly. We both made it through security and he went on his way. I gave him a few of my tips for a calm trip and he was very grateful. As he put it, “I wish I could get to fly with you on all my vacations.”
When I go to the airport there are some things that I’ve learned to keep me sane while going through security, especially with kids. The first thing, there is a reason that they want me at the airport an hour and a half ahead of my flight when flying within the US, or two hours if I’m flying internationally. If I have to drive to an airport that is further away I add that into my time. I always give myself plenty of time before the trip. Why? Well, this last time my van had a battery that died, and that put me behind. Good thing that I had extra time built in and Mark was able to drive me to the airport.
If there is an app that I can load on my phone and pre checkin to my flight I do so. If not, I like to use the Kiosk. Not everyone is a Kiosk kind of person and that is why there are people at the airport to check you in. At some airports if there is an outdoor desk you can check in there as well. Next is my favorite thing, the TSA checkpoint.
TSA checkpoint. Most people grudge and cringe at this. In today’s day and age I’m personally thankful for the added security. We all have to go through it so matters to make the best of it. When I fly I always wear the most comfortable clothing known to woman, leggings and a comfortable top. Most importantly unless it’s winter I have my beloved flip flops on. In winter I have slip on shoes or boots. I do not like anything that is not easy and quick to slip on or off at security. Plus I know that I’m going to be on an airplane for longer than hour I want to be comfortable.
Now I have to get my stuff in those little bins. I have to admit I’m this is where I become a bin hog. Yes, I’m THAT person. I take three bins, one for the electronics, laptop, cellphone. One for the shoes, purse, my sleep pillow, and jacket. The final one is for my toiletries. Most importantly don’t forget the 3-1-1 rule, “These are limited to travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item. Placing these items in the small bag and separating from your carry-on baggage facilitates the screening process.” I can’t tell you how many items I see tossed out at the security checkpoint.
Making sure that I’m there early gives me relief going through TSA. If there’s a line I normally have extra time so I’m not upset. And if something doesn’t go just right, I’ve found that it’s best to just relax and make the best of it. Not only while trying to get through security, but whenever you are traveling. Once I’ve gone through security and I’m on my way to my gate relaxed, it’s time to stop for a water, or for a Cola. Until next time, Happy Travels!
The kids are back to school and I’m off to a conference to learn. While I’m ready to get a bag together I wanted to share some of my favorite packing items and tips.
Years ago I purchased Ebags Packing Cubes for myself and I fell in LOVE! These things are awesome, I have a set that includes a large cube, approximately 17” x 12” x3½ “, a medium cube, approximately
13” x 9” x 3” and a small cube, approximately 11” x 6” x 3”. I use the large bag for jeans, shorts, and bottoms. The medium for tops and swimwear. Then the small cube is for undergarments, and socks. What’s great about these cubes is that when you get to your room you can just take the cubes out of your suitcase and put it right into the drawers. With having the three boys, everyone has their own color of cubes. This way when we travel together everyone packs their color cubes and we just toss them into the suitcases and pack them up until we hit the weight limit. Easy Peasy! And when you are traveling with three boys you need to make it easy.
When standing at the luggage carousal does it ever seem like everyone on your flight has black or blue luggage? I know it seems that way to me. That’s why I ALWAYS put something on the handle on the top that sticks out and I notice it when it comes up. I like tulle so I put some very bright tulle on the handle. Something that everyone else won’t have.
Here’s something else that might sound crazy, however I purchased a luggage scale that I use to weigh my luggage before I leave for my vacation and then I pack it with me. Why? Well let’s just say that I have a bad shopping habit. If we are vacationing with the kids, we give them a spending plan for souvenirs. Sometimes mom has a bad habit of slipping in a few extra bucks. Now, when it’s mom and dad alone, I always have to bring my boys home something. And let’s face it it’s fun to do a little shopping when you are in another country. And then this way I don’t go over that dreaded weight limit.
Ziploc bags, and not the slide zipper type. Yes, I love these things. First if I pack a full side bottles of shampoos and shower supplies I put them in Ziploc bags. I also pack a few empty gallon size bags. They are great if you have a wet suit at the end of a trip, or if you need to put something that got extra dirty aside from your other clothing.
My last little purchase was an under the seat bag. For years I’ve been using either a large purse and putting things in it or using a duffle bag. However, recently after seeing a friend’s under the seat bag I had to try it. And it was a great investment! It has a compartment for my laptop, a part for my purse. I have a spot to hold onto a water bottle, a small spot for an extra pair of my beloved flip flops. And if I don’t want to take a carryon there is enough room for me to take an overnight change. Best part, there are wheels so I can roll it through the airport instead of carrying it. Plus if I do take a carry on it sits nicely on top.
And there you have it, a list of my favorite items for travel.