This post was originally posted in October 2016, but has been updated to include helpful tips!
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Airline fares are dropping and people are starting to book flights to visit family during the holidays. I’ve done my share of traveling by myself, with my family, and solo with the kids. I’ve made lots of travel mistakes but learned from them. When you start planning a vacation, you think about budget, outfits, food, things you’re going to do and people you’re going to see, and sites to visit. Here is a list of things you don’t think about before going on a trip, but really should:
Air quality and allergens. Unless you have asthma or kids with asthma, do you ever think about the pollutants in the air or the amount of allergens? I sure don’t. It wasn’t until the Army started moving us to different parts of country to live where I started noticing it. Even moving from Nevada to Arizona where the dust was different, sent me and my family into sneezing fits, puffy, itchy eyes, and a stuffed nose.
Detergent and water hardness. Whether you’re staying in a hotel, a rental property, or with some friends, keep in mind the detergent they use and the hardness of the water. Some parts of America have really hard water which causes rashes if you’re not used to it. In Europe, the water in my sister’s Swiss town is extremely hard. Depending on what season you travel to, cold weather and hard water could cause a flare up.
Tip: Make sure to keep the kids hydrated -- have them drink lots of water and use an ultra moisturizing cream. You ca never go wrong with Eucerin or Aveeno because its thick enough to penetrate rough skin but doesn’t leave your skin greasy.
GERMS. Okay, if you're a fellow germaphobe this is the *first* thing you think of! Different places mean different people and different germs.🤢 Traveling by plane is super gross. Not only are the seats yucky, but so is the air. It gets processed and recycled back into the cabin.
Tip: Keep some antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer in your bag. A week or two week before your trip, make sure to incorporate lots of vitamin c and zinc into your diet build up some defense against whatever it is that comes your way. On your trip, bring some zinc drops and vitamin c gummies to take daily.
BUGS! With different places come different germs, different allergens, AND different bugs! Some of them a small and annoying. Some of them bite and are annoying. Some of them bite and are poisonous and some of them are gnarly and harmless. Be mindful of crawling babies that find them on the floor and like, start playing with them and attempt to eat them. 😖
Tip: Bring a stick of anti-itch medicine (all natural, steroid free,gentle for kids and strong enough for adults!). If you’re outside, not necessarily camping, but in urban areas too - scan the ground for holes in the ground or look up if you’re under a tree or a covering for potential wasp nests.
Time of flight. Normally when you pick a flight, you pick the cheapest flight that will allow you to the destination the quickest, right? Or pick whatever flight that the kids will sleep the longest on or whatever. When you book your next flight, please (for the love of everything that is alive!) keep in mind where the plane would be at what time of day.
Let me share a story with you:
It was summer the kids and I were flying to Las Vegas from North Carolina. We took a late morning flight to get to LV just after noon. My kids are always awesome on the plane - reading, eating snacks, napping, looking out the window and observing the ever changing landscape. The pilot comes on the intercom and says we have an hour and a half left until we land and to make sure to look out the window because we’re flying over mountains. It was beautiful!
BUT let's think back to middle school science – what does hot air do? It rises. Think of the hot noon sun beating down on rocky mountains, creating pockets of hot air rising which causes, you guessed it – turbulence. Lots of it. 🤢 I open the window shade, crank the air, get some new toys out to distract the kids. I offer drinks, snacks, and the iPad. I’m fanning one kid while I rub the other kid's back. One kid’s head is on my shoulder, the other is lying on my chest, and my eyes are closed. We are on a perpetual rollercoaster with an hour and a half more to go.
Then, almost simultaneously, I feel warmth down the side of my body. Then feel warmth down the front of my body.
My poor kids are silently getting sick from the movement of the plane.
There was literally no point in getting sick bags because it all came out so fast. So I just accepted my fate.
Once the sick fit was over I had to clean up the kids on the turbulent plane.
Since you're not allowed to leave your seats when there's turbulence I had to make due with just baby wipes. I got the kids undressed. I checked his bag and there was no extra shirt.
I normally pack an extra set of the clothes ya know...JUST IN CASE.
My 4 year old confessed that a few days ago he unpacked and repacked their clothes. Cool. It's literally taking the hand of GOD himself to keep me from losing my mind on my children.
I managed to find fleece PJs for the baby and put my extra hoodie on my 4 year old.
The kids slept the last hour before we landed, no one got sick after that but there were a few close calls.
We were last off the plane looking like A MILLION BUCKS -- my 4 year old shirtless and a half zipped hoodie with the arms dragging on the floor, my baby in fleece onesie pajamas half zipped and tied around the waist because it was 107 degrees when we landed. And me - pushing a stroller in a vomit soaked dress. 👍🏼
Now, if the ticket price isn't that drastic, we book flights either early morning or super late. I know turbulence can happen randomly - jet streams, storms, crazy wind - but plan ahead for mountain turbulence and fly over them before they heat up.
Traveling is stressful. Traveling with kids is stressful. Traveling by yourself with kids is stressful. Packing is stressful. Finding out your kid unpacked your bag to help you is sweet, but really stressful. When you travel, I hope you keep these things in mind to make your vacation less stressful and more memorable! Happy travels!
What are you essentials you need on your flight to make it more comfortable?