One of my passions in life is traveling. I secretly always wanted to be one of those hosts on the Travel Channel that reviewed places to stay and things to do in all the exotic locations around the world. So, when it came time to plan our 2011 family vacation, I spent countless hours scouring the internet for content. Where did we want to go? What would we do when we got there?
Traveling with children brought out my fear of the unknown – all these thoughts running through your head… will they make it through the airport and flight without a meltdown… how will the time change affect them… did I pack the medicine… did I pack diapers and lovey in the carry-on… will I get to enjoy this vacation too or will I be too worried about my children…
So, more research ensued – traveling with toddlers, airplane games, to purchase an airline seat for <2 or not to, etc. One of the ideas I stumbled across was to fill a backpack full of new items and let them open one every 30 minutes to keep them entertained on the plane. I purchased the following for our bag of goodies, which turned out to be a lifesaver:
- iPod loaded with games
- Crayola Color Wonder Markers & Coloring Books
- Modeling Clay (the kind that doesn’t dry out)
- Wikki Stix (VERY cool toy! Nate still plays with them around the house and comes up with some pretty imaginative games)
- Nesting Fairies (which might sound like something perverted, but I swear it’s not!) – I would not reccomend these for a flight – When Riley opened one of the nesters, the others went flying everywhere.
- Flash Cards (on a ring)
For the airplane seat, we decided to go the el cheapo route and have Riley be a lap child. Word of advice – if you’re travelling with more than one child, PAY THE MONEY FOR A SEAT! Did you hear that? I said PAY THE MONEY FOR A SEAT.
Riley's 1st plane ride
Now that the “how” was figured out, I had to make a final decision on the “where”.
I REALLY wanted to go back to Jamaica, but I kept questioning taking the kids at such a young age. I almost booked it several times, but then I envisioned going through customs with two kids under 5 and I talked myself out of it (yes, I talk to myself alot).
In the end, San Francisco won out. Hubby is a native, plus Grandma Nicole and several of hubby’s childhood friends still live there, so we decided to keep it low key and spend our vacation visiting. We took Nate there when he was two and now that Riley was turning two, we thought it was time to take her to see the city by the bay.
To be continued…
P.S. My favorite travel resources are Trip Advisor followed closely by HomeAway