Growing up in the south, once the warm weather hit it seemed like we always migrated to the beach. I remember summers where I would not only go with my own family but tag along with friends on their family trips to the white sandy beaches as well. When I moved to Michigan about 6 years ago that put an end to the easy access of the Emerald Coast so I had only been able to visit once since moving.
My toes were itching to dig themselves into the sand and to just lay back listening to the blue green waves roll in. This year I was determined to take my kids on their first beach vacation! So determined in fact that when my husband said he couldn’t take the time off work to travel with us, I decided I would take them my self! No big deal.
In case you don’t know us, our kiddos are both under the age of 3 and both still in diapers. They are extremely stubborn and a tendency to be slightly high maintenance. (Slightly being the understatement of the year) However, I spend about 90% of my time alone with these little minions of mine and we have traveled pretty often with them, so I figured flying alone with them wouldn’t be that big of a deal. So I bought two tickets, booked Finn as a Infant in Arms and started counting down the days!
If I am being totally truthful, as the trip got closer I for sure had anxiety around how things would go. So I made sure I had ALL the tools I could possibly need to make this the easiest trip possible! Thank you Amazon Prime for having literally everything a mama could need! (See everything listed and explained below) The first portion of the trip wasn’t terrible, the kids honestly did amazing on the flights. I will admit my anxiety probably stressed me out the most waiting for something to go terribly wrong. Ella had a few melt downs due to strangers touching us, our stuff and getting in their faces…
Let me just go off on this tangent for a second.
I totally understand that to a normal human, I looked like a crazy person juggling two toddlers and all of our stuff completely alone in an Airport. It is so extremely nice of those sweet people who offered to help. However… When you get in my toddlers face and start trying to pick her up and she screams “Yikes, get out of here!” please don’t act all offended and then look at me and say, ” What’s the matter with her?” Um, ma’am you are in her personal space and she doesn’t like strangers. When I say, “No Thank you, I’ve got it.” please don’t continue to grab my bags and move my stroller. I totally understand that you think you are helping but in all honesty this was the most stressful part of my trip. Because then I have to deal with a toddler who has a complete meltdown over some stranger carrying her bag away or moving her stroller when she has learned a very specific routine on how we operate. It’s not anyones fault. How are you supposed to know my kids have special sensory processing needs when it comes to some situations??
This I think is one of the hardest parts of just going in public in general with a kiddo that thrives on continuity and doesn’t trust anything or anyone new.
The trip back was MUCH easier! I had loosened up a bit and was way more confident in my ability to juggle all the things. We bought lots of fun snacks while at the Florida airport, they slept the whole way to Atlanta, and then we spent our layover exploring the tunnels between terminals! We grabbed Chick – Fil – A, Face-timed Dad, and jumped on our next flight home. It was truly smooth sailing into Detroit!
I won’t lie and say it wasn’t absolutely exhausting! My back was worn out from carrying Finn all day in the Ergo Carrier and we were all hot and gross after traveling. Donald met us at the airport and I think we all 3 collapsed into his arms.
One last tip and scenario I will mention before dishing out all the tools I used for a successful trip. We travel often and in the past never ran into an issue where we weren’t all seated together as long as the tickets were all purchased together at the same time. Well, on our flight home I discovered that a flight attendant at the desk could place my two year old in a totally different row and section of the plane than me if we did not pay to pick our seats. I won’t go into the whole drama of how that went down. Let’s just say this mama bear started out polite and it ended with a manger moving my two year old back into the correct seat. I will also admit there were some angry tears… I hate those. You are so angry you are crying then pissed that you even started crying because it makes you look weak. Ugh. Anyways.
I know this is what you really came here for! Here is a look at the items I packed in our bag & gear I used. No matter if you are crazy like me and flying alone with toddlers or if you have an extra set of hands, these items will help you!
These Children Airplane Harness adaptors were the BEST! We have flown hundreds of times with Ella and this was our first time to try these. I ordered one for both of the kids. Not only does it give them better security but it comes with a mat that they sit on so they aren’t sliding around the seat. The headphones were only $12 and I bought a pair for each of the kids so they could watch their own shows. Also, I know the Paci may be a sore subject for several of you moms out there but let me tell you something… it is a life savor for you and for those baby ears! They don’t know how to handle the pressure changes and since they can’t chew gum the next best thing is a Paci! Soothing, eases pressure, and if they don’t get it all the time it will be a special treat.
I bought this Ergo Baby Carrier after I had Ella but never used it with her. When she was an infant we used the Sully Baby Wrap when traveling. Let me tell you though… Baby Finn LOVES this carrier. We adventured to the Strawberry Farm as well as the Airports and Plane rides and he has never fused no matter how long he is trapped in there. It also really helped with the need to be hands free to get on the plane and help Ella while traveling. If you have to fly with an Infant in Arms I highly suggest some type of wrap. This carrier can go front, backward or even on my hip!
Okay so this little invention was my favorite. My husband things I am crazy as usual but it turned out SO much better than lugging that stupid giant double stroller around. We purchased two umbrella strollers that are able to recline and have wheels that can individually lock. Then after watching several Youtube videos I bought these Gear Ties to attach the strollers together if you ever have the need to push them both alone. I love the freedom of being able to push them my self or break them apart once we get to our destination and let another family member take one kiddo while I took another. They seriously need to get something like this on the market but I am pretty proud of my invention!
I can’t take the credit for this one. I put my husband in charge of entertainment. He made sure the Ipad and my phone was fully loaded with Disney movies and fun apps like Music Videos from ABC Mouse or their Zoo Adventure App! Ella loved the ZOO adventure but the Music Videos played non-stop this whole trip. I think the whole family knows all the words to the “Primary Colors” song. Thanks ABC Mouse! haha
– Travel Size Sensory Toys
– Snacks, Snacks, Snacks!
I don’t recommend taking a ton of toys. I only had two for the entire trip and they consisted of a white board and maker for Ella and a Sensory toy for Finn that would keep them busy for a minute or two if needed. You will be loaded down with way too many things… don’t worry about the toys. (Unless it is a SUPER long flight.. then exceptions would be made!)
The amount of snacks we had ready to go was endless! Goldfish, Gummy Bears, Cereal Bars, Peanut Butter Crackers, Cliff Bars, M&M trail mix, Animal Crackers, Cookies… I will admit I ate just as much as they did! I am an anxious eater and this was for sure a situation where my anxiety was running high.
Woooo. That was a lot. I feel exhausted all over again after typing all this out. All in all we truly had a wonderful time and I would do it again in a heart beat if the destination and people were worth it! Although, I don’t think our recent beach crew will be inviting us back anytime soon. They are probably too traumatized by my very demanding and very loud toddlers. Haha we love you “C” family!
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Hoping all of your days are magical!
Mouse and Moore