What To Pack When Traveling With Two Kids (solo)

I was called cool, and even badass when showing how I played with the kids in the water. A few said we looked like we were having fun. This was true, there was lots of it! And fun doesn’t come without it’s fair share of preparation and ensued stress.

There were about three running lists in my head. One consisted of things I know the kids can do without, the other were things I know they have to have, and of course, the last one was things I know they need (but they don’t know). I chose a hotel that would lessen the preparation in many ways. With enough amenities, so that much of the activities and care was built in.

We aren’t frequent family travelers, and naturally, we each have sensitivities and nerves that need catering. There’s a lot to consider when traveling with two kids. Add in traveling with two kids alone, and you possibly have a parent who isn’t only concerned with trying to keep themselves and kids happy and entertained. There is a conscious ward-off of any assumptions that may be made by others that may say, having one traveling parent is less-than having two. This particular level of consciousness is not only my own. It was something I thought of privately when the kids were young and I was younger. Proving you can handle it with grace and care at any stage of life, is a pressing parenthood attribution. Made especially difficult for mothers in America.

On the way there, a few older women who sat behind us told me my kids “Were angels.” And asked if they traveled frequently. “It seems so!” they exclaimed. When we deplaned and I gathered our things, they said, “You’re so prepared! That’s wonderful!” When we made our way down that warm and tight tunnel, practically skipping into the Miami sunshine, an older couple whispered to me, “They were so wonderful!” and “So are you!” They didn’t stop there, and this praise traveled throughout the entirety of our trip.

There are very few tips and suggestions that may be welcomed on the wide and winding road of parenthood. But in the simplest well-meaning kind of way, that has nothing to do with what onlookers expect of me. Expectations, if any, are theirs to deal with. Not mine. I welcome the high-fives and disregard the rest. For me, the high-fives are little nudges of positive encouragement, that bring a sense of awareness.

We aren’t lacking in it—awareness, that is. It is something I speak to my friends about often in terms of parenting. The litttle lessons from myself to my children of community, care, and awareness go from walks home and in-school to shared plane rides with hundreds of strangers.

I digress, this is more about what I packed to travel, and less about what I pack into my kids that may have something to do with their celebrated behavior.

Here’s what made the plane ride to Miami smooth and joyful (and the trip too):

Food:

I’m a vegeterian, and the kids are sort-of. Meaning, they don’t eat strictly vegeterian, but mainly. And if they would like meat (while with a friend, family, or when we’re having dinner out to eat), I don’t deny them. Occasionally, I make them organic chicken nuggets and one of their favorite snacks happens to be salami sticks from Trader Joe’s. My overall parenting rule is that their meals often consist of a fruit, vegetable, protein and a grain. Checking these off with every meal (a snack before or after also counts towards the meal), helps ease my mind when it comes to whether they’re getting their daily value of any of those things. I call most of their meals, “lunches” because they do remind me of lunch style eating.

Eating this way doesn’t make traveling hard. But it doesn’t make it particulary easy.

For the plane ride (and airport) it is easy to sway towards French fries and fast things that they’ll devour without worry. With that in mind, I tried to pack the surrounding things that mattered. Because I am not in the business of fighting with my children about food. But I’m also not in the buisness of acting as if I’m not concerned about the balance (or inbalance) at times.

For the flight, this meant:

a container of carrots

a half bag full of clementines (that lasted the entire trip and the ride back home)

two bags of crackers that Oak got for Valentine’s Day that I saved for the flight treat along with lollipops for their popping ears

half of an almond butter and jelly sandwhich for lunch for each of us

The food got packed in Stasher reusable food bags (which I can not recommend enough), and then lugged in reusable bags I used during our stay for whatever we gathered in a day. We packed their water bottles, and these came in handy the entire trip as well. We bought one huge plastic bottle of water at the airport and filled up all of our bottles once we passed security. And during the trip, the hotel had a filtered water dispenser, so we filled our bottles every morning and evening.

Wellbeing:

Speaking of sensitivities, I don’t expect my children to be easy fliers. I am not. I have anxiety. And my motion sickness is so awful its almost hilarious....

Here’s what I brought to help all of us

Earplanes and these molds

Dramamine for kids and the non-drowsy kind for adults

Emergen-C for me, to help ward off germs

Pads because I was waiting. And tampons because #youneverknow and I wouldn’t want to skip out on the water if so.

Personalized Fun:

I’ve learned that my children need their own bags with the same thing in each. So that’s two pairs of headphones, two pencil cases, their favorite stuffies (two each), several sheets of coloring book paper and tiny things that they find amusing—but equivalent in play. Ownership goes a long way with siblings. Especially little kids who need entertaining on an adventure. The same can be said about me.

On the plane ride there, I committed to CNN and MSNBC, which was fascinating. The only times I read the news is the headlines that alert me throughout the day, that lead me into some article I shouldn’t read first thing in the am. It felt good to just watch the news. AND not get down about it in particular. Maybe it was the prospect of the Miami sun, or just being with the kids in such a way.

In many ways, being prepared allowed us to have fun. Or maybe, the need for sun and fun allowed me to think about the complicated, simply. Give us what we need, prepare, and the rest will follow. Whatever it is, traveling with two solo isn’t less than, rather, I’d like to argue, it is more. Sign me up. We will be there. Swimming, dancing and all.

I’ll be sharing more about our trip next week. But in the meantime, please share any flying prep tips of your very own.

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One thought on “What To Pack When Traveling With Two Kids (solo)

  • Reply Katie February 28, 2020 at 8:00 pm

    I have a five year old and a two year old and I feel like packing and trip prep is slowly getting easier. I sometimes feel like I’m crazy and over prepared, then on one recent trip the younger one vomited before we even got to the airport, and later had a pee accident, and we ate all our snacks and I thought “well, thank goodness I prepared!” Travelling can be stressful.

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