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Traveling with one baby is hard, but we recently traveled (think “Trains, Planes and Automobiles”) with not one, but two babies! We took our 6 month old infant twins on a whirlwind cross country adventure that involved airplanes and long car rides. We had traveled with them when they were two months old, but we only went away for one week and didn’t need to bring quite as much stuff. This time, we went away for three weeks, stayed at 5 different locations and rented two different cars to get us to all of the places we needed to get to. Thinking back, it was a hell of a trip and very ambitious of us with 6 month old babies!
The twins seemed to be much more sensitive to the airplane pressure on this trip. More about that below in the first tip.
The twins were on a pretty good eating and sleep schedule before we left. They did well on the actual trip, but since we’ve been home, getting them back on our time zone and our normal schedule has been tough. We’re working thru it though and I’m giving them extra snuggles when they need it.
Here are five tips that would have helped us have a more successful experience traveling with not one, but two infants for three weeks. I hope these tips help you when you are about to embark on your next trip with your infant or heaven forbid (did I say that out loud?! Oops!) infants (plural). 🙂
(1) Be prepared & bring enough bottles
No matter the length of your flight, make sure you have enough bottles ready for take off and one that you can make in enough time before landing. Their ears can’t handle the pressure and take it from my experience of not being prepared on our first flight out, this is very important. The pacifier didn’t give them enough of a sucking action to let their ears pop. I felt like the worst mom ever as one of my twins slept through landing and the other one screamed. Lesson learned!
(2) Pack light (seriously!)
If you can do laundry at your final destination, don’t over pack. Yes, babies do have accidents and spit up a lot, but if you pack say 4 sleepers and depending on the time of year, 5 complete outfits with a few extra onesies and socks to go with their outfits, you should have enough clothes for your entire trip with a load or two of laundry thrown in as needed. Don’t forget to pack bibs, a hoodie or light jacket and a couple of light weight blankets. I way over packed and we ended up coming home with outfits that the twins never even wore. Not to mention, we got gifts for them from family & friends and I had no room to pack the gifts. Because of this, we ended up having to ship 2 boxes home. Shipping is expensive. One of the boxes cost more than $40 to ship. I guess it’s cheaper than checking an extra bag, but that was an expense, I could have avoided if I had packed better in the first place. Another lesson learned!
(3) Buy diapers & formula or baby food once you get to your destination
Don’t over stock/pack diapers, formula and baby food. Pack what you need to get there and make it through at least one day, then go to a store and buy what you will need for the rest of your trip. If you ask, your Pediatrician will give you sample size containers of whatever formula you are currently using (if you are using formula). We are using two different types of formula (see my post about breast feeding twins) and I got two small containers of each type before we left and packed those instead of the large containers that you would normally keep on hand at home. I also made up enough bottles (without the water) and put them in our diaper bags to get us to our location with one extra one in case our luggage got lost or was delayed. We bought room temperature bottles of water in the airport when we got there and just mixed the water with the formula when we needed the bottles for take off and landing times.
(4) Have an extra outfit for yourself in your carry on, just in case
Of course, you pack an extra outfit, sleeper or at the very least a onesie for the baby or babies in your diaper bag, that’s a no brainer. You may want to consider also packing an extra light-weight outfit for you too! We had a pee explosion while wearing one of the babies in a baby carrier. Thankfully, it was when we landed at our home airport and we just had to get our luggage and car at that point of the trip. We didn’t have a change of clothes for my husband, so after changing the baby into a clean diaper and clothes, we put the babies soaked outfit and the baby carrier in a plastic bag (that helped somewhat with the smell) but my husband didn’t have a clean shirt to change into on hand. So he sucked it up and wore the pee smelling shirt until we got home and he could change out of it and clean up. If you don’t have room for an entire outfit, maybe just throw an extra clean shirt or something you could throw on in case you get thrown up on or worse!
(5) Gate Check as much as you can & rent baby equipment to be waiting for you at your final destination
If you can avoid shipping strollers and pack-n-play’s, that would be advisable. We were the last ones on and the last ones off of the plane each time just because we had so much stuff. It was also hard to get the stroller (on the jet bridge) set up and the car seats installed into the stroller while we were carrying so many bags (2 diaper bags, my purse, a laptop bag and an extra baby bag with Boppy’s and toys) and each having a baby strapped to our bodies in the baby carriers. We basically, got the stroller up and moving and put as much stuff on the stroller to push to the terminal, where we then proceeded to unload all of our stuff and get the babies properly strapped into their car seats and stroller. It was quite an ordeal each time and I’m sure we got lots of looks. I’m not sure if they were looks of sympathy or more likely “boy you guys are crazy!” looks. We managed, but it was very hard and a bit stressful, to be honest.
One way to be able to not take everything for baby when traveling, is to rent a stroller, pack-n -play or crib, swing, exer-saucer, and many other things through a baby rental company. We used a company called Babyquip to rent equipment for both of our trips. We rented car seats and a stroller when we traveled with them at two months old. That was OK then, because we had them delivered to my parents house and my dad picked us up at the airport.
This trip, we had to rent two different cars and needed our car seats and stroller as soon as we got there. Hence, our crazy loaded down stroller on the jet bridge! Car rental companies rent infant car seats. I’m not sure what the extra charge is, but if you can get by with an umbrella stroller (they are smaller and easier to fold up) or another light weight version of a stroller or the baby carrier, for the airport and then rent a car seat when you get there…or better yet, check your car seat when you check in at the bag drop…that would be so much easier than the way we did it this last trip.
Most airlines don’t charge for checked car seats, strollers and other baby stuff. I’m sure you could check a pack-n-play too if you needed to. Remember, all of this baby stuff takes up a lot of room in a trunk and the back seat of a car, so if there’s any way you can lighten your load, I’d highly recommend it.
Most importantly, have a sense of humor and know things aren’t going to go perfectly!
I certainly learned a ton this last trip about what we really need when traveling with infants. We will be traveling again over the holidays and I plan to pack much better and rent stuff ahead of time to be waiting for us at our final destination. This way we won’t have to pack so much and lug all of the heavy baby gear with us. Lugging all of that baby gear is a back breaker and made our trip so much more stressful than it ever needed to be. We did laugh at ourselves often on this trip though, so having a sense of humor, helped us get through the more stressful times. I have learned my lesson and will be lightening our load the next time we travel with our twin infants. Our next trip will be more successful, much more manageable, and way more fun guaranteed!
If you have any infant travel tips that weren’t mentioned above, I’d love to hear them. Please comment below. I’m open to hearing from other parents who have been there and done that, especially if they traveled or travel regularly (successfully – whatever your definition of successfully may be) with twins or a singleton.