travel

Traveling Across The World to Reconnect With My Former Self

Traveling to South Africa. Woman looking over Table Top Mountain

I spent my formative years traveling quite a bit. Driving across the country a handful of times, backpacking across foreign lands, even just moving to new cities. There is a part of my soul that is a traveler; it has been that way since I was young. I was born with a wanderlust trait, inherited from many family members that came before me.

Two Babies Equals Less Me-Time

Once I was pregnant and had twins, traveling the way I once had, ceased to continue. Flying with two infants is not exactly easy and with limited time off work, my air miles were filled flying to visit family members. So, buried deep under the many layers of being a new mom, my need to explore new places lay dormant.

The few trips away had always been for work, until this year when my best friend’s sister was getting married…in South Africa. To say I was torn was an understatement. To miss my dear friend’s wedding saddened me, on top of the fact that going to Africa has always been at the top of my travel bucket list.

It Takes A Village

My former self, the girl that spent three days on foot with the Hill tribes of Thailand, was in a proper battle with my current, mom-self. My parents generously offered to come out and stay with the boys and their dad would still be there, as he couldn’t take off work to come with me. I knew they would be fine, probably have the time of their lives being spoiled for a week by their grandparents.

But there were two things that prevented me from being able to let go. The first was letting go of control. I made almost every decision regarding the boys and to not be able to do such left me quite stressed. The second was being judged for being a crap mother for leaving her two toddlers to go across the world. This was not a trip to the Bahamas. It’s a full day’s travel to get to South Africa. Not easy to get back if there was an emergency.

Gratefully my husband and a couple dear friends, also moms, made me feel better about going on this trip. They spoke of using this time to get centered and also to show the boys that exploring new places is good for the soul.

Traveling to South Africa. Market in Capetown

Traveling is Therapy

In so many ways, traveling forces you to step outside of the small box in which you live. We can get caught up in the “must haves” of American life, and being in a new country will always re-ground you and help you re-establish the sense of gratefulness of the life you have back home. I want my boys to experience the education, excitement, adventure that travel brings and I am their example for doing so.

So I did it and spent a week in magic. It wasn’t easy being away, but I allowed myself to enjoy an incredible country, filled with incredible people. I reconnected with friends and made new ones. I also re-discovered that part of myself that is always looking at a map, wondering where to go next. It felt amazing.

Traveling to South AFrica. woman on safari at Aquila Reserve

 

 

 

‘Tis The Season…Holiday Travel Tips For Twin Parents

toddlers travel on an airplaneThe holiday travel season is upon us. It’s always hectic traveling over the holidays, add some kids to the mix and it is pure insanity. There is so much gear to pack and scheduling to sort out, it can feel like it is not even worth the trouble. Here are some tips to help take the anxiety out of traveling with little ones.

LAP BABIES

  • Book Early! If the babies are traveling as lap infants, you cannot sit in the same row as a family because there are not enough oxygen masks. Book aisle seats next to each other. For international flights look into booking the baby bassinets. They can save you from holding a baby the entire flight.
  • Look into services at your destination where you can rent baby gear. If you are staying with family or friends, have them to ask people they know if there is any baby gear you can borrow during your stay. The less you have to pack, the better! Just remember to pack whatever they use at night or during naps that comforts them. We even brought our twilight turtle on our trips.
  • Check the travel warranty on strollers or car seats. They can get knocked around and you want to make sure you are covered. Some brands offer full refunds if you use their travel bags and something still happens to your gear.
  • In winter months, the week leading up to your trip, add some probiotics to their diet. You can get great pediatric probiotics or if you are breastfeeding, add some to your diet. They really help prevent sickness.
  • Each parent has a diaper bag for their lap baby. This allows you to pack more and throw some of your things in there too. Pack some extra burp clothes, they come in super handy on all our flights.
  • Begin with their feeding schedule. If they are on a 3-hour feeding schedule think about how many times they will need to eat during the duration of the flight. That will help you know what to pack in terms of bottles or snacks. Print out FAA guidelines for carrying on breast milk and formula. You don’t want to lose any pumped milk because an agent doesn’t know how much we can carry on!
  • If you have to park off site and take a bus to the airport, look for a travel service that will drop you right off at the airport. Los Angeles has a great service called Luxe, check your city and see what they offer families. Saves you from having to get two babies and a ton of luggage on a shuttle bus. 
  • Pack a light blanket. Put this on the ground and let the babies play for a bit before loading onto the plane. It allows then to expend some energy before sitting for a long time.
  • Wear the babies through the airport or use a stroller that you can gate check. You just want to make sure your able to have your hands free. Using an Ergo or baby carrier, also helps when you have to walk the aisle in the plane.
  • Don’t be afraid to break the rules. If you have a no TV rule at home or are on a strict feeding schedule, as so many twin parents are, allow the rules to bend a bit. Age appropriate videos are a life saver on a long flight. As is having an extra snack or two. Eating becomes entertainment. Even when my boys were only fed milk, I always did a little extra breastfeed during the light to soothe them.
  • Make sure you have a bottle or pacifier handy for take off and landing. It helps with the pressure in their ears. If take off and landing is not happening during a feed, and your babies don’t use a pacifier, give them a bit of water in a bottle. They just need something to suck while the cabin pressure changes.

TWO AND UP

  • Once they are in their own seats it makes it much easier. I’ve written before about traveling with toddlers. Some tips still apply like borrowing gear from people at your destination, using a car service, and breaking the home rules. I give the boys echinacea and probiotics the week leading up to our trip.
  • Get to the airport early and let them run a bit or watch the planes land. Again, this helps them expend some energy before getting on a plane.
  • Try to find a way to keep them contained until you get through security. An umbrella stroller is a great choice over the double joggers.  Using a ride on suitcase like Trunki is a great way to get them through the airport as well. If you have to bring their car seats, use something like the Go Go Baby Z TravelMate where you can wheel their carseat through their airport while they sit in it.
  • Each child should have their own bag packed with a meal, some snacks and activities. Plus a few surprises that they don’t see until they are mid-air. Still pack a cloth in case any spillage happens.
  • Instead of sitting three in a row while a lucky parent gets an aisle seat alone, try sitting two and two. Each child gets a window and the parent takes the middle seat. Having a window keeps them busy and prevents fighting over who gets it. Plus it is a way for them to get one on one time with a parent.

Happy Travels!

 

 

 

 

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