So we just got back from a 10 day trip to the left coast. San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, & Yosemite National Park. Such an amazing trip! But traveling that far with 2 young kids can be an adventure in itself! Yes we saw so many beautiful things. Yes we had endless learning adventures. Yes we had valuable time with family. All great stuff for sure! But what I really learned on this trip, is what NOT to do when traveling this far with young ones!
1. ALL bags that fly MUST zipper closed!
I totally underestimated the importance of the zipper until my daughter's carry on bag spilled out in the x-ray machine! Yeah, it's not fun picking up 75 zoobles & polly pockets with angry faces grumbling behind you at JFK! In fact, just ban Zoobles altogether.
2. Spend the extra $10 on a mid-size car dammit!
I am always looking for a bargain & to keep costs down. But a compact car for 4 people & all of our luggage is just ridiculous. We looked like a clown car! I drove over 500 miles with my knees in my teeth. And really? It probably saved me $10! WooHoo! Fail!
3. Candy is your new best friend
Usually I'm not about the bribery (not above it, just not something I usually do) but on this trip, it was a total necessity! Especially on day 1! We had to leave our house at 4:30am to get to JFK for our early flight. We landed in San Fran 12:30 their time. So we hit the town. Great planning on my part considering the kids at 3 hours of sleep the night before, just spent 8-9 hours in transit & now I want to drag them around a city?! (Sounded reasonable when I planned it). Well Willy Wonka to the rescue! Nothing perks up cranky, tired kids like an over-abundance of sugar!
4. Different climates are nice, but I wouldn't want to live there
West coast people are always talking about the dry heat. 'It's dry heat so it's not that bad' they say. Yes I agree that when it's 96 degrees out, it's a nice option to step into the shade and be 15-20 degrees cooler. BUT the fact that I felt like beef jerky (to quote my favorite person) for 10 days was not so much fun. And the dust! I camp all the time but we have never been dirtier than in California. Dust and dirt are everywhere! I've never appreciated humidity more in all my life. Travel tip: Bring Moisturizer and Wipes! or go to Florida instead.
5. The name MOM should be changed to SHERPA
Being a mom, I have always been in charge of everyone's stuff and I am always holding this or packing away that. But when you travel, this is amplified tenfold! I spent 10 days carrying this, setting up that, finding this, cooking that, holding this, putting away that.......'Here mom, I know you are already carrying my backpack, sweatshirt and shoes, but can you just hold my doll and headphones too (while we squeeze into the clown car)?"
With that all said and done, it was all worth it. Nothing will beat the first time they laid eyes on Lake Tahoe, the first time they saw snow on mountain tops in August when it's 90 degrees out, seeing the Perseid meteor shower in one of the darkest places in America, meeting and spending time with extended family, seeing trees larger than skyscrapers and wider than cars are long. So don't let my little rant scare you. Traveling with kids can be challenging, but so rewarding. And the learning that happens is priceless!
So I just suggest you rent a suburban, bring a 5 gallon bucket of moisturizer and bring an enormous bag with you. If you can figure out how to grow 2 more hands, that might help too!