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Friday, November 21, 2008

Words of Wisdom from OhCaptain

When I was looking for a guest poster I definitely could not overlook the Midwest Geek, also known as OhCaptain. He is a great father, husband, and a terrific blogger. He also let me in on the genius aspect of the new version of iTunes, which has made my life complete. Please make him feel welcome here at 3 Bedroom Bunglaow!

Howdy! My name is OhCaptain (no it's not, but this is the Internet). Kat asked me to guest post for her while she takes her family across the pond. Wow! What on honor. Thanks for the opportunity!

When I agreed to do this, she gave me a topic and asked if it was OK. What's the topic? (it's in the title...geez)


Seemed like a pretty broad topic with lots of room to wiggle. Just my style. As a very experienced know it all husband and father of two, I got to experience the absolute hell joy of traveling by air on a one week vacation this past summer.

I have gone in spurts at work when it comes to traveling. There have been times when I didn't want to unpack because the next trip was right around the corner. Now, I'm on a stretch when I never seem to leave the office.

Here are some helpful hints that I discovered that made our trip a success.

Practice Makes Perfect

I can remember my first business trip by air after 9/11. These new checkpoint rules were confusing and some just seemed really weird.

When we started getting ready for this trip, this experience made me think. What are the kids going to do when we get to the checkpoints? How will they react when we are told to remove our shoes. I'm a grown up and that seemed really weird to me.

With that in mind, me and the Mrs talked about what was going to happen with the kids and even practiced a little bit about going through security. We used a doorway as a metal detector and took off our shoes to walk through.

This really helped, when we got there, we had no surprises and the kids just did everything like we practiced.

Some little things to consider when getting the kids ready for the checkpoints:

  • Have the kids wear slip on shoes. You may not have time for a beginner to tie their shoes.
  • Pack all electronics in one bag and make sure you can unpack and repack them quickly.
  • We packed those Kool-ade to go packets that you add to water bottles. Sure, $3 for water is ridiculous, but what you gonna do. You can't bring through security.
Study Your Itinerary Carefully

I'm a planner. I like to plan for spontaneity. Being prepared when you travel is critical for smooth sailing.

I'm not rich, so traveling direct is not always an option. Layovers happen and it's best to know what to expect.

For our trip, we changed planes both ways. We figured an hour or two might be fun with the kids. We could go exploring some airport and do things we've never done before. As it turns out, that wasn't in the cards for us. In fact, on the trip home from vacation, we had 35 minutes to cross 5 terminals at ATL in Atlanta.

Yikes. Knowing this ahead of time gave us chance to make some plans. We packed extra light carry-ons for the trip home. Nothing extra. In a pinch, Dad (me) could carry almost everything, including the 5 year old, and high tail it across the airport.

You Can't Pack Too Many Crayons

Traveling cross country by air takes time. Granted, in our case, it was much faster then the 3 day drive it would be if we hopped into the minivan, but it still 4 hours of being good sitting in one spot.

In the kids carry-on's we packed:

  • Lots of crayons
  • Coloring books
  • Mp3 Players
  • Leapster/Nintendo DS
  • Extra batteries
  • Books for reading
  • Blankies
  • Something to hug
  • Snacks
  • Notebook
  • Pencils

I was so proud of our kids. It seemed to be the right mix. We did take out a little insurance policy. We bough each one a new game. We gave it to them just before we left and neither knew they were getting it.


So, how did our trip go? We had a blast. The kids loved traveling by air and we the parents found it a very relaxing way to go.

I know, not everything is going to always go as planned. Flights can be canceled, luggage can be lost, but if you plan ahead and don't put too much pressure on yourself, you can have some fun.


Badass Geek said...

I don't think I could handle air travel with just myself and my wife. I'd be too busy being curled up in the fetal position sucking my thumb to do anything else.

Mike said...

Great advise. I would add if it's in your budget, portable dvd players keep the kids busy during the flight as well as the down time in the terminals. Heck it kept my teenagers busy...

zipbagofbones said...

Great post! Very good ideas! Kat, your guest posters are awesome.

Lola said...

Great tips! On our Jet Blue flights last week, there were tv's on the backs of the seats with cable channels. My son did pretty well with that, as they had his favorites.

Anonymous said...

Great advice! We never go far enough away from home to justify flying, so we always drive, but I'll keep this mind!

Captain Dumbass said...

Traveling with my children on an airplane? Fun as a colonoscopy!

Anonymous said...

Oh Captain! Fancy seeing you here. I'm now wating for Kat to get back so I can find out what she thinks of England. I may even be able to guide her on some things - like the fact that yes we DO eat fish n chips but not all day every day. She will still find Starbucks on most city streets to make her feel at home!

I follow pretty much your points when travelling, and you are spot on with the crayons!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I think the 'new' toy is very helpful.

steenky bee said...

I have never felt such nerves and sheer terror as traveling with kids. Mine just can't sit still for longer than 10 minutes. I think I must have grown 12 new gray hairs on every flight I've taken with them.