So, now that that wild and crazy experience (the whole coast in 9 days with an antsy four year old, a wiggly two year old, a very pregnant mommy and one intrepid driver of a daddy) is under our belts...what did we take away from it all?
A and I talked about this all the way home from the airport last night. (Partly to keep ourselves awake and partly because we really do want to learn as we go and make every trip more cleverly planned than the last one.) The big lessons were:
- Plan pregnancy trips earlier in pregnancy.Okay, okay...many of you told us so and not so very deep inside we knew it was a little nutsy to be doing but, we did it anyway. For this particular trip, it may have been the right thing to do. I survived, A survived...we had no real problems or meltdowns and I'm still pregnant with no real signs of impending birth BUT...truly, it could have been easier if it'd have been at a different time, that's pretty undeniable.
- Do not pack a kid activity pack for each boy to carry through the airport along with their lovies. The fewer things you can carry on the airplane the better. Duh. Next time, a couple of books and a few tiny toys will go in the big main backpack/carry-on that we are bringing for everyone. Its no fun to be trying to convince tired boys to carry their stuff when you're already overloaded with your own detritus. Minimize.
- When planning real people (not just sights) into a trip, real organization and fore-thought are needed. I really stink at planning and we both stunk at coordinating our plans and ideas which meant that the actual trip schedule didn't really gel until um, the night before we flew out? *wince* That's a bit late for working into people's lives.
- One book is plenty of pleasure reading. I always bring too many books. Books are heavy.
- Maybe making a list of things we'd really like to do in the given destination is a good beginning plan. I am still kicking myself for not having fish tacos or other authentic Mexican roadside food, fresh avocados or Sangria soda while we were there.
- A change of clothes for each boy must be in the carry-on and then in the day-bag once we're out of the plane phase. Yeah. I figured it out after a day or two of repeated scenes frantically pawing through suitcases in parking lots.
- We need a real dirty clothes bag again. I brought a baby collapsible duffel bag to substitute for our deceased travel laundry bag and it wasn't nearly big enough which caused issues a couple of times.
- We should own a double stroller. Two umbrella strollers is kind of less great suddenly when you're lugging them through the airport. I plan to start the hunt asap.
- One umbrella is enough. I brought two and it was just more stuff to lug, ultimately.
- I need to turn my phone on as soon as I get off the airplane and keep it on. Oops! Sorry to those of you who tried to call me and could not figure out WHY you couldn't get through.
Stuff I did right? Oh yeah! I did a bit of bang-up planning that was fabulously helpful in execution. I'll be repeating the following:
- Packing our travel snacks in a small re-usable grocery bag (courtesy of Whole Foods). So much better than the eminently rippable plastic or paper disposable sacks that I have used in the past.
- Two water bottles. Genius to have one to hand to the backseat for the boys and one to keep up front for us...also helpful when one ran out and we still had half a bottle left in the other.
- Ordering groceries for delivery our first day back home. Brilliant move. I patted myself on the back many times this morning when the truck pulled up at the door.
- Remembering to put our mail on hold. Yes! I love it when I remember.
- Buying advance tickets for tours we wanted to take. Was so great when we rushed in at the last minute and already had tickets.
- Buying ziplocs to use with our first snack stop at a grocery store. Ziplocs are so incredibly useful. Put dirty underwear in them, leftover sandwiches, pills to take, jewelry, half used packages of food, and much more.
- Brought along wet wipes. Yes! I love it when I remember. So nice to have for a million reasons.
- Brought a portable potty with me. Brilliant, invaluable tool for potty-training tykes on the road. No worries when we're on the freeway in heavy traffic and he has to go or in a crowded urban location with no public toilet available. Suddenly, your car can be a private bathroom. Sounds kinda weird but, truly it was great.
Straight on to Baby!