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Vacation hacks from the tired Mom...

Travelling with 4 kids and making it back in 1 piece
So when my husband suggested heading to Hawaii on vacation, I was sitting in a very uncomfortable hospital bed on forced bed rest while waiting for baby Elsie to arrive - he could have said he was taking me to the moon and I would have agreed!
Needless to say as the trip approached I began to question my judgement... but we've been on a few trips with 3 kids, how much different can a trip with 4 possibly be? 
In the 6 short years that we've had kids, I've gathered some tips and tricks that have helped keep my sanity in the weeks leading up to the trip, the flights and transitions between and the hotel stays themselves.  I'm not saying I know everything - just what works for us and I hope they will work for you too!
Ground control to Major Mom...

Flying with littles - not for the faint of heart!  I got more looks this time around then I care to mention, and probably about a dozen of 'you are so brave'... listen I knew what I was getting into, I know my kids, I was prepared.  Don't have to take pity on me, but you could buy me a beer... just saying!

  • Bring a few new toys for them to play with on the flight - I also like to wrap them up so it takes them time to get it out and feels like a present.  Usually a colouring book, a small puzzle or this time I picked up a travel lego thing for Avery - that kept him occupied for quite a while!
  • SNACKS - if there is one thing you cannot have too much of, it's this!  I like to take the kids to the grocery store and get them to pick out a few that are JUST for the plane - so they know they are getting something exciting on the plane.
  • TV - we have an old school travel DVD player we bring - it has saved us many times!
  • Change of clothing... this one I missed this time!  I forgot to pack extra clothing for Maddy and just as we were touching down in Vancouver... barf city!  So she ended up running around at the YVR Airport in a onesie courtesy of the gift shop... she probably won't remember it but at the time she was pretty peeved at me!

The packing trap...
In the beginning, I did not know the meaning of over-packing.  When it was just 1 kiddo, I remember heading to Phoenix for a week and for Avery alone I packed 2 duffel bags - 2!  With a fam of 6 if I did that the plane wouldn't get off the ground so I had to revise my packing insanity.
  • If you are going for a week, no more then 5 outfits, going for 2 weeks, 8 - and they all coordinate!  So if something gets dirty you can sub it out.
  • Going somewhere beachy?  Your kids are gonna live in swimsuits - so a good cover up and a few extra suits, take out a couple outfits and you're solid.

  • I try to pack 1 week in advance, that way I have to sit and look at the bags in my hallway for a week. Seeing the bags all packed up usually leads to me purging a few items, and also helps me to remember things I've forgotten!
  • We no longer stay at hotels that don't have laundry services! Either in the room, or in the same area.  One trip to Disney and having all the kids get the flu taught us that a washer and dryer is a priceless addition - don't hotel without it!
Not all hotels are created equal...
OK so choosing a hotel is a BIG part of our puzzle when deciding on a location for trips.  We have learned the hard way on a number of items - so here's a run down of my must have's!
  • How far is parking from the hotel room?  Wrangling kiddos after a long day of doing stuff is not my idea of fun so the closer the better!
  • Can we walk to the pool?  Getting in the car is the last thing I wanna do with wet shorts...
  • Kitchenette and a washer and dryer - yes it means we do a bit more work - BUT - less packing and more quiet dinners together as a family instead of - you guessed it - getting in the car and searching for a family friendly restaurant when everyone is hangry!
  • Ground floor - yes please!  When the kids nap it is lovely to be able to sit out on the veranda and pretend we can sip margaritas by the pool carefree -  if you are on a higher floor it's just a bit too cramped on the patio.
Courting the Jester
So how do we keep 4 littles entertained in the hotel room?  Target!  One of our first stops is to pick up some hotel toys, crayons, colouring books and goodies for the kids to pick out.  This gives them something to look forward to as well as a routine that has become a fun activity for them.  And Elsie scored a little floor chair I saw on their website before we left.  It was on sale, and it fit in the extra bag we brought for souvenirs. 
Oooh, but ya know what Target also has - wobbly pops!  So don't forget to stock up on all the fun adult bevvies available, I'm always amazed at their selection and fun 'not available in Canada' specialties - so have a ball and buy all the boxed wine!
If you have any tips I'd love to hear them - I'm always looking for cool ideas on how to make my vacation planning easier!  I hope that my tips will help you, have an awesome vacay laday!








1 comment

  • Such good tips!!! Now I just have to be brave enough to travel with the littles haha


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