The Do’s and Don’ts of traveling with kids and crutches
Mid-January, our family took a long-awaited vacation to the serene and sandy beaches of Anna Maria Island, Florida. We had booked this vacation, almost a year ago, with another family I used to provide childcare for. Together, we would have four adults and four children, so we decided to rent a house for a week with an in-ground pool and all the amenities of being at home.
The other mom and I joked, as long as we have a pool and a washer and dryer, we would be good.
Fast forward to December, and we didn’t know if the vacation would happen. Airlines canceling flights and our own children being sick, put up several uncertainties. Mind you, my husband getting injured in December and winding himself up with foot surgery, crutches and non-weight bearing for 12 weeks.
However, the trip happened.
It was warm, filled with sand between our toes, unforgettable memories, late-night laughs and fresh donuts most mornings for breakfast.
Some additional highlights were watching the kids chase seagulls, spotting a dolphin in the ocean, mid-afternoon walks with my daughter finding unique little boutiques and ice cream treats. The farmer’s market, massages, husbands getting to deep-sea fish, splashes in the pool and the last night when the other mom and I were able to watch the sunset with our toes in the sand and a margarita and malibu club soda in hand.
Yet, there are several “do’s” and “don’ts” that I would like to share with you.
Let’s start with the “Do’s”.
Do book yourself a hotel room the night before if you fly out early morning, especially if you have a three-hour drive to the airport.
Do go with another family, with kids!
If flying out of where it is winter, to where it is warm, do bring with your hats, gloves and lighter-weight jackets so that upon return you have gear to get back to your cold car in.
Do bring plenty of snacks, headphones or earbuds, a tablet and suckers if traveling with little children.
If your child is under three, do bring your car seat onto the plane, so that your child feels comfortable, can be strapped in and is most likely to fall asleep.
Do give yourself at least two hours in the Minneapolis airport with a layover, to allow plenty of time to get from one gate to the next, for bathroom breaks, pull-up changes, snack refills and time to stretch those little legs, or even just rides up and down on the escalators or moving tracks.
Do pack light, especially if you have a washer and dryer at the house. We were gone for nine days total, and packed about half that in outfits, and even half of that in pajamas.
Do bring with small dump trucks, dozers and back hoes, for the kids to play on the beach.
Do rent lifejackets, a golf cart and a pack n play ahead of time, so that upon arrival it is right there and ready for you.
Do spend the money to have your groceries delivered to the house, so that you don’t spend the time once you get there stocking your fridge.
Do find time to enjoy the sunset or sunrises, without kids, and take in the breath-taking views.
Do make sure to review which streets you can drive a golf cart on and which streets you can not.
Do purchase a child harness if you have a wanderer.
Do check a bag, if not two.
Now here are some “Do nots”.
Do not pack your kids’ bags so full, so they don’t want to carry them, or are actually unable to carry them.
Don’t bring 20 different activity books, coloring books, sticker pages onto the plane. One is just fine.
Do not order a kids meal for each child. One is just fine to split between the two.
Do not forget a toddler’s blanket when traveling on excursions around rest time.
Do not pack your bag so full, leaving little room to bring items back.
Do not drive home if your flight doesn’t get in until 2 a.m., especially when roads are slick and you have a three hour drive.
Lastly, do not travel alone if you have a husband on a knee scooter and/or crutches, two kids, four back packs, one carry on, two car seats, and one checked bag, as well as blankets and a stuffy each of the kids were carrying.
My best advice? Hire a nanny or pay for plane tickets for grandpa and grandma. And by all means, have a full bottle of margarita mix waiting for you upon arrival.