I’m lucky in the fact that I get to travel with our twins. A lot. Being an American living in London, we do it regularly- both back to the US and around Europe. You could say we have this whole traveling thing down to a science. We’ve developed our must-have prerequisites and preferences when planning a family trip. Through the countless miles we’ve journeyed here are some of the most essential travel tips I can instill on any twin parent.
I’ve put this first on the list as no matter what, if you don’t have a good base for your family, with most of the necessities, things go from fun to chaotic quite quickly. I spend the most time trying to find the best place for us to stay. Our twins are only 3 years-old. We’ve needed things like travel cots or kids beds in almost all circumstances. Research your destination and look at sites like Airbnb, HomeAway, VRBO, etc., to find actual houses you can stay in. A lot sites enable you to filter for family friendly destinations. We’ve had great results where the place came with very kid friendly accommodations. As a matter of fact, one even had a pirate themed tree-house!
Flying with Twins
Every year, I’ve thought it was a good idea to strap my twins into an airplane seat for an eleven-thousand mile round trip from London to LA. That’s over 22 hours stuck inside a metal tube, traveling seven miles above Earth. We do this due to where family and friends are, and deem it worth it. However, we’ve found some great tricks to making the journey more doable. We took a look at what airlines offered the most for families, and that seemed to go above and beyond to us was Air New Zealand and their SkyCouch. We can fit both toddlers length wise in the space of two seats, providing much needed rest for all four of us. There are other options like various inflatables that are used to block the normal leg room, but the only thing better than a SkyCouch is two (which we’ve had before and is amazingly spacious).
At the Airport
One of the most impressive findings that we’ve seen in airports from London Heathrow to Kuala Lumpur is that many have now added play areas. These are typically fairly basic soft play spaces that allow for a range of ages to run around and blow off some steam. We like to give the kids a good twenty minutes in these when possible, just before going to the gate. It calms them down and runs off some of that famous toddler energy.
Other “must do’s” include having a meal, (either lunch or dinner) as it could be awhile before getting served food on the plane.
Finally, we round it off with a mandatory trip to the toilets pre-boarding. It prevents the awkward ‘I need a pee’ while being in line to board or just after take-off.
The one thing you don’t want when travelling with twins is to feel like you’re taking half of the house with you just to keep the kids occupied. Every time we travel, we allot the kids one backpack. They each fill it with whatever they want to take on holiday. Typically, this will include:
Some sort of writing/coloring items.
A couple random toys. (Avoid anything noisy or overly messy for the sake of ourselves and those around us
The kids each get to bring that one favored teddy that will be their comfort for the trip. (These are crucial for getting sleep on the flight!)
What we bring
In our backpacks or carry-ons, we always bring the following:
An array of snacks. (Kids always get hungry when there is no food service in-flight).
Tablets (Remember- distraction is key. All tablet/TV time rules go out the window 3 hours into an 11 hour flight).
And plenty of books. (These not only serve as an activity, but also lend a sense of routine – like when we read to them before they go to bed).
Having a few home comforts like their favorite toys, book or teddy makes traveling with twins a lot easier on them (and you). Don’t forget, they are likely in a new place or new situation,and outside of their comfort zone. Making things easier for them will make your travel experience with them easier. Finally, we’ve found that the more we explained ahead of time what they were in store for, the easier things went as well. Unless it involves cake, kids very seldom like surprises. They are much happier with routine. We say things like “we’re going on an airplane to location X tomorrow”, “we’re going to go see Nanny and Grandpa in California”, or “tomorrow morning we’re going to our new holiday house”, and it really helps.