Last week we took our first family vacation to Hawaii. It was a celebration of our five-year wedding anniversary and was made with kids and grandma in tow. We had a blast! Our twin sons are now 18 months and they proved to be great little travelers given their young age.
The biggest challenge of any trip with children is actually traveling to your final destination. Our connecting flights to (and from) Hawaii had caused us a little stress and anxiety; we had three seats for three adults, and two toddlers on our laps. To our surprise the boys did great on the first leg out; everyone napped and was content during 95% of the flight. Our layover in San Fran was an opportunity to let out some energy and eat dinner. At this point, we thought the boys would sleep on our way to Kona because it was now our local bedtime. Only one boy got some sleep, and the five-hour flight was challenging for everyone.
We arrived in Kona, our final destination, at 8pm local time but it was 12:30am according to our biological clocks. The boys were sleepy but not overly cranky. We retrieved our rental van, loaded up three suitcases, two car seats and a stroller and headed to our condo, 30 minutes away.
The first night in our temporary home was a big adjustment for the boys. W was up every two hours screaming while H slept soundly the entire night. Based on advice from local sleep expert, Janeen Hayward, she suggested to let the boys sleep in as long as they want the first morning and proceed with nap schedule based on when they awaken. After the first full day, we transitioned back into their normal sleep/nap/eating routine. Janeen was right, and her advice worked like a charm! Starting the second day of vacation the boys had their routine back and slept 11-12 consolidated hours at night for the entire trip. Vacation had officially begun! I believe our experience has proven there is a lot to be said for a consistent routine and schedule for children…they adapted within 24-hours.
The week was filled with quality family time: there was limited cell phone use, no laptops, lots of laughs, and many smiling faces. We spent the mornings at the pool or playground; in the afternoons we built sand castles, frolicked at the beach, and ate most dinners outdoors watching the sun settle in for the night.
I consider our trip a vacation because grandma stayed at the condo while the boys napped during the day and slept in the evening. My husband and I were able to sip midday and evening cocktails poolside, partake in a few water sports, and enjoy side by side runs…every day! It was a great combination of spouse time and family time. Thanks mom!
Our journey home was long, and that’s an understatement. We arrived at Kona airport at 3pm for a quick flight to Honolulu, where we had dinner and mentally prepared for the 8-hour red-eye flight back to the mainland. The flight was full, and we had two overly tired boys. Surprisingly, both boys slept for the first half of the flight and remained content in someone’s lap for the remaining flight. We landed in Chicago 8am local time. The adults were beyond exhausted because – lets face it – it’s not comfortable holding a 25-pound toddler for an extended period of time. But this was a very small price to pay for our family trip.
We’ve been home for five days and slowly adjusting back to local time. The boys are sleeping 13 hours in the evening and taking 2.5-3 hours naps in the afternoons to make up for lost time.
For those traveling with twins, or with young babies here are a few lessons I have learned from our adventures:
- A travel bag for our stroller was a good investment. It made transporting it in the airport/between gates convenient and easy.
- Rather than bring our cumbersome and heavy Britax Marathon car seats, we purchased two inexpensive Cosco car seats, and checked them and the stroller at the gate. The Cosco car seats are light and easy to carry compared to Britax seats.
- If you have two children under the age of 2 traveling on a plane without paid seats, the adult companions are required to sit in different rows. The reason is there is only one extra air mask in a row.
- Establishing and maintaining a consistent schedule and routine is priceless because it can make children more flexible and adaptable to change. Children expect their routine will be reintroduced shortly.
We look forward to our next family vacation. Share with us some tips and success stories about your family’s journey below.