Traveling is one of my passions – I love immersing myself in another culture, trying different foods, and seeing the wonderful sights I have read about in the history books, so I had to learn pretty quickly how to incorporate my twins into the travel plan.
I recently received a question from a reader about international travel with twins:
“I am a mother of twin 15 month-olds (also fraternal boys). … My husband and I are thinking of taking a short 4-5 day trip to London. I saw on your blog that you did that with your kidlets. Is it worth the trip? How did they do on the plane? D.M.”
Oh my gosh, YES! It is definitely worth the trip, especially while you pay a fraction of the price for kids under 2 years old!
To answer your question about the plane, be sure to make quick friends with the staff on board the plane – they can either make or break the trip for you. Don’t focus too much on the people around you. I had one lady say to me, “They better not cry!” How can someone even say that to a mother of an infant, let alone twins? Well luckily for her they were angels but that really made me feel a little bit stressed. Also many of the other passengers were kind and sweet and very happy to help out where needed.
Here’s what I have learnt from our three international trips and one domestic flight: No matter how prepared you are for the actual flight, you need to be as prepared or more so for the security check points. The TSA staff are on a mission (and rightly so!) but for parents it can be really tricky. This is the one part of the trip that can leave you exhausted, close to tears, or ready to pull your hair out!!
Hopefully these tips will make airport security feel like a trip to the spa (yeah, right!)
Mobility: We used two light weight umbrella strollers that we clipped together to get around the airport and on our travels. The clip was key so that we could separate the strollers and go our separate ways if we needed to divide and conquer.
My mistake was using the stroller for extra storage, so when I got to security, my stroller wouldn’t collapse with all the toys in the pockets. So I wasted a ton of time and had a bunch of extra things to handle while trying to sail through security.
The stroller goes through the X ray machine, so you have to empty the stroller (which includes removing the kid 😉 ) and collapse it, so the less you have stored in it the better. Once you are through security you can use it more, especially for carrying your coats etc.
Check your airline restrictions, but most allow you to take the stroller right up to the gate, where they will check it for you. Only thing to remember is if you are connecting, you need to pick this up before continuing on. This is something to consider if you have a short connection, but regardless I would not have survived carrying my twins, their diaper bag, my carry on etc without the stroller.
Clothing: One of our biggest “travel meltdowns” occurred at security, because my son had to take off his jacket and he didn’t want to take it off. I had to wrestle my son out of his jacket, and continue to load and nudge the plastic containers along with my free arm. I never in my life would have expected this to be an issue with my son, so beware!
Now I make sure to dress myself and the kids so that we can sail through security. I wear slip on shoes (no tying laces), yoga pants (no messing with belts) and a sweat shirt (no removing the jackets). I will take my jacket and the kids jacket with me, but if you can slip this under the stroller till security then you avoid having to struggle with it till then.
Organization: With twins it’s inevitable that you need a TON of stuff, so make sure you are organized. Keep all your liquids in one allocated place till you get through security. I don’t need to tell you how agonizing the unnecessary search can be for the unforgotten hand sanitizer that I had left in the bag.
I also packed a bunch of new (and old favorite) toys for the plane, and have them individually wrapped so that the twins have just as much fun opening the toy as they will playing with them.
One of my favorite travel bloggers wrote this great article on organizing your hand luggage. I have used her first tip about clothes in a Ziploc bag over and over and it’s probably the most valuable advice for keeping organized and the twins clean during travel.
Restrictions: Make sure you read about the airport restrictions ahead of time. I have found these vary by country so check ahead.
One airport allowed me to take the sealed instant formula through for my twin infants, but the next wanted me to taste it, even though it was sealed. So I ended up throwing it out because once you open it, you have to use it within two hours – nightmare!
Also check the size limitations. I had my large tube of butt cream (aka diaper cream) with me, which they tried to throw out because it was too large (despite the obvious double need for it).
Time: And finally, I can’t stress this enough – make sure you arrive with plenty of time to check in and get through security. If you aren’t stressed about getting to the plane on time, you will definitely enjoy your experience much more! Also make sure you have enough time to do a diaper and/or outfit change for the plane. I let my kids run around the airport, crawl on the dirty floor (yikes!) but then they are tired out for the plane. I then wash their hands thoroughly, put them in overnight diapers and soft cozy PJ’s to help them relax on the flight.
Make sure you check the airline and airport restrictions before you fly, have a great light weight stroller to help you navigate the airport, keep your liquids organized in one place so you can sail through security, and leave plenty of time for diaper and outfit changes.
So with these tips under your belt, hopefully all you have to worry about is what kind of UK chocolate to bring home with you 😉
Bon Voyage! And don’t forget to send us a postcard