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June 18, 2012

Traveling with "Big" Kids

When we learned we were expecting twins, we began shopping for a mid-size SUV.  Following safety, cargo space was one of the biggest factors in our decision.  I knew double the babies would mean double the stuff…but I never could have imagined we’d barely be able to fit into our vehicle for a two-day trip.

The first year was particularly extreme…two highchairs, two pack-n-plays, a stroller, and an excruciating number of diapers, wipes, washcloths, bibs, and food had to find a home in our car.  During those trips we were literally packed to the gills, such that we couldn’t see out the back window.  For our holiday trip, we didn’t even have room to bring any presents!

Things have gradually gotten a little easier over the past couple of years.  For most trips we could leave the stroller at home, and – depending on our destination – we could also do without our highchairs.  Having both girls potty-trained (as of last fall) made a big impact, too.  Still, we carried our pack-n-plays with us, as recently as our trip in April.

We’d been talking since Christmas that our pack-n-play days were numbered.  Sadly.  It made me sleep better to know that our girls were contained, and I told myself that they appreciated the familiar smell to their sheets.

But it was very obvious the girls were too big for their pack-n-play fishbowls.  My long, lean babies couldn’t fully stretch out, and I could hear them tossing and turning at night.

We decided to try a new set-up for our trip to Memphis last week.  It made me all kinds of nervous, but we felt like it was the best option.  We left our pack-n-plays at home and tried the girls for the first time in a regular bed.

Whereas we’ve splurged in the past on a hotel suite, or two adjoining rooms, this trip we got a single room with two double beds.  I was able to push one bed against the wall, and I put pillows at the top and bottom of the bed.  The girls slept together, sideways.

Here are my BIG girls, snuggling together one morning while I finished getting ready.

Unfortunately, nap was non-existent, but the girls slept perfectly well at night.  Nobody fell off the bed, and nobody roamed the hotel room at 3am.

And…our cargo area was blissfully sparse!

No pack-n-plays, no stroller, no highchairs, no diapers.  It was almost surreal.

The only “baby gear” items I had were the girls’ utensils, some bendy straws (those are generally a little easier and less messy for the girls to use than regular straws), and some bibs that we used during particularly saucy meals. 

Certainly there are times when I miss my girls being “babies”…but packing for our little trip was not one of those times!

Our girlies are growing up…getting “easier” (at least in some respects)…and this just makes me want to load up our five little bags more often to hit the road.  Why not?  It’s easy!


Julia said...

Wow! That's awesome that you went sans pack n plays, and the girls slept well in beds!

Have you thought about when you'll transition to beds at home? I'm interested to hear how you make that switch. I've heard that it's rough for some, so I'll be watching to see how it goes for you. Sounds like your girls would do really, really well whenever the time comes :)

Ah the bliss of having extra cargo room! :) Someday! :)

Barbara Manatee said...

I know what you mean!! Traveling definitely gets easier as they get older. We have a week long trip coming up and I'm excited to not have to pack a pack n play, a stroller or diapers. It does help that we're renting a friend's home that has plenty of basics as her girls are the same age as my 3...but much easier to pack and plan!!