Tuesday, May 31, 2005

And now, it's your turn!

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I will be flying on an airplane with four children, ages 12, 12, 7 and 2 and one husband (age 44). Upon arrival, we will be whisked away to a villa on the tropical sands my in-law's home in hot, humid, burning hell Texas where we will stay for ten days or so.

Then, due to more circumstances beyond my control, I will be boarding an Amtrak train with my four children and one husband (who has aged after staying at his relative's home and who will then be 47). We will be on the train for thirty-seven HELP! STOP ME! SEND VALIUM! hours.

Now. You tell me. How do I best survive this? I haven't flown in an airplane since 1996. (I've only flown flapping my wings as I jump from the uppermost reaches of my two-story home.) Seriously. What should I pack? How does the whole thing work when you bring your stroller to the gate for gate-check? What is your best travel tip?

And for those of you who are curious:

1) Houston.
2) Vacation.
3) Walt Disney World.
4) Because I am clearly insane.


Blogger WordsRock said...

This is what you call a vacation?
Burning hell indeed. Can't you stay home and just read the postcards they send? :) That's the best travel tip I can give you.

Seriously though, sounds like quite the adventure. It may look bad on paper, but in real life it's gonna rock! (Never underestimate the power of positive thinking!)

5:02 AM  
Blogger Feeble Knees said...

Whoa...You are brave!
Just in case anyone has trouble with ears popping on the flight, you must invest in a few pairs of "EarPlanes" - they're dorky looking blue earplugs that help equalize the pressure on your eardrums. They have them in adult and kids' sizes. (WalMart, Walgreens, Target, CVS, etc. should all carry them.) I never fly without them, period.
Beyond that, have you considered stocking up on Valium? ;-)

6:07 AM  
Blogger methatiam said...

Sunscreen. Lots of it. Take it from someone who?s lived in the desert for 30 years.

6:09 AM  
Blogger Olive Oil said...

I wish I could help with the airplane thing. I myself will be getting on one in two weeks and I am scared shitless. I almost pee my pants everything I think aout it. I don't do well in enclosed spaces, especially when they are 30,000 feet above the ground

6:43 AM  
Blogger Cuppa said...

Gravol - for you and the kids. It not only helps upset tummies and travel sickness, it makes you sleepy. Have lots on hand for the kids on the train trip! (Just kidding!)

I never travel without Gravol and Immodium! If you have it with you, you won't need it! If you don't, you will. Take it from the voice of experience! It is better to have it and not need it than the other way around.

Have a wonderful time and remember every detail to share with us in your blogs when you get home. Oh, I can hardly wait to read them.

Have fun and take care.

6:43 AM  
Blogger Crankenpants said...

Bring your own food they only give you peanuts on flights now. Don't wear belts with metal don't wear shoes that tie. Prepare the kids in case you are searched. Make sure they know to take off back packs and put them on the x-ray thingy. I think they still let you gate check strollers and carseats, but not sure. Call the airline they would probably tell you.

Good luck with all the traveling.

6:49 AM  
Blogger Julana said...

I have not flown for awhile. I remember chewing gum madly during ascent and descent, when I did. To help equalize ear pressure, and avoid eardrum popping. The stewardess put our stroller in the closet to the right as we entered the plane.
You have my deepest sympathy for the train ride. I once spent a night on an Amtrak train. Uncomfortable, and hard on your back.
I would say take plenty of wipes, with all those children. The restrooms on planes and trains are gross, IMHO.
And some snacks. Maybe some portable dvd players.

6:50 AM  
Blogger tab said...

Better you than me hehehe. I say take lots of medication, maybe drink lots of vodka or something w/a kick beforehand too.

8:30 AM  
Blogger Diddy-Win said...

Your NBF from the PWWGAS club here...WHAT WERE YOU THINKING GIRLFRIEND?? Probably the same dern thing I used to think when I traveled with my five...
For the younger ones, I used to pack in gallon zip loc bags. I put an entire outfit, including undies, socks, top, bottom in each one. Then when they went to get dressed, we didn't have any matching problems.
For the older ones, I always (and still do) made them write me a list of what they are going to take (tops, pants, shoes, underwear, EVERYTHING) and then I could check it and they would have a checklist.
Truly, I'm not terribly organized, but traveling was another story.
One of the things I did for entertainment was to give each one of them a very small journal so they could write and draw pictures of their trip. Some of them didn't touch it (probably your 12's wouldn't, but Babygirl and Youngestboy might...)
Also, once or twice I did daily surprises (teen tiny things). So they would have something to distract them and fight over for a few moments each day.
None of these 'tips' are too enlightening. The very best tip I have is: DON'T DO IT! However, the memories will be forever etched in their histories.

8:35 AM  
Blogger Smoov said...

You will be fine! Your kids are old enough to travel around the world, no worries. They will take the stroller from you as you board the plane and check it there. Then, when you deplane, the stroller will be sitting right outside the airplane door as you exit. I have flown with the twins three times, starting when they were 10 months old. We took 4 kids to California for a week back when the twins were 10 months old, it was a great trip and I barely remember the difficulties! Kids are generally entertained by the process of traveling itself, mine were.

9:07 AM  
Blogger barbara curtis said...

you are too funny, mel! what an adventure! take lots of funny pictures for us to see when you come home.

I agree with packing the kids' outfits in plastic bags. Otherwise you waste a lot of time and energy scrounging through the clothes.

Just keep holding on tothe idea that it will soon be over and you'll wish it wasn't.

My oldest son and I drove 9 of his siblings cross country three years ago (dad had to stay at home). it was pretty crazy, but we have some wonderful memories.

10:03 AM  
Blogger Judy said...

Call it something else. That is NOT a vacation!

My two oldest once traveled to Disney with my husband, who had to go on business. Youngest stayed home with me, I LOVED it! It truly felt like the kind of vacation I needed at the time.

Best airport advice? Don't wear an underwire bra. It will save you time.

11:03 AM  
Blogger gina said...

crankenpants has it right- and yes you can gate check strollers and carseats. and IF You check your carseat, for God sakes get it put in a plastic bag. the airlines will give you one.

5:27 PM  
Blogger Lora said...

My best travel tip is never try to combine a fun vactaion with a trip to the relatives, but then I gues it's too late for that.
37 hours on a train!

9:56 AM  
Blogger Cara said...

Take drugs...lots and lots of drugs! LOL

12:33 PM  
Blogger Jan said...

A friend of mine once gave each of my children a small bag of wrapped goodies before we left on a long car trip. Each was labeled with the name of a state would would drive through. As soon as we crossed the line into that state, they could open the gift. They were all cheap little toys and games, but they were something new to play with, so they helped pass the time.

4:16 PM  
Blogger Julana said...

Don't forget to swallow a lot, really hard, during ascent and descent. :-)

7:23 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I live in Texas and it's humid and very hot. Mostly humid, which Houston is worse and it smells funny. Why are you taking a train to Disney World? That seems like unneccary torture for all. Trains are overrated, epseically American ones. Good Luck. :-)

9:57 PM  
Blogger Mel said...

We're visiting family in Houston. My husband has decided the time has come to go to Disney World . . . and flying from Houston would cost $308 each. The train is much less. Compared to the time I had to ride in a train for THREE NIGHTS and four days when I was 8 weeks pregnant (but undiagnosed because I wasn't supposed to be able to GET pregnant) with 4 year old twins, 37 hours sounds doable--and easier than driving.

And maybe, just maybe, we are insane.

10:02 PM  
Blogger Meredith said...

It will be an adventure your kids will always remember! Almost no one takes the train anymore (at least down South)--definitely a unique experience. I would bring a lot of individually packed "fun foods" that they don't get to enjoy at home--and ration them when needed. Maybe keep a family journal of your trip? And I did dose my son with an antihistamine before flying when he was 2...just helped me manipulate his daily nap to fit the flight schedule better. Good luck!

1:30 PM  
Blogger elswhere said...

Wait-- you were pregnant with 4-year-old twins? That sounds *extremely* uncomfortable.

Um. Sorry. Couldn't resist.

Have fun on the trip- I bet your kids will love the train. And there's always "I Spy"... lots and lots of "I Spy."

11:13 AM  
Blogger Tina said...

For a long trip, I always take a "mystery bag." It contains snacks, and small activities, and toys that the kids have never seen. It seems to help. Take lots of pictures during the happy times, and then you can hopefully block out the stressful ones when you look back on your vacation. Take lots of headache medicine. I usually do best when we are not trying to meet some kind of strict schedule...I guess that one depends on your personality. I like to decide as we go...Good luck! I really want you to enjoy your time away...

8:34 AM  

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