Family Travel: What Not to Do. What to Do.

4 years ago

We just got back this week from a cross-country trip to Florida with the 3 and 5-year-0lds to visit my parents. I grew up there so it was a whirlwind trip of seeing family and friends in a 4-hour-radius of Central Florida. As with any trip I learned a lot. Before going I shared these tips and rookie mistakes in fact, but I’ve got more to share after almost 2 weeks away.

So here we go, some really big What Not to Dos:

285269_10200532427570079_722322454_n1. Do not ONLY pack hot weather clothes EVEN if you’re going to Florida (a typically hot weather climate). 

I live in coat weather. Its definitely still winter in Seattle so it feltreally weird to be packing for a warm weather climate. I fought with myself NOT to pack sweaters. I did! And when we arrived (yep!) it was in the 40s and 50s in stinkin’ Florida! Yes I had checked the weather report and saw it might be a little cool–like jeans and short sleeve shirt cool–not sweatshirt cold. Ugh. Well you live and learn, and you go to Target to buy a hoodie. —-> Yes that one.

154864_10200525213429730_784364839_nBut don’t worry, it did eventually warm up and we had some fun in the sun. We also got these awesome floaties at Target for $3 each before we went swimming. Much easier than having to pack floaties for your trip.—->

2. Do not take your phone into the mall bathroom and leave it in the stall. It WILL get stolen and immediately turned off so you cannot track it with your handy “Find My Phone” iPhone app.

Ugh. I couldn’t believe it. My iPhone 4, which I loved, which housed ALL of my information and life was stolen from a mall bathroom. I took it out of my back pocket so I wouldn’t accidentally drop it in the toilet (which I have also done before) and while I avoided that terrible situation, got myself into a much bigger mess.

First step was to call my phone and hope some good-hearted soul had picked it up and was walking it to lost and found. And what did I discover? My phone had been turned off and was going straight to voicemail. Ugh.

Next, go the the Apple Store–which luckily was in this particular mall–and ask what I could do. They helped me log into iCloud to see if I could track it. But because it was turned off, I could not. So I checked the box that would email me the coordinates of the phone the next time it was turned on.

Then we beat it home as fast as possible so I could start changing passwords. I was a little freaked out I must say! I re-logged into the Cloud and realized I could actually set the phone to completely ERASE (media, settings, everything) the first time the phone was connected to the internet. I knew I’d never recover the phone, this person obviously wasn’t the good-hearted soul I was hoping for. So I set it to erase and 24 hours later received the email that it had been done.

Hindsight is 20/20, I know. So take my advice and just avoid taking your phone into any and all bathrooms.

549823_10200586294916729_2048689558_nThe good news (sort of) was that we had just passed our date to get a new phone and I got a new one, but I definitely had not been expecting to spend that kind of money at this point. Thank goodness for tax return money!

3. Do not let your 3 year old open her new Camelback water bottle on the plane without checking it first. 

Air pressure people. Who knew? This awesome water bottle was a gift from a friend for her recent birthday so we didn’t have much experience with it. Apparently the air pressure on an airplane makes this normally really nice spill-proof sippie shoot a shower of water into the air drenching you and the passengers around you (yes, front and back rows). Thank goodness it was only water! Wow. True story. Oops!

Those are my 3 BIG What Not to Dos.

207395_10200586611924654_1650903839_nWhat about the TO DOs? Here goes:

1. Do Use Technology. Its great living in the future! 

My kids were ANGELS on the airplane both going and coming home. Why? iPad for the win!

And earphone splitters and lots of games, movies and TV shows they love, plus we definitely needed extra power with all of the hours of use, so we brought an Enercell Portable Power Bank (courtesy of Radio Shack). So awesome!

The iPad also worked great in the car as we drove around a lot! Just tucked it between the two front seats and it became a great movie screen to entertain the littles on long drives.

enercellnewPublic Service Annoucement: Just be very careful not to leave said technology in the bathroom (see above.)

 2. Do pack for double-duty.

So with the kids getting older we decided that bringing a stroller wasn’t necessary. There’s already so much to drag around with car seats and luggage.

But we did find a handy little suitcase called a Trunki (at a consignment store) that is great for storage but also great for dragging around a little one who’s tired of walking through the airport. Both the kids took turns riding on it, or pushing it if they had lots of extra energy and it really worked out great. Its not the easiest to open and close a bunch so we packed it with extra clothes and things we needed to carry-on but wouldn’t need over and over again.

trunkiDoesn’t it luck fun!? There were lots of adults who commented that they wanted one. ;)

We also used the Go Go Babyz Travelmate to roll the big carseat around. Such a great product that strolls so easily. We only took it to check in the carseat, but it helped a lot when we had ALL of our luggage to drag around.

3. Do Post Pics. 

Have fun. Be silly. Enjoy the company of friends and family. And post about it. Because you never know when your phone will be stolen and you’ll lose all your photos. I’m SO glad I have a bunch that I posted on FacebookInstagram and Twitter (By the way, come follow me!).


Cristi Comes, Mom of 2, Wife and Writer Motherhood Unadorned Blog @MotherUnadorned  Advocate for mental health, suicide prevention and positive self image. Attachment parent. 

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