There’s a learning curve to doing anything with children, especially twins. We were jumping into the great unknown when we decided to travel to upstate New York in early spring with six-month-old twins. We survived, however, even if we did learn some valuable lessons for the next time we travel.
1. I have zero patience for inefficiency. I have little patience to begin with, so when I'm placed in a situation where I don't think things are being run as well as they could be, my mind begins to unravel. My irritability in the face of what I view to be other people's incompetence is something I need to work on. I want to be a good role model for my kids and don't want to be that person.
2. Have a bag dedicated to each baby because the airline will inevitably split you up. We made the mistake of only using one diaper bag because we thought we would be sitting closer. I knew we couldn't sit in the same row because of the oxygen mask issue, but I at least thought we would only be one row apart. Nope, we were seated about eight rows apart on a couple of flights. It would have been super helpful if we each had a bag dedicated to the baby we were carrying including diapers, wipes, bottles and milk or formula.
3. People are far more empathetic about traveling babies than I expected. I thought people were going to be jerks about our two very loud babies, but every person we encountered either stoically bore with us or were downright gold star helpers. The security agents at Rochester loaded our bags on the conveyor belt, people held babies for us while we shoved bags into the overhead compartment, and airline attendants offered to walk our babies up and down the aisle.
4. Trying to sleep with an infant on my lap in basic economy is near impossible. I had Baby B who, while the smaller of the two by several pounds, is by far the squirmier. She got herself into the strangest sleeping positions making it incredibly uncomfortable for me to sleep. And because there's two of them, I couldn't hand her off to readjust. That first red-eye flight was brutal.
5. I will change my baby's diaper anywhere when necessary. So I know this is going to be unsanitary and gross but sometimes needs must. On our flight from Chicago to San Francisco, we didn't have time to change the babies, and Baby B peed through her diaper. My lap got covered in urine, and I didn't have a change of clothes. It's funny now, but when it was happening, I was nearly in tears. Thankfully, we had extra clothes for the baby, and I changed her diaper and clothes right on the empty seat next to me, as our flight was still gaining altitude and we couldn't use the bathroom.
6. Getting out of our routine makes everyone cranky not just the babies. We keep a pretty strict routine over here in these parts. With twins having them on a schedule is a lifesaver but when you travel, especially to a different time zone, you're throwing that all out the window. We all had to adjust to later bedtimes, sleeping in the car, not sleeping on the airplane, no bathtub, etc. The babies were cranky about all these changes but so were Al and I. We've gotten used to the early bedtime that lets us eat dinner uninterrupted.
7. Baby carriers are life savers. We never ended up using our stroller because there was so much snow in the Adirondacks. Instead, we had our Tula baby carriers. The babies lived in those pretty much for the whole week, and they ended up being the only thing that would get Baby A to sleep at night. Al walked around with her until she fell asleep and then transferred her into the pack and play.
8. You will get less attention if you travel with two cute dogs. Twins usually bring a lot of attention. I mean there are two adorable babies at the same time, so how could they not? This constant attention when out in public can become overwhelming, but I learned to have dogs with you is a great way to divert that attention. People seem far more likely to pay attention to the cute pups than the babies.
9. It’s super easy to travel with Pack and Plays. Okay, so this probably goes without saying since these are products made for travel, but I couldn't believe how easy it was to travel with our travel pack and plays. They have their travel bags with handles which made it super easy to carry. I do hope the next time we travel that we don't have to bring both of them since we had to check them and, man, is checking bags expensive. We’re luck that our babies will pretty much sleep on any flat surface (or a carrier, or in our arms, or in a car seat).
10. It's worth the money to upgrade to economy premium. Yes, it will cost you a pretty penny, but after flying economy on United in the last row, I wanted some comfort. Those six extra inches was entirely worth it. I could put my tray table down while holding a baby. I could move around and get into my bag without smashing my face into the back of the seat in front of me. Al didn't have to be curled into a ball in his seat. Premium economy from now on.