Always, Katie: Traveling with Toddler Twins: Pt 1: Planning Ahead

Monday, November 7, 2016

Traveling with Toddler Twins: Pt 1: Planning Ahead

We recently returned home from our first vacation with our twins (Gatlinburg, TN!), and we had an amazing time! I have several posts planned about different aspects of our trip over the next few weeks, and today I’d like to start by sharing some of the ways you can plan ahead to have a successful, relaxed trip… it’s totally doable, even with year-and-a-half-year-old twins! 

  1. Look into your accommodation options – standard hotel, cabin, chalet, resort, whatever. All have pros and cons with toddlers, so thoroughly consider those before making your choice and booking! Try to pick a location that is near the main attractions you’ll want to visit, especially if your kids are accustomed to a daily nap. Ours napped fairly well in the car between activities, but a few times we cut our days short to hustle them “home” for a nap or early bedtime. We were grateful that we never had too far to go! You can use Groupon Coupons to find promo codes for popular travel sites like One Travel, including promotions exclusive to Groupon!
  2. Make packing checklists! Write lists of clothes you need for each member of the family, toiletries, home goods, etc. My lists took up six pages, but a lot of that was because I was still in the process of making Halloween costumes to take along with us, so a lot of the items on my list included steps to complete the projects. But seriously. Lists are lifesavers when you’re stealing minutes to pack here and there while also wrangling twins! I spent two hours making my lists, no regrets!
  3. Research activities – especially if you’ve never been to the area before. An awesome way to do this is by checking out Groupon Things to Do in the weeks leading up to your trip! Not only will you find ideas of great local attractions to visit or restaurants to eat at, you can save a boatload on these activities and restaurants! Don’t plan out every minute of every day you’re there – you need some flexibility with toddlers along for the ride – but this is a really helpful way to relieve some of the “what if we just sit around bored the whole time” worries. I’m not the only one who gets those, right? 
  4. Plan car/plane distractions! I made some quiet books for the kids, which we never even ended up needing (so those are on deck for the next time we need to distract them, haha)! We also got a couple of multi-packs of Little People animals on clearance, and we’ve been saving those for a few months and doling them out one at a time when we need to calm them down with a new toy ;-) They got a few new ones on our trip. We also had plenty of Cheerios for their little travel snack cups, and briefly considered back-of-seat travel DVD players for them, too. We ended up not getting them, because our twins are really good travelers… but we did take along a Target gift card we’ve been saving for a rainy day, just in case we needed to pull off the interstate and change our minds about the DVD players! You know your kids, so you probably have a pretty good idea of how much and what kind of distraction you need to bring along. (Add these things to your lists from the second bullet point, haha!)
  5. Check the weather! This is a bit of a mistake I made… I planned the kids (and my) clothes based on the idea that we were going to be enjoying fall leaves and it was the beginning of November… but I kind of ignored the fact that it was going to be about 80 degrees in Gatlinburg while we were there!! So, ten days forecasts are your friend. 
While I wouldn't consider myself a "planner" by nature, I've learned that planning in excruciating detail helps me combat my ADHD and keeps me calm and focused... which in turn reduces the stress level of the whole family! ;-)

What are some other ways you can plan ahead to have a great vacation with toddlers?
PS: While you're checking out Groupon Coupons, check out places you may be thinking about shopping while you're away! Gatlinburg has a TON of shopping and outlets, and Groupon Coupons can help you save even more :-) A couple of examples (among many, MANY choices): Tommy Hilfiger or DressBarn!

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