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9 Tips On Dealing With A Long Journey With Kids

A 12 hour plane ride (HKG-LAX), 4 hour layover, 2 hour plane ride (LAX-Albuquerque) and a 90 minute car journey (Albuquerque-Santa Fe) might not be everyone’s ideal to the start of a 2 week holiday.

This was a looooooong way to begin our New Mexico road trip and here are some tips for anyone about to embark on similar with two young kids:

  1. Plan well in advance from checking-in online to knowing which terminals you need to walk to.  After arriving very early for our Southwest flight, we had no idea that you could only check in bags up to 4 hours in advance.  Cue half an hour of hanging around and tapping our foot.
  2. Pack well but don’t overpack.  If you’ve got terminal changes, long walks then you will end up carrying your kids suitcases/bags unless they are lightweight enough for them to manage.  I wouldn’t allow mini suitcases this trip so both my kids carried backpacks.

    Sky rocking her Junior Backpack from Stuck On You

    Sky rocking her Junior Backpack from Stuck On You

  3. Pack activities for the kids from sticker books to colouring in as there will be occasions (gasp) when they can’t use the iPad/iPhone.
  4. On that note – PACK YOUR CHARGER/TRAVEL ADAPTOR IN HAND LUGGAGE!  I knew we could charge our iPad/iPhone onboard our Cathay flight which was useful.  We then found a random plug socket in the Southwest terminal to charge up our things again.

    Grabbing 20 mins sleep at LAX

    Grabbing 20 mins sleep at LAX

  5. Don’t drink too much alcohol onboard. Even if it is because you are trying to make yourself fall asleep on a day flight.  You will end up feeling hungover.
  6. Pack lots of snacks and take free food when you can!  One way to keep the kids happy is to keep them eating.  I packed lots of healthy(ish) cereal bars etc for the kids and then stole some more things like raisins onboard. I’ve found once you hit the domestic american terminals, fast food options seem to win so be prepared if you don’t want your kids begging for Mcdonalds.
  7. The car hire is always the most painful part of the trip!  Budget at least one hour for this, whether this is waiting in line, signing paperwork or installing kids car seats.  I got very angry with Avis Albuquerque Airport that despite us reserving a car and two kids car seats, there were non available and we had to wait.  This was because they have approx. 25 ‘no shows’ per day so they actually don’t pay too much attention to reservations.  Argh!!

    My 5 yo asleep in the car rental office, Albuquerque Airport

    My 5 yo asleep in the car rental office, Albuquerque Airport

  8. Take a buggy/stroller with you.  Even though our kids could have lived without it for our two week trip, it was indispensable for our journey from Hong Kong to Santa Fe.   We checked our double buggy in for the Hong Kong to LAX flight which we then picked up at the luggage carousel.  Perfect timing as both kids were tired, whining and needed to be contained.  Better still was it was a 15 minute walk from the International Terminal to the Southwest Terminal.  We then kept it with us right until we hopped onboard the SouthWest flight and collected it at the plane door in Albuquerque – again brilliantly useful as our 5 year old was asleep.
  9. Be prepared to be tired but do what you need to do to get over your jet lag and exhaustion, especially if you have a long drive ahead of you.  We had 4 hours to kill at LAX so decided to hop in a taxi to Manhattan Beach to get daylight and a decent meal into our system.

    A 15 minute taxi ride from LAX!

    A 15 minute taxi ride from LAX!

     

3 comments

  1. Diana from Paint Sew Glue Chew

    Great tips. On long flights when our kids were little, we used to wrap up little gifts for the kids – little plastic animals etc – (the sort of things you may get in party bags). We would then dole them out during the flight, one every hour or so.

    http://paintsewgluechew.com

  2. Diana from Paint Sew Glue Chew

    Its also worth becoming a “preferred customer” for the car hire company if they have a programme. It doesn’t usually cost anything, but you provide a lot of the info up front, and can sail to the front of the queue, as well as free car upgrades.

    http://paintsewgluechew.com

  3. spicers1976

    We’ve just done a 9 hour to USA and I think 7yo coped better than I did with it. She found it easier to sleep as she ‘s smaller, and was happy watching the films.

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