Tips for Surviving Jet Lag with Twin Babies/Toddlers

Travel with twins at Chichen Itza Mexico

Travel with twins at Chichen Itza Mexico

Jet lag is an unavoidable part of any travel ritual. Those who travel together must learn to cope with it. We spent a number of years taking trips before we had children. Jet lag wasn’t so bad then. We could stay up late and sleep in as desired. It was only a minor inconvenience. We were in for quite a surprise when we had our twins.

We started traveling with our girls shortly after they were out of the womb. We started by taking a couple of road trips with only a 1 time zone difference. This didn’t require any significant change to our schedule. Going into our first trip abroad, we weren’t overconfident. We were simply clueless as to what obstacles lay ahead.

We flew from the US to Prague when our girls were 4 months old. The girls were great on the flight. We were exhausted by the time we arrived at our rental apartment. The girls were put to bed in the hope that we could get some sleep of our own. We were caught completely unaware when our precious little bundles spent the next 2 nights crying incessantly. Cuddling? Crying. Toys? Crying. Singing? Crying. Feeds? A brief respite followed by… crying. No matter what we tried, the response was the same. Slowly the twins were able to acclimate themselves during the trip without much help from us. Everyone was exhausted. We had clearly underestimated jet lag with twins.

Despite the rough start, we continued to travel. We have battled jet lag on 6 different continents and have picked up a few tricks along the way. While jet lag initially appeared an unavoidable nightmare, we discovered a number of ways we could ease the transition for ourselves and our kids. We hope our wisdom earned through crying, tears and sleepless nights will be useful to others.


A. Getting there:

1. Get the right seat for babies on long haul flights. Take advantage of the bassinets so your babies can sleep on the flight and have some space to play. For more information read our article about how to choose airline seats for lap babies.

2. Start adjusting the sleeping schedule in the direction of your destination’s time zone a week prior to departing. Whether you put them to bed earlier or later depends on which direction you are going. As we tend to take many long haul flights, the goal isn’t usually to get them on the destination schedule (as this is rarely possible). Rather, we are trying to time it so they will sleep for most of the long haul flight. This serves multiple purposes. It makes the flight easier for the whole family, allows the parents to get a bit of sleep on the plane and it shortens the duration of jet lag after your arrival by getting your twins a couple of hours closer to the destination schedule before you even leave.

Travel with twins napping in the double stroller

Travel with twins napping in the double stroller

Of course, this means that their whole day schedule is going to change. You can’t really predict how your twins will respond when you start adjusting their bedtime. This depends on your twins, their ages and your schedule. Sometimes you have to add or subtract naps to keep them from waking up at 4am or sleeping until noon. There is bit of trial and error involved. You know they will need the same total hours of sleep each day. Use this to anticipate necessary changes to their napping routine.

Let’s give an example. Malaysia is 14 hours ahead of our home in the US and the girls normally go to bed at 8pm. Our flight departing to Asia from Los Angeles (LAX) leaves at midnight. Roughly a week before our departure we start putting our toddler twins to sleep one hour later than their normal bedtime hours (9pm) for 2 nights in the row, then 10pm for 2 nights and 11 pm for one night and so on. To make this possible we might add an extra 1 hour nap around 6pm. On the day of travel, the girls are able to stay up until we board the long haul flight on which they sleep 8-9 hours. It sounds crazy but it works!

3. Relax the routine while en route. We are hardcore advocates for keeping our twins on a routine. That said, even we realize when traveling longer than 24 hours door to door that we have to throw the routine out the window. Long haul sleep aside, we let our girls determine their schedule during the trip. As babies we would keep them on an every 3 hours feed/wake/sleep cycle through the trip until bedtime at destination.  As toddlers we would offer food and snacks every few hours, but let them determine when they needed to nap. We don’t let them take a nap longer than 2 hours, but otherwise let them go on autopilot.

The twins stretch their legs at Pocitos, Montevideo, Uruguay

The twins stretch their legs at Pocitos, Montevideo, Uruguay

B. At your destination:

1. No aggressive sightseeing plans on arrival. Try to get settled first! Limit sightseeing to an hour or two during the first (full) day, get some things from the local supermarket and spend some time at local playgrounds. Keeping your kids active will help them to stay awake when their bodies would otherwise tell them to be asleep. Don’t sign up for a long day tour right after your arrival. Take your time.

2. Keep your twins on the same schedule. They should be eating, sleeping, and playing at the same time. We are firm believers that keeping twins on the same routine makes life easier for everybody. Every time we travel, our girls tend toward different schedules unless we help keep them together.

3. Keep your twins (and yourselves!) awake as much as possible during daylight hours. Open all the curtains, play some music, turn on the TV, make breakfast or go to the nearest cafe. Get outside in the sunlight whenever possible. Daylight is a powerful stimulus for regulating biological clocks. Staying indoors worsens jet lag.

Babies normally have 3 to 4 hour eat/play/sleep cycles during the day. Try to re-establish this cycle in the new time zone. You will likely have to wake them early from a nap or two when their brain is telling them it’s bedtime. Play with your babies to keep them awake. Don’t leave them in the stroller. Let them crawl on the picnic blanket or hang out at the garden on a beautiful sunny day. Let them play with stimulating toys such as Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes Musical ToyOnly give them the pacifier or bottle at nap/feeding times.

It is much easier to keep toddlers awake. This is the time to explore new playgrounds, theme parks and play centers while soaking up the sun. A few hours before bedtime, find a place for them to play in a park or playground so they get extra tired. The more tired they are the better chance their bodies will tell them it’s night time not nap time!

4. Don’t go back to your rental for nap time(s). This should apply to the entire trip, but especially with jet lag. Your kiddos are extra tired and should have no trouble falling asleep in a reclined double stroller. Cover the stroller with a blanket to create privacy and to make it dark. If you go back to your rental, the temptation will be strong for YOU to take a nap prolonging your own jet lag. Minimizing time spent in your rental maximizes your time to explore.

Cover the stroller with blanket to create privacy

Cover the stroller with a blanket to create privacy

On our Italian road trip when the girls were almost 2, we took advantage of day trips so the twins could nap together for 60-90 minutes while we were driving to a destination. The plan worked great and kept them on the same schedule! We didn’t have to put them down for naps. We would give them a bottle in the car, they would nap after drinking and we would get them up at the new destination. We were able to get in many day trips (2500 miles worth) in 2 weeks this way!

5. Limit length of daytime naps.Your twins will want to take long naps around their normal bedtime. When traveling, this is often during the middle of the day. Resist the temptation to let them “catch up” on sleep this way. It will only delay their adjustment to the destination schedule. More importantly, it will keep you up at night! Don’t allow them to sleep longer than 60-90 minutes at a time during the day, but allow them to take as many naps as needed. Of course, try to keep them up a number of hours prior to bedtime. They need to learn bedtime is not nap time!

6. Keep the bedtime routine the same as at home.Try to keep their bedtime routine as close to normal as possible. These are very strong cues that help children understand this is their new bedtime. Bring their favorite pillow, stuffed animal and blanket to ease the feeling of being in a new environment. As babies they had their swaddling blankets. As toddlers they never travel without their teddy bears and blankets. Keeping the bedtime routine consistent will ease the transition to the new schedule.

7. Split nights with your partner.Your twins will wake up at night the first few nights. Plan for it. We split the nights in half while we are transitioning to the new schedule. One parent covers the first half while the other covers the second. This allows both parents to get much needed sleep.

If your kids normally sleep 10 hours per night, each parent should cover 5 hours. The late shift parent goes to bed early (in case it’s a hard night) while the early shift parent stays up for a while. To be clear, we are not advocating that you stay awake the entire “shift.” This just decides WHO will get up if one of the kiddos (or both) need some attention in the middle of the night (they will). The twins should be close enough for you to easily hear their cries, but not in the same room as this will wake both parents up. Use earplugs when you are not “on shift.”

8. Parents should take turns feeding and changing babies at night. Realize that babies’ metabolism also needs to adjust to the new routine. Your children may sleep through the night at home but they will wake up in the middle of the night hungry when jet lagged. Hungry babies are not sleeping babies! Give them full feeds (no snacking!) when they awaken at night. This gets them sleepy and helps prevent further awakenings. Early on, I breast pumped so my husband could help with night feeds. Later, we pre-measured formula into bottles before bed (just add water when you get up). If only 1 baby wakes up, we suggest you feed and change them both “dream feeding” the second twin. Take turns with your partner and keep little bellies full those first few nights when traveling. (Incorporate feeds into the “shifts” above- eg “first shift” gives a feed/dream feed before going to bed).

Travel with twins playtime at Montevideo, Uruguay

Travel with twins playtime at Montevideo, Uruguay

9. Encourage quiet time when they awaken at night. They will wake up during the night. Their bodies tell them it is nap time, not bedtime. Try to minimize stimulation and interaction. Keep the lights off or turned down low. Speak softly to them. Let them play quietly with books, blocks and other less stimulating toys. This isn’t the time to turn on the ipad/TV or toys with lights and loud sounds. This is quiet time. Feed and change them. Eventually they will get tired and join you to lay down for a cuddle or be ready for the crib.

10. Try sleeping with your twins. Our girls never sleep with us at home. Since they were toddlers, we occasionally bend that rule when fighting jet lag. This generally happens when the girls wake up in the middle of the night and have difficulty getting back to sleep. What to do when they are both awake, playful and clearly ready for mischief at 3am? It is very difficult for them to get back to sleep on their own. The parent “on shift” will get up, spend “quiet time” with them and then encourage them to go back to sleep. To do this, we sometimes lay down with them on their bed (often the floor or a rollaway) until everyone falls back to sleep. One parent sleeps with them while the other parent recharges for shift change.

11. Make sure that their sleeping room is as dark and quiet as possible.This helps to reinforce to them that it is nighttime not nap time. If your rental is noisy (street noise, etc) play lullabies on your phone or other “white noise” to help create an environment conducive to sleep.

C. Returning home:

Unfortunately, jet lag is a 2 way street. You pay the price on both ends of the trip. Be ready to flip back when you get home.

1. Plan your schedule for the return trip.  Similar to the departure, plan the return to maximize long haul sleep time. Start transition 1-2 days before you leave.  Make sure that you bring their favorite blanket and teddy bears to help them fall asleep in the plane. 

Travel with twins playtime at the park

Travel with twins play time at the park

2. Parents, don’t rush back to work. It’s great to maximize your travel time. Just realize the kids (and you! ) will likely wake up the first few nights (and drag during the days) after your return. Leave at least a couple of days to recuperate and transition if you can.

3. Vacation is over. Our kids have a number of perks while on vacation. There are fewer toys and crafts to keep them busy so we allow more liberal access to tablets, TV, and movies. Once we get home the girls are back in their normal environment with all their things close at hand. We know well the local parks and playgrounds. We restart home rules immediately on return. 

4. Get outdoors during the day! Same as above. Get out and keep yourselves busy. There are usually plenty of errands to run. Get some groceries, go to the park, meet up with friends for lunch to discuss the trip. Keep on the move to get those internal clocks reset.

5. Resume normal feeding and sleep schedules. Yes, the kids will likely wake up those first couple of nights. Their metabolisms will need to readjust (again) and you will likely have to have “quiet time” and give extra night feeds (again) to get them back on schedule.  That’s okay. Use the same techniques you did when traveling. Now in their familiar surroundings, your twins will hopefully adjust more quickly and easily than they did on the trip. 

6. Minimize social gatherings for a few days. There will be plenty of time to catch up with friends and family. You and your kids will be crankier than normal while resetting your circadian rhythms. Small, brief gatherings are likely fine. Just realize your little ones might not be on their best behavior during these jet lag transitions. 

Now get out there and conquer jet lag with twins!

Travel with twins survived jet lag at Tuscany region, Italy

Travel with twins conquered jet lag in Tuscany region, Italy

How to Pack Light when Traveling with Twins

Two weeks ago, my good friend came to visit for 5 days. She brought a 30″ expandable suitcase and a large backpack.  Additionally, she had to borrow one of our suitcases for her trip home. She was traveling alone. Luckily for her I was around to help carry her bags. Our family of four traveled Europe for 3 weeks with less luggage. When we travel, we fit everything into one 30” suitcase and 2 carry-on bags small enough to fit under the airplane seat (a stylish shoulder bag for her and a nondescript backpack for him). When you have other items to contend with (stroller, car seats- not to mention twins!) you need to keep baggage to a minimum.

Why on earth should you want to bring only 1 suitcase? If you are on a road trip in your family vehicle or staying in 1 destination, you can get away with bringing more luggage. If you, like us, tend to take trips to multiple cities you should heed our advice. Intercity transfers can be the bane of your existence. You will have to move your family and all of your luggage in/out of stations and on/off transportation by yourselves. Having to lug your bags around and throw them on and off a bus or train is a challenge with 1 suitcase. It is virtually impossible with more than that even just getting in and out of stations. If you are renting a car (or getting a taxi!) keep in mind how much space you will need. Get one large enough to fit all of your belongings. Discovering that your family, baggage and stroller do not fit into your rental car and you need to upgrade is an expensive inconvenience. If no upgrades are available it is a potential disaster. When you are planning your vacation you must consider how you will transition from one destination to another. These transfers will be much easier if you learn to bring only 1 suitcase.

Packing light tips when travel with twins/kids

Packing light tips when travel with twins/kids

We are always on the move. We rarely stay in one city longer than 3-4 nights when traveling abroad. There isn’t a form of mass transit we haven’t taken with our twins and luggage. While your travel style might be slightly more sane than ours, you will discover our method opens up more travel options. Moving around with your luggage is easy if you bring 1 suitcase. One parent pushes the twins in the double stroller and the other is in charge of the bag/gear. It is that simple.

There are a number of absolute essentials when traveling with twins. The trick is to make sure you bring everything you need and little else. If you limit yourself to one suitcase you virtually guarantee you aren’t over-packing. What is the method to this madness? How do we make it work? What are the essentials? This is how we have traveled hundreds of thousands of miles with twins using only one suitcase.


  1. SUITCASE: Invest in a good suitcase. Get a strong suitcase with wheels that is lightweight and expandable (no hard covers). Our current suitcase is 30″ expandable from Antler Cyberlite. (Thank you, Qantas, for replacing the bag you destroyed.) This suitcase has logged many miles with the twins. Everything we need on the airplane (or other mass transit) is in our carry-ons and everything else fits into a wheeled 30” suitcase. We pack beforehand to make sure everything fits. You will have some space for souvenirs on your return trip as you will have used up a number of bulky items (food, diapers) during the trip.
  2. LARGE DUFFEL: Bags can only weigh 50 pounds on international flights. Even we can’t meet this standard most of the time. We don’t care how much our one suitcase weighs so long as we can zip it closed. Solution? Always keep a large duffel folded up compactly in the outside pocket. Transfer a couple of bags of clothing (we compartmentalize -see below) into the duffel when in the airport and voila! You now have 2 bags to check-in that meet flight standards without paying extra (the duffel also serves as souvenir overflow space on the return trip). Do it with your bag right on the scale at check-in so you know when you have taken out enough weight. The duffel should be large but light and compact when folded. We use an REI duffel bag. Repack everything into the suitcase at your destination baggage claim and off you go with 1 suitcase. Easy peasy! This is the linchpin of our method.
  3. BUNGEE CORDS. What about car seats? We keep a couple stretchy bungee cords in the outside pocket with the duffel. We put both car seats upside down on the upright suitcase and strap them in place with the bungees. In this way you can pull your car seats as you pull your suitcase. It’s not always the most stable, but it works well for short distances.
  4. COMPARTMENTALIZE. We use packing bags from Ebags to separate our clothes for more efficient packing. One for mommy, daddy and the twins. ROLL DON’T FOLD the clothes to save space. We also group similar items into bags (eg toiletries, diapers, food/formula, etc). This organization makes it easier to pack/unpack repeatedly. It also helps you know which bags need to stay in the suitcase (breakables) and which can be thrown in the duffel when your suitcase is overweight (clothes and other non-breakables).
  5. CLOTHING. We don’t pack more than a week’s worth of clothes. Check the weather forecast of your destination(s) to help you decide what to bring. Try to limit bulky items that can be used more than once before washing (jeans, jackets, shoes). Wear bulky items on the flight to maximize suitcase space (and keep you warm on the plane). We always bring a small amount of liquid detergent. If there is no washing machine we hand wash in the sink or tub. Don’t forget you can intentionally under-pack clothing and plan to buy new clothes at your destination. Not only do you get new clothes, but they make great souvenirs!
  • Mom: I pack light but I don’t take my appearance lightly. I love to dress up when I travel. I only bring one pair of jeans. I bring plenty of leggings and tights during cold weather and layer as needed. I almost always wear dresses when I travel. Black is my uniform when I travel so color coordinating is easy. 
  • Twins: We want the twins to look cute and practical. One outfit a day for babies is ok. Keep 1-2 sets of emergency clothes on you at all times if your kiddos are under 2. They should be small and light (we use jump suits small enough to cram into a Ziploc sandwich bag). For cold weather travel bring 2 sets of jeans and multiple pairs of tights. Layer as needed for warmth. Color-coordinate so you can mix and match to create a variety of outfits. Two sets of pajamas is enough. Use bibs during mealtime so the clothes won’t get dirty. Focus on darker colors if you have a very messy eater.
  • Dad: Dad has no particular style. Function over fashion is the rule. Two pair of pants/jeans with a mix of shorts and shirts with different sleeve lengths. The exact recipe differs slightly depending on expected weather.
Travel with twins

Our Apartment with a view of Prague Castle

6. SHOES take up tons of space! Try to limit everyone to 2 pair of shoes. If anyone brings boots, they should be worn on the plane to save space. When the girls were babies, we only brought one pair of shoes (Converse, of course) for the entire trip. Bring shoes that are difficult for your babies to take off! You don’t want to have to retrace your steps when you discover a shoe has gone missing while sightseeing! We generally travel with 2 pairs of shoes for the girls- one pair of tennies and either sandals/flats or boots depending on weather/destination. Pack socks in the shoes to maximize space.

7. MILK/FORMULA/FOOD/DIAPERS/WIPES FOR BABIES: Bring enough of these items to safely get you to your destination. In fact, you may want to bring enough to get through anticipated jet lag (few days to a week). Plan to buy most of these things after your arrival rather than carry around the extra bulk and weight (unless your child/ren has/have severe food allergies). After you are settled go to a local supermarket and find necessities like formula, baby food and diapers. Don’t worry if instructions are in a foreign language (there are usually pictures/numbers to help you along). Consider conversions (pounds/kilos; oz/ml) as needed.

  • BREAST FEEDING. If you are breastfeeding your twins, congratulations! You deserve a medal. (Not an easy task!) If you are pumping we recommend the Ameda Purely Yours portable breast pump. I pumped on the plane, in the bathroom, in the car- you name it. It is portable and battery operated so you don’t have to worry about voltage differences. Use it with a handsfree breastpumping bra. It comes with two bottles and is compatible with standard sized bottle nipples. Don’t forget to bring a bottle brush. Those little darlings can be hard to find overseas. The Munchkin microwave sterilizer bag is portable, lightweight and good for fast sterilization of bottles if you have access to a microwave.
  • FORMULA. If you are using formula, you won’t likely find the same brand abroad. Bring powder formula to save weight. If you buy powdered formula abroad, realize that it may look different from your formula at home. We were a bit surprised by the quaker oats texture to the dry formula in Austria. After giving it a few funny looks and some quick translation from our apartment’s receptionist we gave it a try (well, our girls did). There were no problems. Again, if your children have allergies to other formulas you may want to bring formula with you otherwise you can buy it abroad.
  • BABY FOOD. If your babies have started solids, you will need to bring some food. Don’t forget to bring along 1 or 2 baby spoons (you can use the ones from the in-flight meal if you forget them). We would pack a week’s worth of baby food, but only foods in plastic containers or pouches. Glass is too heavy and breakable. Even so, we double packed foods inside of 2 Ziploc bags and padded with baby clothes. Our caution paid off as we never found a surprise baby food explosion inside our suitcase.
  • FOOD FOR TODDLERS. We buy snacks at destination grocery stores but always have food on hand for emergencies. On a 3 week trip, we usually bring 3 days worth of emergency food in case we are stranded and can’t get to a grocery store. These foods must be portable, non-perishable, and easy to prepare. We always brought instant microwaveable Mac and Cheese in small individual packets and Gerber Yogurt Blend (individual containers that don’t require refrigeration). There are many pasta/noodle options that only require boiled water to cook. That makes them fast and easy if not the healthiest food around. We would also bring multiple dry snack options (Goldfish crackers, small dried fruits, etc)- roughly a Ziploc bag’s worth.  We used Munchkin snack catcher containers. Put some snacks in them and give them to the twins anywhere (we even used them at home). After trying many other cup options, the Playtex Spoutless Spill proof sippy cup is the winner. The girls used the same bottles for almost two years. We would bring a super light hard plastic bowl for meal time and reuse. Have some hand/face wipes with you at all times in case there are no water facilities nearby when touring.
  • BIBS! A must have for twin babies! Bibs will save you tons of space because they reduce how many clothes you need to bring. Our girls wore bibs until they were 4 years old. You never know when kids are going to spit up, spill, etc. Our favorite bib is Baby Bjorn Soft Bib for stay at home meals. They are plastic so you just rinse in the sink and they are ready to go. No washing machine needed. They are a bit bulky for going out in the stroller so we use small, lightweight cloth bibs when we eat out
  • DIAPERS. Plan to purchase diapers abroad. They are just too bulky to pack en masse. Wipes are portable so bring along a pack or two, but just buy more abroad if you run out.

8. TOILETRIES. Keep a permanent toiletries bag stocked so you won’t forget anything when packing last minute. Repack it after your return. Don’t bring big bottles. They take up unnecessary space/weight. We bring travel sized toiletries whenever possible (eg toothpaste) and often don’t bring shampoo/conditioner/body wash if they will be available at our hotel/rental. Nail clippers and tweezers (for mom’s eyebrows, kid’s splinters) are small, portable and necessary so bring them rather than spend hours finding and buying new ones. Bring what you need! We keep twin toiletries in a small separate bag. For them, we bring tear free head to toe shampoo and lotion from Johnson and Johnson (in reusable, small bottles) for the whole trip. You can often purchase tear-free options abroad if needed, but might not find preferred brands.

Double stroller as high chair

Double stroller as high chair

9. HIGH CHAIR. In Europe or Asia, it can be hard to find accommodations or restaurants that can provide high chairs. We used our stroller instead. We used the Regalo My Chair Portable Booster in rental apartments a few times when the girls started eating solid meals. Even though they are light and portable, they are a bit of a luxury considering space liimitations. A side by side double stroller works just fine for feedings. 

10. SLEEPING ARRANGEMENTS. Some hotels can provide cribs or pack-and-plays, but many cannot. I can’t tell you how many times we used our peapods by Kidco. Ours were a gift from some friends- also parents of twins. They were our favorite travel item by far! They are basically mini popup tents for your twins. You can’t imagine how many more lodging options you have when you can bring beds for your kids! They are light and fold up incredibly compact. You whip them out and they spring into shape. They come with a stuff sack (to keep them from springing open). We put both pods into one sack to improve portability. As they are screened, they also help to avoid mosquito bites with our frequent travel back to Asia. It is worth mentioning that the peapods by kidco were taken off the market for a while due to safety concerns. They are available for purchase again after some minor modifications. Do your research before you buy, especially if you plan to use them with young infants.

11. TOYS.  You don’t have to bring two of everything. You have more variety if you let them share! For babies, we love Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes and Sophie the Giraffe. We also used Wubbanub Infant Toy Pacifier so it doubled up as pacifier and toy (you can’t believe how often we lost and found it again and again- much harder to lose than a pacifier!). Rattle links are light and awesome too. For young toddlers, reusable stickers and traveling flash cards are great. Since our girls turned 3 we only bring tablets and activities/coloring books that come with crayons. You can find them in dollar stores/aisles (Target). They are great to kill time while waiting for meals at restaurants and you don’t have to bring them home. 

12. ELECTRONICS. Use technology to save space. We used to bring leisure books and travel books. Now, we download all travel books and leisure reading on our tablet/smartphones. We brought a small picture book or two for the girls when they were babies,  but we also downloaded bedtime stories to a tablet. Reservations and booking information are also saved. Now that our girls are getting older, we have educational apps and a few movies on the tablets to help them pass the time. 

13. REUSABLE GROCERY BAGS/PLASTIC BAGS FOR EXTRA STORAGE. We generally bring a couple of reusable canvas bags when we travel. They help with compartmentalization in the suitcase (eg, holding food/feeding items, diapers/wipes, etc), but they can be used for a variety of things at your destination. You can use them for picnics, trips to the beach, or just to hold a few things while out sightseeing. One of them is always under our stroller in case we need to leave behind the stroller for a bit (museums, restaurants). This way we can still easily carry necessary (or expensive!) items with us. It can also be clipped to our stroller handle with a carabiner in case we run out of storage below the stroller. We use plastic bags for shoes and dirty clothes. Many hotels have laundry bags that we take for this purpose. You can also use any plastic bag from shopping (souvenirs/groceries).

14. CARABINERS. We love small carabiners. You can clip it on the handle of the stroller so it helps to carry the handbags or groceries. You can clip on the backpack, put twin bag’s together, endless uses. 

15. PACK EARLY. Enough said.

Happy Packing!

How to choose the best double/twin stroller when traveling with twins

They love taking a nap in the stroller

They love taking a nap in the stroller

A couple of amazing friends, parents of twins 2 years older than ours, gave us an embarrassing trove of goodies before our girls were born. Among the plunder was a contraption that looked somewhat like a medieval, grey colored catapult. On further inspection (coupled with a 2 hour tutoring session on setup and use) we were amazed to discover it was actually a Graco front/back twin stroller. This particular model was one into which you could snap both infant carriers. It sounded perfect. Off it went into the garage with the rest of our newfound treasures to be forgotten until our girls’ arrival. In many ways, choosing a stroller is like shopping for a car. There are compact no frills models. There are luxury models with lots of extras- large sunshade, sporty colors, reclining seats, large wheels and even cup holders (for parents and kiddos). There are even all terrain vehicles with large, inflatable tires for those infants with a yearning to go off-roading. Expect the prices to climb along with the bells and whistles. Even among twin strollers there are a dizzying array of designs and styles- front/back, side/side, high/low. How on earth do you choose which one is best for you and your twins?

Grandma with twins at Washington DC

Grandma with twins at Washington DC

This is, of course, a trick question. There may not be one stroller that will perfectly fit all your needs. Different models serve different roles. A better question is what are you planning on doing with your kids? Frequent walks in the park as opposed to jogs on bumpy gravel roads require different strollers. Will one parent be taking the kids out regularly? Will you be using it for travel? Everyday strollers with large sunshades and loads of storage are great for most situations but can be big and bulky- not much fun to get in and out of the car and even worse when ‘packing light’ for a trip. Considering how pricey these little critter movers can be, think carefully about your needs before buying (and don’t be afraid to return the stroller if it doesn’t meet them!). ‘Catapult’ was a great name for that first double stroller. It was almost as heavy and handled nearly as well. In keeping with the car theme, perhaps ‘Winnebago’ is more appropriate. Either way, our friends had warned us in advance that they used 2 small, cheap umbrella strollers when traveling rather than lug the catapult along. I can’t blame them! It weighed over 40 pounds with our newborn girls in it and was exceptionally difficult to steer. Worst of all it was big and bulky even when collapsed. We needed a better travel option.

The twins at Prague Castle

The twins at Prague Castle

Our girls were 4 months old and it was time for their first airplane trip. To Prague (This was our air travel ‘test run’ ?!?). We had taken our friends’ advice and bought 2 umbrella strollers for the trip (with a few added bells and whistles). While they worked fine, we never seemed to have enough hands. Going through airports or transferring luggage compounded the issue. Airport security was a huge pain. One parent held the 2 little wrigglers while the other scurried to get both strollers collapsed and on the belt. People waiting in line behind us had expressions ranging from moderately irritated to abject horror as we orchestrated a dance more complex than honey bees just to get through the security check point. Old cities without handicapped/stroller access presented another problem we hadn’t anticipated. Taking the strollers individually (with twins inside) up and down stairs (and there were lots of them) in old city areas without ramps was too close to an adventure sport for our taste. Added to that, these strollers were of little use at home unless both parents were going out. We needed a better stroller solution. We have used a double stroller for home and travel ever since. These minivans of the stroller world are simply more versatile for twin travel than umbrella strollers. One parent can manage the twins freeing up the other to manage luggage, doors or whatever else is needed. We prefer lighter, more compact, cheaper strollers with only a few extras. Travel strollers ideally are small enough to fit through airport security scanners and into the trunk of rental cars (along with luggage!) We prefer side by side strollers that are narrow enough to fit through doorways. They are maneuverable and the girls can both take in their surroundings when awake. Two parents can easily carry belted kiddos up and down stairways when needed without having to leave anyone behind. There’s no reason to throw your travel stroller in the closet when you get home. If you find one that fits most of your needs, you can use it both at home and abroad. We had finally figured out what worked best for our lifestyle.

Sweet dreams

Sweet dreams

Portability is our top priority for a travel stroller, but reclining seats is a close second. Our girls are now 4 1/2 years old and still regularly sleep together in the stroller with the seats reclined. This has allowed us to incorporate their naps into our travels trip after trip (and also our daily routine). We stay out sight-seeing all day rather than go back to the rental for naps. Nap time is mom and dad’s favorite time to stop for coffee and dessert while traveling (and at home!). We recline the seats back, throw a blanket over the top, and the girls drift off to sleep. We recharge our batteries while the girls recharge theirs. Our goal is to explore as much as possible and our girls have readily adapted to this.

Twin stroller in the ferry

Our twin stroller had made it to most public transportations

Our Combi Twin Sport Double Stroller is now on its last legs. I was initially concerned by its cheap plastic feel but it had received good reviews. It met most of our top criteria (side by side, portable, lightweight, well-padded reclining seats, sun shades, storage). It has held up well to the needs of 2 demanding parents and 2 rambunctious kiddos. Today there is hardly any ‘rubber left on the tires.’ While it has earned a few battle scars along the way, we are still using it after 3 1/2 years of daily use and multiple trips including 6 continents. Retirement is coming soon and will have been well-earned. Have a plan when searching for the right travel stroller. We took a few wrong turns because we didn’t fully understand some of the unique challenges posed by travel. Through trial and error we realized which stroller features would better facilitate travel. Learn from our mistakes. Consider how you travel and the challenges involved in choosing the stroller that’s right for you. Don’t be intimidated by the multitude of stroller styles and options out there. Much like cars, there is something for everyone. Find the shiny new model (or models) that fits your family best.

1. Side by side double stroller. We strongly recommend side by side strollers over other twin stroller styles.
2. Individual, fully-reclining seats. This will better facilitate nap time (cake and coffee break in our case). Opt for individual reclining seats as twin sleep schedules may differ slightly.
3. Lightweight. You will be getting this in and out of the house, car, airplane, train, bus… The lighter the better. In fact, some airlines will even force you to check your stroller with your bags rather than at the gate if it is over 20 pounds (Damn you, American Airlines!!).
The twins took a nap while we had coffee and cake

The twins took a nap and we enjoyed coffee and cake

4. Must fit through a standard 30″ door. You can’t be getting your twins out of the stroller to collapse it every time you go through a doorway. This is an extremely important feature.

5. Storage. If you plan to stay out all day, you will need to bring a few things with you. Changing pad, diapers, bottles, milk/formula, blankets, stuffed animals, toys, rain cover, camera, phone… It should be able to fit whatever you might need for a day on the town.
6. Portable when folded, opens/closes easily. The smaller the better. Remember, you will need a rental car big enough for your bags, car seats AND the stroller.Having a stroller that collapses small enough to fit through the security scanner also saves time. As you will be opening and closing your stroller continuously, make sure it is easy to do so.
7. Comfort, safety and durability. Seats should be well padded so they can sleep better (caution for very young infants!). A 5 point harness seat belt system is essential for safety (especially on the occasion that you have to carry the stroller up and down stairs with twins inside!).
8. Large sun shade. You can hang a blanket over the canopy to assist with naps.
9. Divider. There needs to be a physical barrier that separates the twins. If there is little to no separation, your twins will be constantly jostling each other and keeping each other from blissful sleep. Ideally, the divider is minimal when the twins are upright and more substantial when they are reclined. This facilitates interaction when they are awake and sleep when you lay them down.
10. Maneuverability and height. The stroller should handle smoothly (the ‘catapult’ certainly didn’t). The handles of the stroller must be the right height so you and your partner can push it comfortably.
Daddy had to carry the stroller to a palacio in Urbino, Italy

Daddy had to carry the stroller to a palacio in Urbino, Italy

How to Choose the Right Accommodations when Traveling with Young Twins

Farmhouse villa in Tuscany.

Farmhouse villa in Tuscany.

We have always preferred to skimp on accommodation when traveling. We create our own itineraries and plan our own trips. Lodging is generally an afterthought. A roof over our heads is all we need. We are always on the move.  For us, the beauty of travel is in seeing and doing. Why stay in the hotel when you have a new city to explore? We take in as many sights, smells, tastes, and sounds as we can before jumping to the next destination a few days later. Repeat. Repeat again. This is not the most relaxing way to travel, but it is our chaotic method. At least it was until we had children…

Oh how time and twins have changed things! Long gone are the days we would take a night bus to avoid paying for a hotel. (The last one was an 18 hour overnight bus ride when I was four months pregnant with twins.) Sometimes pre-twins we wouldn’t  make a booking in advance. Others we would stay in cramped, cheap hotels scented with eau de cockroach. These are simply not good options for a young family. Now our accommodations are all booked before departure. We spend more time in our rentals (though still as little as possible) and need more space and amenities.

We are very lucky. Our girls have slept through the night since they were 9 weeks old. They have always been great little sleepers. No matter how well your little kiddos sleep, travel will provide some bumps in the road. Different sleeping environments, travel itineraries, jet lag, etc will throw off even the best little sleepers temporarily. We hope our experiences will help you select lodging that is right for your family.

We even stayed in a one bedroom trullo in Alberobello, Italy

We even stayed in a one bedroom trullo in Alberobello, Italy

We have stayed in many different types of accommodations with our girls. From tiny 150 square foot single rooms to spacious two bedroom apartments- we have tried them all. Keep in mind that some costs offset others. For example, you will likely pay more for a rental with a kitchen, but you can then save money by dining in or packing lunch. It is important to find the right balance between cost and comfort.

We prefer to have our girls sleep in a room separate from us if possible. This usually means renting a 1 bedroom apartment and having our girls sleep in another room. This allows us to stay up comfortably after putting the girls to bed. We don’t want to worry about waking them with every little movement. That said, it is rare that we rent 2 bedrooms. This increases price and limits options. Our girls have slept in kitchens, living rooms, hallways… You name it. Keep an open mind to the possibilities and use existing space to maximize comfort.

There is one particular travel item that was invaluable for us when the girls were younger.  It is the travel sleeping tent from Kidco Peapod. Travel tents are worth mentioning for a number of reasons. They are lightweight, portable, and can be set up/ packed away in just moments. With them you don’t have to rely on the rental having cribs or pack-n-plays. Any room in the rental can become a bedroom for twins. Just pop 2 tents open and zip your little ones inside. This greatly enhances your options when choosing accommodation. On the downside, they were previously taken off the market for a safety recall. They are now back after some minor modifications to make them safer.  I can’t begin to tell you how helpful they were for us, but do your own research before buying.

Traveling light takes on a different meaning when you have kids. The amount of gear makes it much more painful to unpack and repack repeatedly. While many might want to slow down, we aren’t sane enough to even consider that as an option. Even so, our ‘always on the go’ method had to be modified slightly. Rather than jump from city to city every few days, we now establish fewer ‘base camps’ from which we take multiple day trips. During our last trip to Italy we stayed at five different apartments (over 3 weeks) ranging from a villa, a condo and a magical trullo in southern Italy. We stayed in each for 3-5 days taking frequent day trips. We were able to explore over 25 villages, towns, and cities in Italy off the beaten path (and put over 2500mi/4000km on our car rental in 2 weeks)! Now THAT is a vacation! (if you are certifiably insane).


Hotel Advantages:

  • You don’t have to worry about bringing portable cribs or tents. Some of the hotels provide high chairs as well. Our hotel in Budapest even provided a baby bath tub, baby toiletries, diapers and baby food.
  • A lot of hotels are now providing breakfast, menu to order and shuttle bus to sightseeing destinations or airports.
  • Some hotels have a baby pool or water park for those families who want to utilize more hotel facilities. All-inclusive resorts take this to the next level, but family activities are often geared toward older kids.
  • Some places even offer babysitting and/or daycare services should you care to partake of them.

Hotel Disadvantages:

  • The rooms are often small and, if not, pricey.
  • It is hard to find a one bedroom suite (especially abroad). It takes special kids to sleep in the same room when their parents are awake with the lights on. It takes really special parents to go to bed at the same time as their kids!
  • Many hotel rooms (especially abroad) won’t have fridges or kitchenettes. This can be inconvenient (and also increase expense).
  • There are more guests nearby who might not fully appreciate how beautiful your jet lagged bubs are as they scream the night away. If you have to deal with jet lag and crying babies in the middle of the night, the thin walls between your room and your neighbors’ can add more stress to your trip.

Recommendations: In US, we usually choose Embassy Suites or Best Western Plus Executive Suites for quick overnight trips. These two hotels have one bedroom suites with microwave and mini fridge. When abroad we only stay in hotels for 1 night stays close to airports when we have late arrivals or early departures.

Vacation Rental Advantages:

Two bedrooms rustic farmhouse at Emilia romagna, Italy

Two bedrooms rustic farmhouse at Emilia romagna, Italy

  • You have as much space as you need, often for an equal or lower price than a hotel.
  • You can get as many bedrooms as you want and have a living room and full kitchen.
  • You want to do laundry? Choose a rental with a washing machine.
  • You feel like you are at home and have more privacy if your kiddos wail into the wee hours of the night as you all battle jet lag.
  • You can cut food costs (and embrace slower starts to the day) by eating in or preparing food at home for road trips and picnics on the go.
  • Your options are almost limitless. You can stay in the most exotic properties, get the best views and pretend you are one of the locals. Most importantly, you can choose places with amenities specific to your needs.

Vacation Rental Disadvantages:

  • The main disadvantage is a lack of baby gear. Some will have 1 pack-n-play or crib and most will have none. It is rare to find high chairs.  You have to be creative with your sleeping and feeding arrangements. At times we used portable high chairs from Regalo while others we just used our Combi double stroller.
  • There are no shuttles from airport.
  • They have fewer facilities unless you stay in serviced apartments.
  • No one will assist you with your baggage.
  • There are no family activities.
  • Sometimes there are no toiletries.
  • They can be hard to find as many are in residential buildings and not well marked like hotels. They can be difficult to reach with public transport making it necessary to rent a car- especially if you are not traveling light.
  • Sometimes you have minimum stays from a few days to a week.
  • There can also be cleaning fees, deposits, cash only payments, etc.

Recommendations: We prefer to stay in 1-2 bedroom houses or apartments whenever possible. Staying in a rental not only gives you the space you crave, it also gives you the warm feeling of belonging. You bump into locals at the market, in the park, or just call a greeting when passing them in the street. You can bring to life a storybook fantasy by staying in a farmhouse in Tuscany, a rooftop apartment in Paris, a log cabin in Alps, or wherever your dreams take you.

Our one bedroom apartment with a view of Prague Castle

Our one bedroom apartment with a view of Prague Castle

Favorites: Of all the places we have stayed, my favorite is the two bedroom apartment in the Recoletta area of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Second place goes to the rural two bedroom apartment at a farmhouse villa near Dozza, Italy. Third place is a one bedroom rooftop attic apartment in Prague. They are all within budget Euro100 a night.

What you should be looking for (family of 4):

1. At least one bedroom with door. Even better if it has an en-suite bathroom.

2. Kitchenette: This is very convenient if you are traveling with little babies. You can wash bottles/cups, prepare foods, store items in the fridge, cook with the stove/oven/mircrowave.  It can also save you money. Some accommodations provide complimentary breakfast and it’s a plus. However, you need to get the babies (and yourselves) ready in the morning and bring them downstairs to the dining hall which can be difficult depending on schedules or jet lag effects.

3. If you have a one bedroom apartment, make sure that the living room (or another space) is big enough for you to put the two cribs (or portable tents, blankets on the floor, etc). If you sleep with your kiddos make sure the bed is large enough for all of you as many countries routinely have smaller double beds.

4. Location, location, location. Know roughly where you want to stay. Where are the sites you want to see? Consider how you will travel from place to place. Are you renting a car? Do you need to be close to public transport? How are you getting to/from the airport/train/bus station? How are you getting to the next destination on your journey? Keep these sorts of things in mind when choosing your accommodation.

5. Is there an elevator? If not you may need to climb many stairs with your babies, heavy bags, and other gear. When we were in Montevideo, we climbed up an Everest-esque spiral staircase to the fifth floor because the elevator wasn’t working (the owner didn’t tell us). So, double, triple check and make sure that the elevator is working or stay close to the ground floor.

6. Child proofing. This starts online before the booking. Are there potential dangers like steps or swimming pools? Is there a spot for the kids to sleep? Take a good look at online pictures of the rental. After arrival we immediately start child proofing while our girls stay in the stroller. Get the breakables and sharps out of reach. A number of potential hazards are in the kitchen.  Checks drawers for knives, scissors, glassware in low cupboards, and cleaners/toxins under the sink. Evaluate the residence for other dangers (eg frayed power cords). We bring a pinch guard, a cabinet lock latch and tape with us every time we travel. These items are very light, small and reliable. You can also bring outlet plugs though yours might not work in other countries. There is a fine line between enough and too much safety equipment. Find your own sweet spot.

The girls sleeping on the living room floor in Vienna due to a safety issue with cribs provided

The girls sleeping on the living room floor in Vienna due to a safety issue with cribs provided

7. Cribs. Always ask if they can provide cribs. A few times places with 1 pack-n-play were able to borrow or buy for us. If you really like a place, send an email or give a call to query. In some larger cities you can also rent cribs/pack-n-plays by the day. You can also use travel tents(we love our Kidco Peapod) if you choose to do so.

How to find the right vacation rental :
1. There are any number of online booking websites. I love using, and is my favorite. It has Iphone and Ipad apps where I can see my itineraries. I can also link the itineraries straight to my calendar to make the travel planning easier. It has reviews from other travelers and gives detailed information about room size (sq ft/m). Many of the apartments and vacation rentals are run by companies rather than individuals. They tend to have more amenities (eg free breakfast, accept credit cards, etc). The majority of my bookings for our recent Italy rip (we stayed in 5 different vacation rentals) were made on Most of them had no cancellation fees. We search for 2 adults and look for the terms ” children stay free” or “$x per kids.” You can limit your search to apartments or vacation rentals only. 

2. We plan and book everything online. Just google “rental apartment Rome” for example to search apartments in Rome. We found and stayed in a one bedroom apartment near Vatican city.

3. Be cautious with some international rental booking agents (,,, Don’t book rentals with few or no reviews. You usually deal with the owners directly. Some don’t take credit cards and you often have to pay in full in advance (paypal, wire transfer). Sometimes it’s just hard, cold cash on arrival. Keep your eyes out for exorbitant cleaning fees, high cancellation fees, and deposits. Cancellations can occur with little to no warning. While we want you to take appropriate caution, these sites usually provide a great service. We have had generally excellent experiences but we have also had a booking cancelled 10 days before arrival.

4. Check reviews on Trip advisor can also make a booking for you via but the processing fee is quite high. If you find an apartment that you like, go to tripadvisor and read the reviews. I won’t book anything until I am happy with the reviews on trip advisor.

5. Keep to well known and well regarded websites when making your bookings. Don’t rent an apartment without seeing the photos or information about the size and amenities. Rent only units with multiple reviews and good ratings. You don’t want to get scammed or be unpleasantly surprised on arrival. You will be tired enough after your journey so make sure you get a good place to stay.

Sweet dreams!

How to Get Through Airport Security with Twins

How do you know which airport security line is the fastest to get through? It’s the one without a stroller. Yes, other travelers will discriminate against you because you have kids… and a stroller… and 2 carryons… and liquids… Ok, so maybe they have a point. They will avoid you like your family has the plague. (Of course, you just might. Kiddies are little biological probes…) You might not be as fast through security with twins as you were before you had children, but we’ll give you some tips to speed things up a bit.

Plan ahead! We say this over and over again but cannot stress enough how important this is with all things travel related when little ones are involved. You know the process, think it through with a clear head well beforehand. Time pressure and child meltdowns can force even the calmest of us into avoidable mistakes.

The traveling twins during layover

The traveling twins during layover

1. Know your roles. As you get to security you should know what to expect and plan for it. As you get to the plastic bins with your little ones in the stroller take care of yourselves first. Get the bags onto the conveyor, take off shoes, empty pockets, etc.  Someone has to unload the stroller (gear before babies). Where are the liquids? Who has the electronics? Who will hold 2 babies while the other is collapsing the stroller(s)? Figure out what works for your family and do it the same way each time. Consistency is the key here.

2. Dress for success. The less you (and your kids) have to remove at security, the easier it will be. Wear shoes that you can take on and off quickly. Minimize bulky jewelry. Pack your jackets in a suitcase or carry on. Once you have checked your substantial luggage at the ticket counter, parents should be preparing for security- removing and storing wallets/watches/belts/mobile phones/etc in carry ons while keeping ID/passport/boarding pass handy, etc. Security made us take shoes off our 4mo old girls (which was beyond ridiculous), but that is no longer necessary in the US  for kids under 12. 

3. Compartmentalize.  You put all your liquids in a small baggie for security.  Why stop there? Organizing your carry ons will speed up the security process. For example, we each had small Ziploc bags for liquids (medicines/toiletries), 1 gallon sized bag for foods/snacks/bibs, another for toys/books/entertainment, one small collapsible cooler for milk/formula, etc. You hit security with the liquids and laptops most accessible (though not necessarily together!). You pull them out of the bag and place them in the bin. Yes, it is a pain to be this organized, but there are enough stressors vying for your attention at the airport. Use down time to organize beforehand. 

4. Many airports have an express/family lane. If you don’t see one, just ask the nearest airport employee. This is especially handy if you have to change flights in international airports. (It boggles my mind why I go through security, spend 8hours in an aluminum tube, then have to go back through security again. Don’t think I can cause much trouble with the plastic spork that came with my meal!) You fall to the end of the line waiting for strollers and elevators as you deplane but family lines allow you decrease time spent waiting with little wigglers. Some countries even have a family line at customs. Keep a look out for them!

5. Stroller(s) : There are many options out there. We used 2 umbrella strollers on our first international trip but never after that. We prefer small, light side-by-side double strollers. Our double strollers were Delta City Street Side by Side and Combi Twin Sport DX stroller. They are narrow enough to fit through standard doorways and collapse small enough to slide through the X-ray scanner on the conveyor belt (much to the surprise of security staff). This way is much faster than getting the stroller pat-down. Please read our post about how to choose the right double stroller when traveling with twins.

The traveling twins just arrived in Rome

The traveling twins just arrived in Rome

6. If you are traveling with breast milk or liquid formula, let security know in advance. It will add another painful step to the process as most airports will test it to make sure it’s not explosives. Keep the liquid in a ready to drink bottle that is easy to open and close. Some international airports may ask you to drink it.  That was a surprise to us! (You can have your children drink it instead.) They won’t let you bring an ice pack to keep it cool so bring a lot of small Ziploc-type bags that can be filled up with ice from a nearby restaurant as soon as you exit the security area.

7. Avoid pre-packaged food or juice boxes. Some security in international airports will open them and you will be left with an open container. Sometimes you will be forced to throw them away while others you will have to eat/drink immediately or find a way to store them.  You can bring your own containers that are easy to open for testing and close securely afterward. Some international airports inspect carry ons at the gate. In these airports, you are often not able to bring any purchased liquids onto the plane. This can be quite inconvenient (if you buy water for formula, etc). Some airlines (many international flights) stock baby food and will give it to you on request.

8. Baby Bjorns/slings. We tried to use them a couple of times but security had us put them through the scanner (without babies). Good for getting on/off the plane but not for security.

9. Toddlers (2-4 years old). Educate them in advance about going through security and it will help avoid many security meltdowns. Explain to  them that they will get their favorite toys or blankets back shortly. Our girls were responsible for carrying their ‘backpacks’ through the airport (generally containing a blanket, stuffed animal, and a book or small toy). We would have them put their packs in a bin just like mom and dad. At these ages kids can be carried or walk through security by themselves. 

10. Don’t forget to ask for help if needed. We have had help from people next to us in line and security personnel. They are usually happy to help (in fact, they generally offer before you ask). 

11. Double check. Take a final long look and make sure that you have everything. You’ve made it this far but you could be in for a long flight if you leave something critical behind! 

12. Relax and smile. Plan ahead and take your time. There may be a few bumps in the road but remember to take a deep breath, look around, and enjoy yourself. 

Now, go explore the world! Bon voyage!


A lovely ferry ride in Sydney

Travelling With Kids: Yea or Nay?

Travel With Twins:

Great article. It is always a BIG YEA from us. Traveling with babies and toddler is really hard and I agree with one of the post that it was a trip, not a vacation. However, I am a firm believer of planning before you travel. Being a parents that love to travel, you must one be a mathematician, psychologist, actor, CEO, doctor, lawyer, etc. Do not loose your passion for travel just because of having kids. For example, we used to be a backpackers and took night bus or train to avoid the hotel fee. Now with kids, we stayed in the room with kitchenette instead so we can save money from eating out. Yes, there are no more of the honeymoon phase where we can do anything that we want but we trained our twin girls from young to take a two hours day nap in the stroller so we can have a nice quiet lunch for two hours in a fancy restaurant or coffee with cake. We also trained them to go to bed at the same time at night or in the stroller so we can plan to have the candlelight or fancy dinner with the double stroller next to us sleeping quietly.

Originally posted on 4 Mothers:

I came across this post that I wrote several years ago, before number three was even on the way, and I can’t believe how much our lives have changed.  We’ve had the opportunity to travel as a family and experience incredible adventures together that I will forever treasure.  Does it ever amaze you how quickly the time flies by and in what seems like a blink years have passed?


“Having kids is not going to change our life”.  That was the mantra that my husband and I would repeat as newlyweds.  Above all else, we were going to continue our love affair with travelling. In our ignorant opinion, parents who compromised were just lazy.  Fast-forward a few years, 2 kids and a mini-van (gasp!) later, I am agonizing with my husband whether or not we should pack the bathing suits along with lots of patience and take our two…

View original 602 more words

The Ultimate Survival Guide to Flying with Twin Toddlers and Babies

Long layover at London airport

Long layover at London airport

Almost everyone has been on a flight where a baby screams much of the flight. You are trying to catch a nap, but apparently someone has given the little guy a megaphone. How can such a little body make so much noise? His wailing is drowning out the sound of the engines. Time stands still. Noise canceling headphones explode. Seasons go by before you finally feel the wheels touch down at your destination. As you exit the plane you look over at the culprit and find he has drifted off to a peaceful sleep.

This is the fear of EVERY parent who travels with infants and toddlers. The fear that MY child will be THAT child crying nonstop or doing something else that brings the ire of the entire plane. Those stories you see on the news about families who are kicked off the flight because they cannot get their child under control? These were the sorts of nightmares that woke me up at night in a cold sweat. With twins you have double the chance of being the focus of hatred for all 150 passengers onboard. How do you keep your young children blissfully quiet during the flight so YOU don’t end up on the 6 o’clock news?

The answer: planning, preparation, and execution. This is the recipe we used successfully while traveling with our young girls. Before each flight we would worry anew. How will the girls behave this time? Now that they can walk will we have more difficulties? Time and again we were rewarded with good behavior. We used the same formula with little variation for each and every trip. With practice the girls learned their roles and travel became easier. Let us explain how we did it.

We are huge believers in keeping your twins on a set schedule. There is little enough time left over when caring for one young child let alone two of them. If our twins had been on different schedules we would have lost our sanity long ago. A set schedule makes life more predictable for you and them. For example, you can use the schedule to your advantage when choosing your flight times. You maximize the likelihood of twin naps onboard, especially on the longer legs of the trip. Our girls have always slept well at night. We maximized this by taking redeye long haul flights whenever possible. The flights are much easier when your twins sleep 8-9 hours. That is only one part of the battle, however, as over tired babies can be volatile critters. Getting your twins to sleep shortly after liftoff should be your primary goal when flying. What can you do to increase your chances of success?

The ultimate guide surviving the flights with twins toddler and infants

Qantas Lounge at Sydney airport has playroom for kids. Happy parents!

1. Get the right flight and seats. Time your flights close to when your babies/toddlers nap/sleep if you can. Please read our travel tips about choosing the best airline seats for lap babies.
2. Layovers. What are you going to do during those layovers? You will need a minimum of 1 hour to get off the plane, get your stroller, get your kids fed (“messy” foods- baby food, yogurt, etc), bottles cleaned, babies changed, and get to your next flight. That allows for a bathroom break for the parents, but not much more. With twins 1.5 hours is more realistic and comfortable (have at least 2 hours if you need to go through customs). What if you have extra time? There are other things to do: sit down meals, shop, explore, play with the kiddos. Use family bathrooms to your advantage. Some airports have play areas for kids which is a plus. Try to keep your children from napping in airports if you can. You want them asleep on the plane.
3. Feeding and sleeping. Again, the goal of every flight should be to get your twins to sleep right after takeoff. We would give our little ones a bottle of milk/formula at takeoff. This helps soothe them and it helps decrease ear “squeeze” by popping their ears with the pressure changes. Most importantly is the math equation: dry diapers+ full tummies + warm and snuggly on top of mommy/daddy + engine background noise = sleeping babies. As the girls started eating foods, we would often feed them messier snacks (pasta, Gerber Yogurt Blends) in the airport but minimize liquids until the flight. We would bring dry snacks (goldfish cheddar) to give on the plane. If you want your children to sleep on the plane, you must do EVERYTHING WITHIN YOUR POWER TO KEEP THEM AWAKE WHILE IN THE TERMINAL! I’m not proud to admit it, but I once attempted to use a frappuccino in a last ditch effort to keep one of our girls awake just before boarding. It failed. She slept for 10 minutes, woke up when we boarded, and was awake the entire flight. Despite your best efforts, there is only so much you can do.
4. Math 101. You need to estimate how many diapers, wipes, formula servings, food/snacks to bring. This seems daunting, but getting it close is critical. Having your children on a consistent schedule makes this calculation easier. Try to have 2 or 3 extra diapers and 1 or 2 extra servings of milk/formula just in case. You don’t want to be delayed for hours on the runway (or worse, your little ones get a stomach bug) on the last leg of your trip and run out of diapers! Some (international) carriers have limited diapers and some have extra milk/water for children, but you can’t rely on them. You also won’t have enough space to overestimate by much. Try to hit the sweet spot as often as possible.


The ultimate guide surviving the flights with twins toddler and infants

ZIA ripped off the blanket before take off while Daddy was busy unpacking

Traveling with twins is like being in the boy scouts: you must be prepared! When traveling with young children you want to bring the minimum amount of accessories that covers 95% of expected and unexpected problems. All parents do this with everyday short excursions (to the store, restaurant, or playground), but it takes a bit more detail to plan for a 24 hour trip consisting of 3 flights and 2 layovers. More difficult than bringing too little is resisting the urge to bring too much. My wife brings 1 diaper bag and I bring 1 small backpack onto the plane. Our gear is split fairly evenly so, if we are separated for some reason, we don’t miss a beat. Our rule of thumb is that the bags must be small enough to fit under the seat in front of us. What to bring?

1. Passports/copies of birth certificates. Many domestic airlines require copies of birth certificates for babies. Don’t forget passports for the whole family when leaving the country!
2. Individualized carry-ons. As stated, we have our carry-ons setup in advance for each child. We bring two sets of most everything including a few small books/toys, diapers, wipes, spare clothes, bibs, napkins, snacks, formula dispenser, water etc. (In general, we only bring 1 changing pad and things like medicines and foods for layovers are not doubled up).
3. Baby bjorns or slings. These are great for little babies and allow you to keep your hands free once you check your stroller. They make it easier to board and deplane. You can also use it to help your baby fall to sleep after boarding.
4. Ziploc bags. Organize items in your bags into Ziploc bags. Have a bag for toys, a bag for food/snacks, a single bag containing the emergency spare outfit (the bag then serves to hold the soiled outfit until you can clean it). It is much easier to find what you need when you are organized (and you’ll be surprised how many times having an extra Ziploc or two comes in handy with little monkeys around).
5. Ready to drink milk/juice/water in the bottle. Little ones get restless during the boarding process (especially if hungry) and can have ear squeeze during takeoff. Have drinks ready to go. Early on we would have milk pumped and ready to go (thank you airport family bathrooms). If you do this, have a small soft cooler and a Ziploc to store extra milk. You can get ice on the plane to keep it cool. As the girls were older we would have premeasured bottles with formula (2 servings in 1 bottle: mix, split, serve) so we just had to add water once we boarded the plane. Have formula pre-measured in bottles/containers. We bought a formula dispenser from Munchkin that made it easier when doing multiple feedings in the air. It is impossible to measure formula on a cramped plane with a thirsty little wiggler on your lap. We would bring enough pre-measured feedings for the entire flight. (Note: Key step here is to buy water after you go through airport security).
6. Snacks for toddlers. Bring their favorite snacks onboard. This is not the time to experiment! You want the best chance for success on keeping your kiddos content. As there is limited space you also want to minimize mess so bring dry snacks (Cheerios, crackers, gold fish, etc) instead of messier ones. If you are able to get your children to sleep, give snacks after they wake up from their naps. Avoid sugary treats if you can. You want your kiddos under control not doing sprints up and down the aisle. If the airline serves snacks (few still do), they will often give a couple of extras if you ask. Have snacks readily available and put the snacks in a catcher container so it won’t spill and make a mess. We used Munchkin snacks catcher container that worked well.
7. Pacifiers. Bring them if your child uses them (and probably an extra or two). Our favorite pacifier is Wubbanub pacifier. Its larger size made it harder to lose (you’d be surprised how many strangers brought them to us after our children launched them without us noticing). It also doubled as a stuffed animal to hold.
8. Toys for babies: Have an emergency toy ready. Flashing lights and sounds do a good job of distracting quickly at young ages. When our girls would start to cry we quickly grabbed such a toy to get her attention while diagnosing the reason for the crying (Diaper? Bottle? Ears?) and working to soothe her as quickly as possible. This almost always worked for us. Our favorite distraction toy is Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes. We also bring other small toys (small books, teething rings, rattles, etc) usually a small Ziploc bag’s worth per child. Be creative. You can grab a few cheap toys from dollar store before you go. You can even use plastic straws, cups, spoons, etc to entertain.
As your children get older you will likely have to have more advanced toys to distract them (especially if until they have the attention span to watch videos). Some hits with our girls were legos, sticker books, Pat the bunny (touch and feel book), Munchkin traveling flash cards, travel doodler pro, crayons and small coloring books – get the Crayon Color Wonder on the Go Tiny Tube . When we took our 16 month olds to Italy, we bought reusable stickers from Melissa and Doug. It really entertained them and these stickers are easy to clean. Bring anything small and light that your children enjoy depending on their stage of development. When your child gets bored of every arrow in your quiver, switch toys with the other twin!

The ultimate guide surviving the flights with twins toddler and infants

Toys, blanket, milk and pacifier. One happy baby.

9. Soothing items. Most children will have one item that they want when they get really upset. It can be a pacifier, a stuffed animal, a blanket, or a favorite toy. Whatever your children’s items are, bring them with you if you can. Our girls soothing items were stuffed bears that they wanted any time they were hurt or sad. If only these bears had frequent flier miles too!
10. Clothing and blankets. Planes are often cold. Even though your children will likely spend most of the time on your lap, dress them warmly. Long sleeves and pants/tights are the rule. If you are flying a redeye flight, you can even bring them preloaded in their flannel onesies or sleeping blanket ready for sleep. Always have 1 spare outfit per child in case of emergency. For long haul redeye flights we would have our girls in onesies and bring a blanket or sleep sacks for them (with a chance of clothes for the next day).
11. Medicines. We always bring medicine on board with us. If your child spikes a fever midflight and your medicines are in your checked bags, it will be a LONG flight. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibubrofen (Motrin) are must haves in case of fever or pain (teething, colic). Other things you might consider are suppositories if your child suffers from constipation or diphenhydramine (Benadryl) to assist with sleep and/or ease jetlag. Also, if you are going to use Benadryl make sure you try a dose at bedtime before you travel. A small percentage of children have a paradoxical reaction to it and get hyperactive. It’s not good to discover this late at night hours before landing. Ask your child’s doctor before using any of these medicines to make sure you give appropriate doses!
12. Tablets/Ipads. These weren’t very useful to entertain our girls until they turned 2 years old, but they have been invaluable ever since! We strongly recommend getting a tablet. This is like bringing multiple distractions all in one compact device! Books, movies, games, drawing apps… and there are even things for your kids to do! We also recommend them for road trips with toddlers. Remember that little ones can cry when you turn off tablets for landing. Have a distraction ready to go.

EXECUTION (of the plan, not your children)

Game on. Planning and preparation have brought you this far, but it isn’t until you step into the airport that things can start to go wrong. Making sure you have everything can lead to sleep loss and rechecking bags, but you don’t care if your children cry, scream, and wail at home. Once you are sailing through the skies at 550mph in a tiny aluminum tube filled with strangers THAT is when you want your children on their best behavior. Here are a few tips:

1. Make sure you have everything you need before you leave the house! If you don’t realize you forgot the teddy bear or favorite blanket until you are at 35000 feet, you may be in for a long flight. Keep a list and check it twice.
2. Don’t forget to buy water (for formula) after security! Don’t wait for the air hostess to get you one!
3. Change diapers shortly before departure. Dry diapers are one of the keys to getting your twins to sleep in the air.
4. Board last. Use the last few minutes making sure everything is ready to go. You want to board the plane with dry diapers, some food in little stomachs, and all eyes open. We often flew aisle-aisle with our lap twins so we would board last minimizing people moving onboard and the time the girls would be constrained. Those reserved seats aren’t going anywhere. (Note: This assumes pre-assigned seating not carriers like Southwest.)
5. Check double stroller at the gate. You need to get a tag from the gate counter prior to boarding. You will need the stroller during your layovers! (We recommend a lightweight collapsible stroller.) Please read our post about how to choose the right double stroller when traveling with twins.
6. Once you board the plane, get everything ready. Pacifiers and soothing items should be out. Get out a few toys (including distraction toy) and snack containers and put them in the pocket in front of you. Get your bag under your seat where you can get anything else you might need at a moment’s notice.
7. Get milk/formula out when the plane leaves the gate or takes off. If our girls saw us preparing the bottles they would start to cry for them. We would often mix them (out of sight!) before boarding and give them bottles right before takeoff. If we mixed on the plane they would want them immediately. Our girls were often a bit cranky and squirmy as we started to taxi. When we gave them their bottles before takeoff they would finish their bottles before or just after liftoff. This wasn’t usually a problem. If they had ear squeeze we would just give them extra water. Beware soaked diapers if you give more fluids than your children usually drink!
8. Inflight entertainment. If all goes well, your children will sleep shortly after takeoff. If not, no problem. Nap, toys, snacks, games, tablets, medicines… this is why you brought all that stuff along. YOU are the entertainment!
9. Layovers. Maximize whatever time you have. At a minimum you will likely need to change and feed your kiddos. Take advantage of family restrooms. Almost all big airports have them. We have used them to change diapers/clothes, breast feed, breast pump, wash bottles, and more! Try to keep those eyes open!
10. Repeat as many times as needed.

The ultimate guide surviving the flights with twins toddler and infants

Essa and Zia were sleeping at LAX

That’s it! Yes, it is a lot to think about the first time you do it, but it gets easier every time until you are in a rhythm with each trip. We recommend a first trip when your babies are young (we started when ours were 4 months). It is actually easier to travel when they are younger because they sleep so much. The more you travel the faster it becomes routine for the whole family. Happy travels!

The spectacular classic medieval town of Siena, Italy


Tuesday Oct 16, 2012 Siena, Tuscano, Italia DSC07014This bright sunny day got off to a slow start. Our only stop was Siena so there was no need to sprint out of the gates. Got up at 9 and got the girls going. Toured the grounds of the large complex where we have rented our apartment. It is a huge home with a few surrounding buildings that now makes up 10 rental apartments. It is very rustic with beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. DSC06982_2 Peaceful, tranquil, and serene all apply to the apartment for us, though some of the guests might not say the same about our stay. We would get back at around 10pm each night and not a whisper could be heard in the building except for our girls racing through the apartment, forgetting to whisper, showing us how well they can jump, etc. Needless to say, we weren’t very popular. There was some loud crying on our first night here- the infamous ‘night of no bottles’ but other than that, the girls went to bed and slept like champs. We seemed to be on a later schedule than some of the guests which probably explains the slashed tires and car graffiti… Ok, a bit of exaggeration there, but who could ever have guessed tourists in Italy would go to bed before 2 year old twins?DSC06988 Ok, hill town…walls… medieval… Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Siena is all this and much more. Yes, there are endless busloads of tourists on a daily basis even in October. It doesn’t matter. It is a spectacular city. The old city is beautiful and charming, but in this city of 60k there is much more going on. DSC07054 The zebra-like cathedral dating from the 1200s is spectacular and covered in marble. Black and white stripes of marble cover most of the outside of the building except for the facade which also has pink and green marble on the lavishly decorated entrance. It is the interior of the church, however, that is truly unique. The columns inside the church are also black and white alternating bands of marble. If that isn’t enough for you, the floor is made up nearly entirely of inlaid marble mosaics. They are often covered, but we were lucky enough to have them on display during our visit. I have been in many churches- MANY CHURCHES- and I have never seen anything like it. We were inside for nearly 30 minutes before I even noticed the beautiful frescoes adorning the walls. I’m usually a 5-10 minute look inside the cathedral, ‘ooh’ and ‘ah,’ take a few pictures and go type of guy. We probably spent 90 minutes in this cathedral and could easily have spent more. Definitely a must see. That said, 90 minutes in any cathedral can be a bumpy ride with young twins.DSC07067 DSC07070After the duomo we grabbed some lunch then did the eyewitness guide walking tour. The piazza del campo is breathtaking. We’ll discuss that more in a minute. What is amazing is that if you get only 2 or 3 blocks away from the tourist highlights, you often find yourself in a very different place. The streets are nearly empty except for locals going about their days. There aren’t quite as many souvenirs on display, but food prices are often 30% less. This is true for much of touristy Italy as with many tourist sites the world over. You often find amazing photo opportunities and a much more culturally satisfying experience if you allow yourself to go a bit further afield than the average traveler. The rewards definitely make it worth your while if you have the time.DSC07114 DSC07099Now back to our regularly scheduled programming. The piazza del campo is one of the greatest medieval piazzas in Europe. It is lined by beautiful buildings with multiple outdoor restaurants among them beckoning you to have a cappuccino, tiramisu, and take in the serenity and beauty of the moment. The ‘square’ is actually shaped like a clamshell with the Torre del Mangia and palazzo publico at the hinge and the shops and restaurants lining the outside rim. This is also where the crazy horse race called the Palio di Siena is held twice a year. While you may never want to see it live, checking out a couple of videos online is quite entertaining. DSC07072After our cappuccinos, a shared tiramisu, and people watching- all while we were blessed to have our girls nap in the stroller AT THE SAME TIME- we woke the little monkeys up. We ran, played, sang, danced, and in general made fools of ourselves in front of the tourists basking in the serenity of the evening. While we pale in comparison to “the palio,” I’m pretty certain we were casual entertainment for a number of onlookers. After that it was time to get back to the apartment, get the twins to bed, and get ready to change to a new base camp tomorrow. DSC07038DSC07145

Choosing airline seats with lap twins

We were flying back from Buenos Aires and the man sitting next to me was expecting twins. Essa and Zia had just turned 17 months but had already been to ten countries and four continents. The first thing he asked us was “How have you managed to travel with them?” and his last question was “Did you give them some kind of medicine?” We laughed at that. While we have rarely used a dose of Benadryl here and there to ease jet lag transitions, we don’t drug the twins to get them to behave in flight. We got them trained the old-fashioned way- practice, practice, practice! We learned a few things along the way.

Zia is looking out to the sky

Zia was looking out to the sky

We took full advantage of traveling with our girls as lap children. Our girls put on roughly 105k miles -each- before they turned two years old. What are lap children? We didn’t have to buy tickets for them but they were not guaranteed an open seat (hence they may have to stay on your lap). The airlines have narrow profit margins and flights are getting more and more crowded so you need to know how to best work the system. (*The following is based on the assumption of 2 parents and 2 kiddos. Modify so it applies to your own situation!)
Why have your precious kiddos fly as lap children? One word: cost. The plane ticket is the single most expensive portion of most trips so doubling the number of tickets can be prohibitively expensive. When kids are under 2 years old, there are a few options.  We will outline some of the options and some tips in general to flying with young twins.

Let’s discuss the easier but more expensive options first. Option one is to buy seats for each of your children. This is the most expensive but most comfortable option. It allows you the space you will need to store carryons, diaper bags, and the like. It also gives some room to have your babies sleep next to you rather than on top of you. The second option is to purchase one extra seat for “overflow” space. This option still allows increased flexibility compared to lap children and is cheaper than option one above. You have a minimum of 3 seats for 4 passengers so you have some extra space for gear as well as baby(ies). You can likely fit both babies on one seat for a snooze when young, but this gets more difficult as they get older and more mobile. Even as a worst case scenario, it gives you some space to put one baby while you hold the other when your partner has to use the bathroom. Either of these are very comfortable options if you can afford them.The last option is to have your infants/toddlers fly as lap children. This is the cheapest option and the one that we chose EVERY SINGLE TIME WE FLEW. While it is more complicated, the savings alone will help to pay for future trips and more travel. While this is the most difficult option to navigate and predict, there are some tips and tricks that improve comfort.

Essa and I were sitting at the bulkhead seats on our red eye flight to London from Dallas

Choosing the right seats on the plane is very important. There are also some rules you need to be aware of specifically when flying with lap children. The following are some of the points that you should consider:

  • The most important consideration for traveling with twin lap children are oxygen masks.  This is not obvious, but each type of jet has a different number of masks above the seats. You need to understand this to ensure that you are able to stay close to your partner on a full flight. As an example, if there are 3 seats on one side of the plane, there are usually only 4 masks.  As you need to have a mask for every passenger, 2 parents with twins in middle/aisle seats and 1  stranger by the window cannot sit together (5 people for 4 masks).  You can usually surmount this problem by having parents sit across from each other aisle-aisle.  On really small planes (1 or 2 seats per side) you will likely have to sit with one parent in front of the other.  It is very important to understand this as most of the airline staff do not.  If you choose your seats but in doing so exceed the number of masks, you will likely get moved far away from your teammate.
  • Proximity is very important. The reason it is imperative to understand the mask situation is to sit close your partner. It is much easier to care for twins on a flight as a team than it is 1 on 1. We are constantly handing items back and forth and I am playing goalie catching flying toys with my long arms as the girls launch them in all directions. This also facilitates bathroom breaks and meals for parents. Choose your seats online when you book to ensure you are all together. Be cautious when flying on different airlines internationally.  Occasionally partner airlines will not give you seat assignments when you book your flight.  This can set you up for disaster on the day you fly when you discover your seats are on the same plane but so far apart they are in different zip codes. If you don’t have assigned seats at the time of purchase, call the airline’s customer service, explain your situation, and get your seats together. Be aware, sometimes you have to call multiple times before someone will finally help you. Be persistent!
  • Use sympathy to your advantage.  Young children are uber-cute and flight staff ogle over them just like everybody else.  We are like lobbyists on capital hill for each and every flight.  Ask first at the ticket counter, ask again at the flight gate, and ask the flight crew on the plane again if you have to.  Be persistent! If there are ANY open seats on the flight, we are almost always able to get 1 or 2 of them next to us. Even if your twins are great travelers, it is very difficult to travel with them on your lap the entire trip. Do anything you have to- smile, beg, plead- to get open seats.  Cry your eyes out if you must.  There is no room for pride here.  You need those seats (and flight staff are usually more than happy to accommodate). International flights often have open seats (we only failed to get a “free” open seat on one international flight) while domestic flights are more difficult.  We were able to get entire rows (4 and 5 seats) on international flights despite only purchasing 2 tickets.  Do not underestimate your twins’ power as little negotiators!
  • Sometimes, despite your pleas, flight staff are constrained by the rules from changing purchased seats on a flight even when there are other open seats.  When this happens, do anything you can to convince the person next to you that the open middle seat a couple of rows up might be more peaceful than the window next to 2 potential squirming and screaming critters. People  often jump at the opportunity to move away. We usually try to keep our girls awake until we are in the air.  This sometimes results in them being a bit overtired and cranky before takeoff.  Don’t give that soothing bottle until you pull away from the terminal.  If a little crying gets you an open seat, it is worth it.  Be ruthless!
  • Time long haul flights to your advantage. Our girls are great sleepers so we prefer to fly red-eye flights.  They would sleep 8-9 hours straight on the long haul flight.  Rather than save a few dollars on various flights, try to time them to maximize nap and bed times.  This pays dividends by making travel easier for you.

    Essa was sitting in first class seat on the flight to Washington DC from Albuquerque

  • Should you fly first class? First class means more space, but be aware that the passenger next to you might kill you when your babies start crying. Since we travel a lot we have free first class upgrades. Using them worked great when the girls were sleeping beauties but was not well tolerated when they grew into squirming monkeys.  In general, people in first class do not like having children invading their territory.  Even when our girls were well behaved (as they almost always are when we travel), other passengers were annoyed and seemed to resent our presence.  If the girls uttered a peep?  Forget it.  We could feel the anger.  We gave up on using our upgrades once the girls turned 1. In coach, we have had complete strangers help us out in a pinch from time to time when flying.  This never happened in first class. 
  • Bulkhead seating = bassinets for babies on long haul flights.  If you have a long haul flight with young infants, call the airline well in advance to request bulkhead seating and inquire whether they havebassinets.  Most airlines will have 1-2 bassinets for your babies to sleep if you can get bulkhead seating.  This is a godsend.  You have a place for your babies to sleep undisturbed and can free your hands for a number of hours while your kiddos slumber in their own little beds.  This is much more comfortable and safer than having them sleep on the seat next to you. Fight for bulkhead seating for this reason on long flights.  These seats are generally near the bathrooms which makes for easier bathroom breaks and diaper changes.
  • Bulkhead seating is MORE DIFFICULT with toddlers. You actually have less space to store your gear and people oftentry to walk through.  You also can no longer use the bassinets.  Using the seat pockets and space beneath the seat to store items you will need to have readily at hand is invaluable. You don’t have this space with bulkhead seating.
  • Pick seats in the back of the plane for shorter flights. This is advantageous for you and considerate for other passengers. These seats are usally the last to fill (i.e. more likely to have open seats next to you), are close to the toilette, and are further away from the rest of the passengers in case your little ones choose to act out scenes from Macbeth.

    Zia in the bassinet

    Zia in the bassinet


  1. Understand how many oxygen masks there are when picking your seats to ensure you don’t get separated on the plane.
  2. Location, location, location. Once you understand #1 you can plan to be as close as possible to your partner.  Teamwork is the key to travel with twins. Choose your seats online at the time of booking.  If you are unable to do this, call customer service.
  3. Get those open seats! Do whatever it takes to claim any open seats on the flight as your own. We were successful at this at least 80% of the time we flew and really only failed when the flights were completely full.  This is what makes travel possible with lap children.
  4. Choose flight times to maximize your children’s sleep schedule. Even if you have great little travelers, it is easier for everyone when they sleep.
  5. We do not recommend flying first class with infants or toddlers.
  6. Try to get bulkhead seats for long haul flights and inquire about bassinets for young infants.
  7. Avoid bulkhead seats with toddlers.
  8. Choose seats in the rear of the plane for short flights.