Category: Blog Post (page 1 of 10)

6 Ways to Stay Sane While Traveling This Holiday

Photo courtesy of travelandleisure.com

By: Heather Wilde, TWIP

Delta just cancelled 1400 flights right before Christmas. How can you make sure your holiday travel is uninterrupted?

How do you spend your holidays? Do you stay close to home, or take time off to travel somewhere?

According to AAA, 2017 is gearing up to be one of the busiest holiday travel seasons ever. 107 million Americans — roughly one in three — are expected to travel by air, rail, or car from Dec. 23 through Jan. 1.

With all that traveling going on, it leaves our roads, railways, and airports more congested than usual. Additionally, unpredictable winter weather can cause unanticipated delays and cancellations. The Department of Transportation even set up a site to help travelers make sense of their rights.

A week away from Christmas, I found my original flight home was canceled, causing me to have to purchase a new one at twice the price. Additionally, I have both TSA PreCheck and Clear to speed through security. Once arrived, I was told that only printed boarding passes were being accepted — and that Clear was only available in the First Class line, with no PreCheck. Both surprises cost me an additional 30 minutes going through security.

No matter what happens, you don’t need to be at the mercy of the Airlines. With some extra planning, you can make your holiday travel go smoothly, no matter what comes your way.

1. Show Up Early

At the holidays, check-in times at airports are much longer than usual, up to four times as long, both at bag drops and at security lines. An easy rule of thumb: if you’re at the airport early, you’ll make your flight. If you’re late, you missed it.

2. Fly Nonstop

I know, it’s often cheaper to fly with stops and connections. However, if there is any possibility that your flight plans could be interrupted, and you have no flexibility to wait for the next available open seat to your destination, pay the extra for the nonstop flight.

3. One-Way Is the Only Way

There is a quirk of air travel where if you don’t fly one leg of your ticket, the rest of your ticket is canceled. Therefore, If you have a round-trip flight, and the first part is canceled or delayed, you have to wait it out — or you’ll miss your flight home.

But, if you purchase one-way tickets instead, and something happens to your first leg of your flight, you can take matters into your own hands and still keep your original return flight. One-way tickets used to be more expensive than round trips, but in most cases, they are the same price or cheaper now.

4. Reserve a Rental Car

If you are within driving distance of your destination, you may want to have a rental car reserved just in case your flight is canceled. You can reserve rental cars directly from the rental car agencies without prepayment, and cancel them if they are not needed. This way, you can have a car ready to drive to your destination – or to another airport in the area where there may be alternate flights.

5. Reserve a Backup

Did you think airlines give you hotel vouchers if you’re staying overnight due to a flight cancellation? That’s not always the case.

If you think there might be a chance your flight will be canceled for weather, make a refundable reservation just in case — and you’ll be able to have a way to get through the night until your flight Is rescheduled.

6. Be Polite

No matter how crazy things get, stay calm and remain positive. If you get frustrated, it will only make things worse for you and those around you. If you focus on the negative, you’ll miss out on the joy of the holidays.

With these tips, you’ll be able to handle the worst holiday travel has to throw at you.

Christmas Cocktails from Around the World

By: Natalie Austin, TWIP

As a Twipper you may have spent the year traveling the world, sampling new treats and discovering new traditions. As you head home for the holidays, bring back more than just photos from your adventures. Why not reminisce about your adventures with a festive holiday drink? Here are five traditional Christmas cocktails from around the world to spice up your holiday season.

Glogg – Sweden

Glögg

If people in Sweden do anything right during the holidays, it’s drink with their loved ones. Naturally, we should be drinking like the Swedes too during the cold winter months. Glogg is a must for those throwing a holiday soiree in Sweden. This mulled wine dates back to 1390, having been a featured recipe in The Forme of Cury, an old English cookbook. Since then, Glogg has been adapted and altered by Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Germany and Austria.Glogg is made of wine and brandy and seasoned with orange zest, cinnamon

Glogg is made of wine and brandy and seasoned with orange zest, cinnamon sticks and cloves. Served hot, this beverage is perfect for warming up during the holidays. Combining sweet and rich flavors, Glogg will quickly become a holiday staple in your home. To add to Swedish tradition, serve Glogg with gingerbread cookies or lussebullar, a sweet bun made with saffron and raisins.

Ingredients

  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 teaspoons green cardamom pods
  • One 2-inch piece peeled fresh ginger, chopped
  • 4 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 1 cup vodka
  • Two 750-ml bottles dry white wine
  • 2 cups dry rosé
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar
  • 1/2 cup blanched whole almonds
  • 1/2 cup raisins

Preparations

In a mortar, crush the cinnamon and cardamom. Transfer to a 1-quart jar. Add the ginger, orange zest, cloves and vodka. Cover; let stand for 24 hours.

Strain the vodka into a large saucepan; discard the solids. Add the remaining ingredients and stir over moderate heat until bubbles form around the edges; do not boil. Serve hot.

Coquito – Puerto Rico

Coquito

While everyone else will be serving eggnog at their holiday party, mix things up with this Puerto Rican libation. Coquito is made with sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, cinnamon, cloves and spiked with rum. The most important ingredient, however, is fresh coconut milk, which gives it a rich flavor. Coquito’s popularity has also spread to the U.S. in recent years. Throughout the month of December you can attend the Coquito Tasting Contests at El Museo del Barrio in New York City.

Ingredients

  • One 12-ounce can evaporated milk
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • One 15-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
  • One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup white rum
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt

Preparation

Beat together the evaporated milk and egg yolks in a medium bowl. Strain into a 3-quart pot and simmer over medium heat until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Transfer the egg yolk mixture to a blender, and blend in batches. Add the remaining ingredients, blending at high speed until frothy. Pour into a pitcher and refrigerate until chilled before serving.

Sorrel Punch – Jamaica

sorrel

Sorrel punch has been a Jamaican tradition since the late 1600s and served throughout the islands during the season of giving – and for good reason.  Not only is this exotic cocktail delicious, but healthy too! Made from dried hibiscus flowers, sorrel contains anti-inflammatory qualities, high levels of Vitamin E, and can even contribute to weight loss. The hibiscus flowers are brewed as a tea, then spiced with ginger and mixed with rum. Sorrel punch is typically served with rum fruitcake, a dessert made with white wine and rum soaked fruits.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) dried sorrel calyxes (also called jamaica or hibiscus)
  • Two 1-inch cubes of peeled fresh ginger, chopped fine
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 5 3/4 cups water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups amber rum
  • 2 cups ice cubes, or to taste
  • Lime and orange slices for garnish

Preparation

In a heat-proof bowl combine the sorrel, ginger and the cloves. In a saucepan bring 5 cups of the water to a boil, pour it over the sorrel mixture, and let the mixture steep for 4 hours or overnight. While the mixture is steeping, in a small saucepan bring the remaining 3/4 cup water and the sugar to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, and let the syrup cool. Strain the sorrel liquid into a pitcher, discarding the solids, stir in the sugar syrup, the rum and the ice cubes, and garnish the punch with the lime and orange slices.

Ponche Navideño – Mexico

Ponche Navideno

Every Mexican holiday party is only complete when a bowl of Ponche Navidendois served. Made in a boiling pot with a wide variety of ingredients, Ponche Navidendo is a beautifully colored beverage soon to be a household favorite. After the water is boiled, a whole host of treats are added like apples, pears, prunes, oranges, guavas, raisins and walnuts. For your own personal touch, add your preferred liquor such as brandy, rum or tequila. With all its gorgeous fruit, it’s easy to pretend that we’re being healthful this holiday!

Ingredients

  • Water
  • 1 cup dried hibiscus flowers (jamaica)
  • 12 tejocote fruits
  • 3 large cinnamon sticks
  • 1 cone piloncillo (or 1 cup brown sugar)
  • 12 guava fruits, quartered
  • 8 tamarind beans, shells and veins removed
  • 2 apples, diced
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 1 stalk sugar cane, peeled and cut into 3″ sticks
  • 1 cup prunes, quartered
  • 1 cup pecans or almonds, shelled

Preparations

In a medium pot, bring 1 quart of water to boil and add hibiscus. Turn off heat and cover. Steep 20 minutes.

Cut the tops and bottoms off the tejocote and cut an “X” in one end, scoring the peel. In a small pot, bring 1 inch water to boil and drop in the tejocote. Boil 8 minutes. Drain and cool. Peel and discard the skins. Set the fruit aside.

In a very large pot, put about 1 gallon of water. Strain the hibiscus tea into it, discarding the flowers. Add the cinnamon and piloncillo. Bring this to boil and stir to dissolve the sugar.

Add remaining ingredients and stir. Simmer 20-30 minutes or until the apples have taken on a pink color.

Serve hot in mugs with a shot of rum or brandy for the adults.

 Cola de Mono – Chile

cola de mona

Cola de Mono, or ‘Monkey’s Tail’, is a Chilean beverage served as traditionally and favorably as eggnog. It’s quick to have you “swinging from the trees” when served generously! While it looks similar to eggnog, Cola De Mono has a more similar flavor to a White Russian. Made with coffee, nutmeg, cloves, vanilla extract and your choice of white rum, brandy or vodka, it is sure to be a family favorite!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 can (14oz/400g) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup brewed espresso bean coffee (i.e. strong)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups pisco, aguardiente, eau de vie, or aquavit

Preparation

Bring water to a boil in a large pot with cinnamon sticks and cloves Reduce heat and simmer for 10 more minutes. Strain Stir in condensed milk, coffee and vanilla. Allow to cool, then chill. Stir in liquor, and chill again before serving.

12 Magical Christmas Markets Around The World

Photo courtesy of torontochristmasmarket.com

By: Juliette Koronkiewicz, TWIP

Every year, in many cities around the world, Christmas markets open and people flock to watch carolers, events, tree lightings and shop for everyone on their Christmas list. You can’t help but feel the spirit of the holidays when walking into these winter wonderlands of sparkling Christmas trees, savory scents, and sweet treats. Visiting one or some of these 12 Christmas Markets is the perfect way to get yourself into the holiday spirit.

Striezelmarkt – Dresden, Germany: November 29 – December 24, 2017

Photo courtesy of download-wallpaper.net

Dresden Striezelmarkt is Germany’s oldest Christmas market and this year will mark the 583rd anniversary of this historical Christmas display. Locals visit this market every year to stock up on festive foods and Christmas shop. Amongst the many market stalls are popular woodcraft from the Erz Mountains, beautiful hand-made tinsels, winter accessories, hand-made candles and more. Dresden Stollen Festival is one of the most popular main events during this month-long Christmas market. A visit to Dresden Christmas Market isn’t complete without tasting some of its famous stollen; a traditional German Christmas fruit and nut bread.

Budapest Christmas Fair – Budapest, Hungary: Nov 10, 2017 – Dec 31, 2017

Photo courtesy of budapestchristmas.com

The Christmas market on St. Stephen’s Square is the newest market in Budapest and right in front of the beautiful St. Stephen’s Basilica. Opened for the first time in 2011, the market has beautiful decorations, stalls filled with handmade gifts to cross people off your shopping list, and delicious food. Did we forget to mention you can also go ice skating? You can view the illuminating St. Stephen’s Basilica while taking a few laps around the ice skating rink. Every day, on the hour, between 4.30pm and 10pm, you can see the Basilica’s facade turn into a stunning visual Christmas narrative. This market is known for its beautiful lights in the evenings, which makes you feel as if you are in the middle of a magical Christmas wonderland.

Tivoli Gardens’ Christmas Market – Copenhagen, Denmark: November 18 – December 31st

Photo courtesy of pinterest.co.uk

Every year, the Tivoli Gardens are transformed into a winter wonderland. Up to one million lights are activated to create Christmas in Tivoli. The Tivoli Christmas Market has been running since 1994 and attracts more than a million visitors each year. During your visit, you will find mouth watering food and drinks, thanks to the mulled wine and apple pancakes, and you can discover everything from beautiful knitwear to Christmas ornaments and crafts. While at Tivoli, don’t forget to ride the Pixie Train and the Music Carousel.  

Christkindlesmarik – Strasbourg, France: November 24th – December 30th

Photo courtesy of flickriver.com/photos/davidad64

Known as the “Capital of Christmas,” Strasbourg is home to Christkindlesmarik, France’s oldest and most popular holiday market. Christkindelsmarik comprises twelve markets which are organized by products such as food, decorations and handmade crafts. Place Kléber holds the piece de resistance: a giant Christmas tree with shimmering ornaments and lights. Visitors will find 60 small wooden huts in Place Kléber, where different organizations take donations and explain their charitable mission. In keeping with holiday spirit, many visitors leave gifts by the Christmas tree for those in need. With its famous Christmas Tree, illuminations, unique wooden chalets, bredele cakes and hot wine, there’s always magic in the air at Strasbourg’s Christmas Market.

Christkindlmarket – Chicago, USA: November 17th – December 24th

Photo courtesy of 10best.com

Christkindlmarket Chicago is inspired by the Christkindlesmarkt in Nuremberg, Germany. You will find German and European tradition mixed with international flair and local charm when you visit. The outdoor market in the Chicago Loop has become so popular and loved, that people from all over the world come to visit. Any Chicagoan will tell you that they could not imagine the city without this  Chicago tradition. The unique shopping experience, typical German food and drinks, and holiday entertainment make the Christkindlmarket Chicago a preferred and popular destination to get in the holiday spirit.

The Old Town Market (Skansen) – Stockholm, Sweden: November 19th – December 23rd

Photo courtesy of lifeoftrends.com

The Old Town Christmas Market has it‘s origin in the medieval markets at Stockholm in 1837 and has been an ongoing tradition. With more than 40 stalls to explore, you will find a lot of Swedish Christmas specialities such as Swedish Christmas sweets, smoked sausages, smoked reindeer, elk meat, handmade knitted caps, candy floss, glögg (mulled wine), a range of Swedish handicrafts and decorative arts of high-quality workmanship and so much more. The vendors renting the stalls are all entrepreneurs and are selected to give you a wide range of traditional Swedish products, with a focus on handicraft and unique items for a truly authentic Swedish Christmas experience.

Christmas Markets – Manchester, England: November 10th – December 21st

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Launched in 1999 as just a single site in St. Ann’s Square, Manchester’s Christmas Markets are now a sprawling and hugely popular festive attraction. Over 300 stalls and chalets spread across the city centre offers delicious international food, drinks and delicately crafted Yuletide gifts. You can taste traditional bratwurst, Hungarian goulash, Spanish paella or a good old-fashioned hog roast. European and local producers offer everything from fine amber jewellery, handcrafted leather bags and top-quality bonsai trees, to handmade Belgian kitchenware, framed photo prints and French soaps.

Christkindlmarkt Salzburg – Salzburg, Austria: November 23rd – December 26th

Photo courtesy of christkindlmarkt.co.at

Experience the incredible old Austrian tradition and find the most wonderful Christmas presents for your loved ones at Salzburg’s Christmas Market! Salzburg’s Christmas market located around the cathedral of Salzburg at the foot of the Hohensalzburg fortress, is mentioned in history as far back as the 15th century. When you visit Salzburg, you enter a stage for countless cultural events, lovingly fostered tradition and living customs. With snow often turning the city into an atmospheric winter wonderland, the many Christmas markets add to the seasonal feeling and make Salzburg one of the most romantic cities in Austria.

Plaisirs d’Hiver – Brussels, Belgium: November 24th – December 31st

Photo courtesy of theculturetrip.com

There’s no better way to get into the Christmas mood than spending some time at Brussels’ Plaisirs d’Hiver, coined as “Europe’s most original Christmas market.” There are Baroque merry-go-rounds, a 200 foot-long ice rink, a big wheel and over 240 stalls selling gifts, and warming food and drink fit for those crispy wintery days. Indulge with the delicious flavors of the local sugary doughnuts while observing the 18,000 lights illuminating the Ferris wheel, decorations, and music while taking in the holiday atmosphere.

Edinburgh’s Christmas Market – Edinburgh, Scotland: November 17th – January 7th

Photo courtesy of webstore.ncl.ac.uk

The traditional and romantic Christmas Market in the heart of Edinburgh offers a unique shopping experience for every visitor. These festive markets are a popular highlight of Edinburgh’s Christmas.  Find traditional crafts at the Scottish Market on George Street. Pick up unique gifts and goods at the European Market in the Mound Precinct, or choose presents for the little ones in the Children’s Market, part of Santa Land at Princes Street Gardens. You can enjoy panoramic views of the capital from the top of the Big Wheel, spin around on the charming carousel in East Princes Street Gardens, brave a twirl on the 60-meter-high Star Flyer or just enjoy delicious food and drink.

Toronto Christmas Market  – Toronto, Canada: November 16th – December 23rd

Photo courtesy of torontochristmasmarket.com

Discover Old World charm with modern-day holiday attractions at The Toronto Christmas Market. The market features festive lighting and décor, musical performances from carolers and Bavarian brass bands. Warm up with beer, mulled wine, or hot rum drinks at the market’s beer gardens and hospitality lounges. Browse through local, handcrafted products and check out the market’s giant Christmas tree. If you love caroling, join in on the World Caroling Challenge on December 15th and sing some of your favorite Christmas tunes!

Old Town and Wenceslas Square Christmas Market – Prague, Czech Republic: December 2nd – January 6th

Photo courtesy of theodysseyonline.com

If you want an unforgettable experience, you need to experience Christmas in Prague!  The unique atmosphere of the medieval central Prague makes the Christmas Markets at the Old Town Square very popular. The variety of food and beverages sold at the market is very generous. Visitors may look forward to traditional Czech food and drink like barbecued pork, blood sausages, Czech muffins, conkers, beer, mulled wine, mead and other typical gastronomical specialties from Old Czech cuisine. You can find gifts for everyone on your list with a variety of wood-carved toys, glass-workwear, blacksmith´s ware or confectionery.

The 9 Best New Year’s Eve Parties on the Planet

By: Natalie Austin, TWIP

New Year’s Eve is arguably one of the most anticipated nights of the year and New York isn’t the only city that knows how to do it right. Cities around the globe offer experiences unique to their location and can provide for some of the year’s most unforgettable moments. Here are the top New Year’s celebrations around the globe.

Sydney, Australia

Sydney Harbor

Photo Courtesy of imgcluster.com

Situated on a gorgeous harbor, Sydney offers a New Year’s Eve for those who are looking to spend it nautically. As one of the first capital cities to ring in the New Year, Sydney does this holiday the best. Complete with waterfront restaurants for lavish dinners, lighted boat parades, and yacht parties, to view a most spectacular fireworks show.

Bratislava, Slovakia

Slovakia

Photo Courtesy of travelandleisure.com

If you’re looking for an unpretentious and quaint affair, Bratislava, Slovakia is the perfect party destination for New Year’s. The soiree hosts around 10,000 people each year with open air dance parties, a fireworks show over the Danube River, and local bands and dance groups to entertain. Old Town is divided into a “concert zone” and a “party zone” so goers can choose their desired atmosphere, or get a taste of both.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio

Photo Courtesy of aboutbrasil.com

Bringing the Carnival flavor with traditional costumes and dance performances, New Year’s Eve comes in as a close second in Brazil’s most vibrant city. Each year the Copacabana Beach is lined with music installations and drum spectaculars, with patrons decked out in white, symbolizing luck in the coming year. At the end of the evening, it is traditional for locals to cleanse themselves in the ocean and cast flowers into the water with the belief that if they don’t return, your wishes for the new year will be granted.

Berlin, Germany

Berlin

Photo Courtesy of porumavidasemrotina.com

With the reputation as one best nightlife cities in Europe, it is no wonder why Berlin makes this list. Countless clubs throughout the city host parties lasting through the night, some lasting for over 12 hours. Over one million people flock to Berlin to fill “party mile” through the city, lined with food and drink tents, music stages and of course a breathtaking fireworks show.

Hong Kong, China  

Hong Kong

Photo Courtesy of hongkongnewyearseve.com

China is famous for some of the most unique and bizarre New Year’s traditions, which is why it is a perfect place to welcome the new year. With extravagant parties along the Avenue of Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon or bars in the Lan Kwai Fong district, Hong Kong knows just how to throw a NYE blowout. You can even watch a replica Times Square Ball Drop in the city center. Just like other New Year’s traditions, the firework show is a must-see and can be watched by boat in the Victoria Harbor.

Valparaiso, Chile

Chile

Photo Courtesy ofajansalperen.com

One of the most extravagant New Year’s celebrations on the planet is no other than the cultural capital of Chile, Valparaiso. This three-day festival hosts a world renowned fireworks show, with fireworks launched from 17 different points along the coast.  Parties are hosted along the beach to take in the show and most of them go until the sun comes up.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Iceland

Photo Courtesy of www.traveller.com.au

Another smaller scale NYE can be celebrated in the exotic Reykjavik, a large community party thrown by locals. Beginning at 6pm, bonfires are held throughout the city to symbolize the burning away of the year’s troubles. Gatherings a complete with heaving drinking, folk songs and people dressed as elves and trolls. The party goes through 5am, when locals line up for hotdogs and then head to the hot springs to warm up from an evening outside.  Despite being a frigid location, Reykjavik is the perfect destination to really party like a local this holiday.

Edinburgh, Scotland

Scotland

Photo Courtesy of planeteu.com

Edinburgh is hands down one of New Year Eve’s best destination as it is home to a remarkable three-day festival. The event kicks off with a torchlight procession, followed by city-wide festivities like outdoor concerts and a traditional Celtic party. While fireworks show is a standard NYE tradition, this display takes place with the magnificent Edinburgh Castle as its backdrop. On New Year’s day, Holyrood Park hosts a competitive dog sledding race and the River Forth hosts an ice-cold water plunge.

Vienna, Austria

Vienna

Photo Courtesy of event-carnival.com

Vienna is home to both sophisticated events and smaller scale parties, providing a little something for everything on NYE. Those who love the finer things can attend one of its many balls where guests are dressed to the nines. For those who prefer a more local experience, head to the city center, Silvesterpfad for traditional hot mulled wine and toffee apples. Visitors can also opt for a dinner party cruise along the Danube River.

Traveling With Children: Part II

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By: Dennis Breier

In our first post we discussed some strategies for taking your gaggle of children on a long road trip.  I have five, so that’s what I mean by “gaggle.”  However, traveling with any number of children is tough.  Why would you take children on a long road trip in a car?  So you don’t have to fly them in a plane, which can be exponentially worse.  Plus – and this is key – you can scream and yell at your children like a crazy person in your own car. On an airplane you have to act like Mother Theresa the whole time so you don’t embarrass yourself in front of 130 strangers.  So you’ve decided to take the brood on a plane to save some time, here are some ways to do it right, and maintain your cool.

1. Know What to Expect

You are going to get stared at and given dirty looks, especially if you have one or more children under the age of two with you.  This process will start when going through security and get worse as you enter the aircraft.  As you walk down the aisle of the plane to board, you’ll see the horrified look on everyone’s face that says, “If they sit next to me I’ll jump out the emergency hatch at 40,000 feet. Please God let these idiots keep walking.”

Don’t sweat it.  Frankly, these people all forget they weren’t born yesterday and they were, once a child.  You have to get where you’re going with or without your children, don’t let a bunch of people who only care about themselves ruin your fun, for a second.  

2. Dress Appropriately

We forgot to consider this the first time we flew somewhere and it was a nightmare.  You have to basically disrobe your children when you are going through security.  Shoes, belts, stuff in pockets, jackets, everything.  Do not put them in anything that is hard to take off.  For shoes, I recommend crocs that slip off.  Don’t put them in a belt because you have to take it off them.  By the way, don’t put them in belt ever. even for a regular day.  What kid wears a belt?  Belts are for professional baseball players and certified public accountants, neither of which describes your child.  Plus, they look stupid, and they look like you forced them into a belt.  Anyway, I digress, no belts, easy shoes, no socks, no coats, basically just bring them in a onesie and you’ll fly right through security.

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3. Save the Food for After the Trip

Ever try to bring a bunch of formula bottles and children snacks through security at an airport?  Sweet Jesus, all of sudden you’re standing at the end of the conveyor and the damn place turns into a chemistry lab.  They have to test the formula with some kind of acid strip, they have to open all the zip locks bags and check those.  It’s insane, and it takes forever, and you are one step closer to a full cavity search, which is not a place you want to be.  If you can help it, wait to grab your children their coveted fruit snacks until after you get off the plane.

4. Use Your Stroller as a Life Line

So basically you can’t bring anything on a plane with your children, but a stroller you can roll right up to the door.  Take advantage of this.  Put your carry-ons in it, your coats if you have them, toys for the children, iPads, whatever.  Everyone else has to carry all their stuff but you have a rolling shopping cart to take advantage of, so do it.  I don’t know what they do with your stroller once you get on the plane, but It shows up right outside the door when you get off, so I personally don’t really care if they have tied up to one of the wings.  

5. What Happens if There is a Breakdown, Or Worse, A Terrible, Terrible Smell

First things first, never apologize.  I see people do that all the time.  There kid is going nuts and their like, “I’m so sorry” to the people around them.  What the hell are you sorry about?  It’s a small child in a cramped space, his or her ears feel like they are going to explode, they can’t hear anything, and they can’t turn on any electronics yet.  Don’t worry about it.  There is no where you can go, so try to calm them down, realize you won’t see any of the people around you again, and think about how awesome your vacation is going to be.  Half the battle on a plane is not getting worked up.  There is really no reason for it.

The one thing you need to take care of right away is a hot steamy dump.  No one wants to smell that in an airplane.  Retreat to the lavatory immediately and take care of it.  I hate when you’re on a plane, and some kid has clearly ripped one-off in their pants and it just lingers in there.  Don’t be that person, please.

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6. Enlist the help of the Stewards/Stewardesses

These people are usually great with children on a plane.  It’s their job all day, every day.  If one of your children are having a breakdown, take them in the back and ask the Stewardess’ if they can see where they keep the food or something.  Believe, they’ll do it, they don’t want your kid screaming either.  If you need help, or have to take someone to the bathroom and are worried about your other children somehow ejecting themselves from the aircraft, ask the stewardess’s to watch them or something.  They are there to help you.

7. Miscellaneous Wisdom and Product Tips

If you are traveling with children over five, you need an iPad, or iPads.  Those things are like crack to a 5-10 year old.  I mean, if you’re into crack I guess, which I’m not.  Anyway, make sure you download some movies they like – and this is key – download the standard definition movies, not the HD ones.  They are cheaper, look just as good to me, and they take up way less memory so your children can still download Minecraft upgrades like it’s their last day on earth.

Great things to bring on plane in terms of food that won’t get treated like a threat to national security are fruit snacks, granola bars and my personal favorite, Baby Mum-Mum Rice Rusks.  Those rice rusks quiet down a screaming toddler in a hurry, and when they dissolve they turn into a sticky cement like mess that you can leave on the seats to spite the airline for smashing you and your lap baby into the smallest seat ever.

There are only two products you need as an adult while traveling with your children that will make it seem like you can’t hear them.  Beats Audio Headphones and whatever beer they are serving on the drink cart.  You can’t hear a damn thing with the headphones on, and the beer says, “I’m on vacation, so…whatever.”  When you look over and see your kid screaming bloody murder, you can just act like you can’t hear anything while you enjoy your favorite tunes and catch a little buzz.  

Lastly, you might have a kid that’s potty training and you have to take a four hour plane ride.  Forget about the potty training and buy Pampers Easy-Ups.  I swear to god those easy-ups hold more urine than a kid could possibly unleash.  I took one-off my son after our last long trip and it looked like a water balloon on the cusp of explosion and the lad was perfectly dry.  Ridiculous.  Plus, your kid will enjoy reverting back to his infant days, you don’t have to find the smallest bathroom on earth, and you can re-potty train him the rest of the trip. Yeah!

In conclusion, don’t sweat a trip on a plane with your little children.  Most people get all defeated and worked up beforehand which makes it worse.  Most people know what you are doing is hard and will be understanding.  For those that aren’t, who cares, you’ll never see them again.  Good luck on your next trip and hang in there!

Traveling With Children: Part I

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