Traveling with Toddlers: OBX Part 1 Getting to North Carolina
Updated: Mar 18
Welcome back, mommas! This post is part 1 of the series #travelingwithtoddlers. Today I am sharing our experience taking then 2 & 4-year-old children on a beach vacation to Outer Banks, North Carolina; as well as THREE lessons/tips we learned along the way. I hope you enjoy it! Also, don't forget to follow me @themeckhouse_blog on Instagram to keep up to date with blog posts & to see stories on daily #momlife. 💕
Who doesn't love a beach vacation am I right? Sand in your toes, the kiss of sun on your skin, and the only sounds you hear are waves crashing the shore and "mommy I want a snack,". Wait, what?! Oh, that's right, you brought your kids along for this vacation. So how do you handle that? Let me share with you the start of our trip to Outer Banks, NC. Traveling from Iowa, Carl and I took the kids on their very first flights, yes plural, no thank you to layovers, and let me tell ya, this was an absolute learning experience. Hopefully, you can learn from our mistakes and spend 95% of your time relaxing on your next beach trip!
And we are off! This photo was taken before our first flight of the trip. We flew out of the Cedar Rapids Airport here in Iowa. Honestly, I love this airport because parking is always a breeze and an easy walk to the terminal. Sofie & Bubs were thoroughly excited, only having flying experience from episodes of Peppa Pig. This was definitely a high point in our trip, all excited with the only frustration being the attempt to carry our luggage plus two giant and ridiculously heavy car seats to the check-in. Anyway, this leads us to...
Pack a full-size school bag for each child as their carry-on. Even if they are not big enough to wear it.
This is something we got half right. Sofia had a normal-sized backpack that held a stuffy (stuffed animal), a small pillow & blanket, a coloring activity pack (here's what we got) and a handful of small toys. I also had her keep her travel toothbrush in the front pocket. Unfortunately for Sawyer (hey, first time dropping his real name in a blog post 😂), his bag was toddler-sized. He was able to get one stuffed dino and his toothbrush kit in his bag, but that was it. That doesn't sound too terrible, however, that meant I had to keep his pillow, blanket, activities, plus some books in my carry-on. I wouldn't have minded too much except when the kids wanted to seat swap. I had all his stuff making it difficult. On the way back, when I needed more space for souvenirs this also was an inconvenience.
👀 Here is a little look into our flight ⬇️
When in doubt, pull the phone out.
Listen, mommas, we can talk about appropriate screen time all day. I get it. But when nothing else is working to entertain your kiddos letting them have an hour or two playing games, taking selfies, or watching a movie is not going to hurt them. Plus, depending on where you are going you may be skipping screen time all together once you are there, hello balance. The photo above of me and Bubs was taken after he played with toys, read 2 books, and colored. He still got bored and letting him take a few selfies smoothed things over quickly.
Note: We did get our kids these Amazon Fire tablets for this trip, but ended up forgetting them at home 🙄. For the flights to Outer Banks, it wasn't a big deal. The kids were just so excited to be on a plane. The way home, however, was a totally different story and we defffffffinately could have used them. Our second trip last year to Disney World was much smoother. I will be sharing that series soon, with tons more ideas for what to bring on a plane!
If you must get a rental car, get it from the airport itself.
Ok, this one may seem obvious, however, we are suckers for saving a buck. When Carl found the app Turo, which is like Airbnb for cars, we instantly said heck yes when we should have been saying heck no. I'm serious mommas, just don't do it. Maybe it was a one-time experience, but after two flights and 6 hours, you and your kiddos are going to want to get the f*** out of the airport. We ended up spending an additional hour simply looking for the car. Long story short the app tells you what short-term parking ramp the vehicle is in and our app told us wrong. So let's just take a moment of silence to imagine one dad carrying all the luggage + two car seats on his back and one mom, who's just as tired and hangry as her toddlers, walking up and down an airport parking ramp for an hour, lost and confused. I'll just say that words were had and the inside of a rental car never felt so refreshing as it did when we finally found it.
... oh but wait there is more, the cheapest vehicle was a Tesla (which was super cool to drive btw), and as we were leaving the ramp we dropped the key card between the seats and got STUCK in park at the exit. Yeah, the car won't move if the key is not in the right spot. 🤦♀️ The embarrassment was real thick y'all. Luckily, this part of the story is where the fiasco of getting to #OBX ended. You will have to read parts 2 & 3 coming soon to hear how we enjoyed the Outer Banks once we were there, as well as the SERIOUS disaster that was coming home. I'll post a sneak peek pic ⬇️. You're going to love the photos from our trip. So stay tuned for more!
That's all for Traveling with Toddlers: OBX Part 1 Getting to North Carolina. Now, who is excited to read about & view pictures of our time exploring the Outer Banks coast? I can not wait to share part 2 of this story with you.
Tell me- what are your must-have items for flying with kids? Mine has definitely expanded since going on this first trip with them.
💕💕sending you love & momma to momma support,