Little C’s Traveling Friends: Twins Chace and Peyton

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For the next installment in my “Traveling with a Toddler” series, I wanted to up the ante by interviewing my friend who travels with her twin toddlers! I shudder in fear at the thought… Ha ha, actually her twins are adorable and she is a rock-star mommy. Her twins are just a few months older than Little C, so I have enjoyed hearing stories about them ever since they were born.

Here are Chace (left) and Peyton (right) at six months old.

While I only have one toddler, I think that when you have more than one little one, things don’t just get twice as difficult, they get exponentially more complicated – especially if you aren’t prepared. What I love about my friend’s travels is not just that she travels so well with her twins, but that she has truly maximized the beauty of the Southwest Companion pass!

Twins, oh my gosh. First thing’s first, how often have you flown with Chace and Peyton?

We have taken about 10 flights with them in their first two years. So far all of the flights have been domestic flights to go and visit family.

Okay, ten flights times four family members = potentially a large financial investment to keep the twins connected to their family. Do you have any tips on how you have managed the expense of travel for a family of four?

We always fly Southwest because my husband flies so much that he earned me a companion pass for a year so I fly free with him anywhere. Also, the babies flew for free until they turned two earlier this month, so basically we just used one of the free flights he earned and we paid $10 in fees for the four us all to fly wherever.

I love, love, love how well my friend and her family have maximized the value of the companion pass for family travel. For those who don’t have enough travel to earn the companion pass based on travel alone, you get up to 100,000 of the 110,000 required Rapid Rewards points from signing up for the current sign-up bonus of 50,000 points for a business and personal Southwest credit card in the same calendar year (Jan – Dec). You would then just need to charge $10,000 on the card(s) during that year to earn enough points to have a friend or family member fly for free with you for a year!

Okay, tell me about the logistics of flying with twin babies/toddlers!

Well, since we fly Southwest, the flights are usually not direct, the extra hassle of getting on and off is worth it for the price – or lack thereof. As for the flights themselves, if the flight is actually full, we have to sit on different rows since there are only four masks that drop down for oxygen on each row. So, unless there is an extra free seat we have to sit apart from each other. Usually we do get to sit across the aisle from each other, so that helps, but potentially being separated does making packing carry-on items for the babies harder.

We always have toys for both babies. We also usually have my iPad for one to watch and my old school iPod that you can watch movies on for the other. They love watching cartoons on the plane, so that really helps. We make sure to have plenty of “essential supplies” in the diaper bag, and also pack extra diapers in the carry-on. I also pack lots of snacks and make sure I bring on plenty of water for the babies to drink.

We don’t bring our car seats cause we already have way too much stuff to carry. We usually rent them from Enterprise for $8.95 a day per seat. I do always bring my double stroller because I would die without it. I did purchase a Skiphop Duo Double diaper bag on sale from Diapers.com. It’s HUGE and wonderful. It’s not my everyday bag, but it’s awesome for flying or traveling. Also, since mine are wanting to use the potty sometimes I had to think about that as well. Packing a potty seat wasn’t really an option. I have one that the seat folds up for traveling, but they don’t really like it. I bought some potty toppers from diapers.com and they are awesome! They are over sized sheets with Sesame Street on them that hang over the toilet enough so their legs don’t touch and the babies seem to like them. You just have to hold them on the toilet so they don’t fall in of course. đŸ™‚

When we visit my husband’s family, we borrow pack-n-plays and toys from his cousins so that we don’t have to travel with even more gear.

What are your plans for free/reduced travel now that the twins are two and can’t travel for free anymore?

We plan to use the Rapid Rewards points that my husband earns through business travel for all of us to get three of the tickets, and then I will still hopefully have the companion pass to fly for free when he flies.

My friend and her husband have also gone on my “long weekends” together by using the companion pass while having friends and family members stay behind and help take care of Chace and Peyton at home. This has been a great way for them to get a few minutes to themselves, which I can only imagine is a rare treat when taking care of two little ones!

From hearing about her travels, it sounds like flying with twin babies and two parents is a lot like man-on-man defense in basketball. Especially due to the oxygen mask/seating arrangement situation on the plane, it really sounds a lot like the logistics are similar to having one parent flying by themselves with one baby.  As hard as it is to travel with two little ones, given how cute these two are, it’s easy to see why Kristi and her husband put forth so much effort to keep them connected with extended family.  It also sounds like the key is to be really organized and strategic with your carry-on baby essentials. I feel like a pack-mule when flying with the gear for my one toddler – two would be insane!

Thanks so much to Kristi, Peyton, and Chace for sharing their adventures with me – especially thanks for sharing the details about how to maximize the value of the companion pass for a young family!

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  1. I read the above blog a few days ago, and starting thinking about how one could get the additional 10,000 points to qualify for the companion ticket. And, then last night I realized via Deals We Like that the following SouthWest promotion was coming to an end: where one could buy $1000 in Marriott GC to get 12,000 SWA points. And, if charged on the Chase Southwest Card, you can get double the spend points. So, in the end, you would end up with 14,000 points while have spent $1000.

    Then through plastic jungle, one can sell the $1000 Marriott GCs for $830 of cash (I believe). Simultaneously, if the below GC promotion is utilized (which runs through Dec. 15), then 14,000 points could be converted $175 worth of Amazon GC. So, all in all, netting out, but still meeting the 110,000 companion ticket requirement.

    What are your thoughts?

    20% Off Gift Cards with Southwest Rapid Reward Redemptions
    For those of you that have accrued Southwest points and just have no usage for them, redeeming for gift cards just got better! Through December 15, you will receive a 20% discount when redeeming your Southwest Rapid Reward points for many gift cards through their site. I just took a look at it, and there are a slew of gift card options, ranging from travel, department stores, gas stations, restaurants, etc. The travel gift cards include: Hyatt, Marriott, The Ritz Carlton, Fairmont, Royal Caribbean, Avis, Budget, Alamo, and Hertz.

    You still get the biggest bank for your buck when redeeming your Southwest Rapid Reward points for free travel, but this option is not too bad! Redemption rates are the following:

    Southwest travel redemption: 60 points = $1 (always the case)
    Southwest gift card redemption: 80 points = $1 (through December 15)

    • @CJ, I love the way you think!!! I think it sounds great. I would not personally redeem SW points for gift cards, but I really do like your thought process. Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. CJ: that’s an interesting thought, though it sounds like it is coming to an end before Jan. I think I’m going to go for a CP in 2012, but we’ve already done the personal cards so even with the bix card I’ll have to come up with a reasonable way to get the other 60k.

    We also have twins which has just begun accruing FF miles. We have the fullsize Alpha-Omega seats from Sam’s and I found a good way to tote them: we bought some nice seat bags from Aamzon and I picked up a couple of the bright orange luggage straps. I just flip the seat over and strap it to a roller bag. You have to bit a bit careful about them falling over forward, but otherwise it’s an easy way to get them to bag check. The straps just slide into the front pocket of the bag, and it all goes down the belt. (We use CARES harnesses on the plane, even though they are note required at age 2.)

    • @mikes, I love that idea too. I think that deal ended 10/31, but would to see it or a similar deal come back. Thanks for sharing your traveling with twins info!

  3. Hello,
    We are a French-German family with 2,5 years old twins. We just moved to Montréal this May and lived in Paris before.
    We experienced most of the points stated in this article! Until now we flew 3 return trips with the kids in Europe, 1 big return trip from Europe down to Australia and 1 one-way flight to Canada. For the Europe – Australia flight we chose to have 2 stops : Zurich and Singapore. We made separate bookings for the Paris – Singapore and Singapore – Perth flights. This way we could chose the exact flights we wanted. We booked 3 seats even if we could have had the kids on our lap, since there were still under 2. Furthermore we decided to have a “long” layover in Singapore (6 hours) and to book a room in one of their transit hotels (which are airside and great) so that all the family could have some rest before taking the last 5 hours to Australia. On the way back we spent 2 days in Singapore (since it lies in the same timezone than Western Australia) to break up the trip. It all went fine also due to the fact that we flew during the low season and that we weren’t traveling on the busiest days in the week. On our way to Australia we always had at least 4 seats for us. On the return flight we only had our 3 booked seats from Singapore to Zurich (12 hours night flight). This was a little bit hard, but since we had the 2 days in Singapore before, it wasn’t too exhausting. For a few dollars more we also chose to travel on SQ rather than Scoot or Jetstar for the Singapore – Perth leg. This was definitly worth it, since the service for families on SQ is great! Last but not least we had a carry-on FULL of new toys, only opening something new when all aspects of the previous toy has been discovered! We stayed 2 months in Australia but I would do it again also for 1 month. Below 1 month it might get too exhausting with under 2 year old twins for such a far trip.

    To sum it up, I can only encourage parents of twins to not hesitate and go on big trips with small twins! Be aware that once they are over 2, you go from 2 tickets minimum to 4 tickets!

    One further small deviation : when travelling to Europe with small kids and you want to go to several cities, I can only encourage you to use the high speed trains like Eurostar (between London and Paris/Brussels), Thalys (Paris to Amsterdam/Cologne/Brussels), TGV in France and from Paris to Barcelona, Torino, Frankfurt and Stuttgart, AVE in Spain or Italo / Trennitalia in Italy. Since most passenger railway companies are still state owned, thay most of the time have some “social” pricing for the families. For instance a child under 3 can travel for free on national TGV services in France but for 9 euros you could get him a seat. The distance does not matter, nor does the class of service!

    Until now, we always flew together, since most airlines do not accept that one adult travel with 2 children under 2. We will fly to Europe for Christmas but since we cannot take the same time off from work and since the kids are over 2, I will fly alone with the twins to Europe. I fly from MontrĂ©al to Paris via Amsterdam with KLM. The Montreal – Amsterdam flight is during the night.

    Any tips or suggestion on how to master this trip?

    After reading your article on car seats, I am hesitating. We buying the car seat we didn’t factor in the aspect of using them on airplanes… So they are really heavy and bulky! Plus Canadian certified seats are of no use in Europe if you want to stick to the regulation…

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