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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. 🙂
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!