Ups and Downs of Family Travel

— Flying direct is ALWAYS preferred.
— No matter how many toys you bring, playing with the fold-up tray is more fun.
— People who are not handicapped or traveling with children SHOULD NOT SIT IN BULKHEAD SEATING. This means you, annoying woman with the Soap Opera Digest and WWJD bracelet. I’m just guessing here, but I’d venture that Jesus wouldn’t plop down in bulkhead while 3 older women in wheelchairs and 2 families with small children shuffle into the back aisles.
— Southwest is a good airline for family travel: priority open seating, kids’ activity books, willing to fill zippy cups early in the flight before beverage service, give drinks with lids and straws to all members of the family (for when that rouge toddler kick knocks everything off your tray).
— Raleigh Durham airport gets a big thumbs down. There is no gas station within 5 miles of the car rental return. We had to drive far away (in morning traffic) and search for a place to fill-up. (Thank goodness we were early.) Then, the rental agency van drop-off is 50 meters from the terminal — separated by a landscaped divider with STAIRS. Big stroller, 6 bags, 2 kids… couldn’t we have been dropped off closer?? Then the Smart Cart dispenser ate our $2 without giving us a cart. I called the 800 number to “request a refund” — not in my best moment, I described the “b” in my name (for which I usually say “b as in boy”) as “b as in bullshit”.
— Flying with kids is really nothing to be scared about. It’s just more of a pain to pack for flight (versus throwing a ton of stuff in the car) and get from each point in a timely fashion when you’ve got kids to worry about.
— Having an extra bedroom and kitchenette in a hotel makes a TON of difference. Free high speed internet (for streaming WWOZ when you need some New Orleans in your day) is a big plus.
— Kids can’t handle long car trips without plenty of stops and exercise. Maybe this is just my kids, but they really can’t be held down too long without all of us suffering.
— We really love minivans.