I don't travel much. Well actually, I never travel. Not since having kids. I've avoided it like the plague. So when my sister told me she was having a destination wedding in St. Thomas in June and my kids were part of the wedding, I wasn't overly excited.
Since I didn't have a choice now, I had to get serious and start planning for this 5 day vacation with a 3 1/2 hour flight each way. I did some research and found some helpful advice. The rest was me just kind of winging it.
There's the usual thing of packing snacks and water. That's a given. We also brought the iPads for my 4 year olds. Yes, they each have their own iPad. We made sure to download a new game the night before the flight so they'd have something new to focus on, which lasted probably the whole flight. I also brought a backpack for each of them which had their own snacks, water, headphones (for the iPad) and a coloring book with crayons (which they didn't use). They also had a change of clothes from comfy plane clothes to hot weather shorts and t-shirt for when we land.
In addition to their stuff, I brought a nice little gift for the flight attendants (I found this tip online). I packed a small zip lock back with a handful of candies and wrote the names of my 3 children and our seat numbers on the bag. When a flight attendant came around after we were in the air, I handed her the bag and told her its for the crew. She was shocked and surprised. She asked me why I did this, to which I honestly replied that it was to bribe them for their kindness in case my children act up. She laughed and thanked me. A little later during the flight, she brought the other crew members to show them who gave them the candy. It was a nice little treat that even I was surprised worked as well as it did. It also earned us a free cookie :-) Just don't forget to pack one for the way home too!
For the baby (who was 11 months), I packed a bottle of water, some cheerios, a change of clothes, diapers and a few small toys. He was content most of the time. I was nursing at the time so I didn't have to worry about formula. I found that feeding him during the ascent and descent helped with ear pain. He slept most of the flight anyway so it wasn't too bad.
While we were away, we just kind of managed everything as it came. I had the reclinable stroller that came everywhere with us. We mostly spent time by the pool and at in the buffet room/restaurant. Luckily the baby napped in his stroller by the pool while we swam.
When it came to sleeping arrangements, the twins shared a bed and the baby slept in a crib provided by the resort. It looked like a metal hospital crib, but it did the job.
There wasn't much private time for my husband and I, but since this was a family event, my sister was nice enough to take the twins for a few hours here and there. The baby usually napped in his crib during our alone time, so it worked out.
All in all, the trip was much smoother than I could have ever imagined. We survived! I was thoroughly impressed with how well my children behaved and I actually had a good time. It gave me the courage to maybe travel again, if the opportunity should arise.