We have just completed our first travel via airplane as a family and survived to post about it! All in all our journey from Las Vegas to Mexico flying Volaris airlines went pretty smoothly. However, there were a few moments of panic when we wondered what we were doing lugging three young children and all of our worldly possessions through crowded airports.
When shouldering the weight of our collective baggage we definitely missed the Mazda5, which we are saddened to report stayed behind in Las Vegas. The Mazda5 was a true gem of a vehicle and brought us safely over many, many miles of varied terrain. However, when we arrived in Mexico City during rush hour traffic we were reminded of the benefits of public transportation. Five String, our esteemed driver for the past two years, had a huge smile on his face as he relaxed in the back of the taxi instead of behind the steering wheel.
The things that worked really well for us during our two flights (Las Vegas to Mexico City and Mexico City to Tuxtla Gutiérrez) were bringing our own snacks and water onto the plane. We traded in our Kleen Kanteens for Vapur water bottles, which are completely collapsible. This way we could tuck them in our pockets and once we were through security fill them up before boarding the plane. Since planes are so dehydrating, we were really glad to have had full water bottles with us.
We also found that wearing the kids out before the flight helped them stay calm and in their seats while in the air. In fact all three kids napped during both flights, which was awesome. Before take-off we let them run, jump, and take as many escalator rides as they wanted. Planning our flight times close to their usual quite time or rest period also helped.
Things that we wished we had done differently and that we will work on before our next flight include not having a good mental map of the Mexico City airport. It was large and confusing and we could have saved ourselves a little stress by studying the map online ahead of time. We also realized that if possible direct flights are totally worth the extra money when traveling with kids. By the time we completed the first leg of the trip, took the shuttle to the hotel, figured out vegan meals while at the hotel, packed everyone back up, took the shuttle back to the airport, caught our next flight, and finally took a taxi to our new rental house in San Cristóbal de las Casas we were completely exhausted. Paying for a hotel for the night, feeding everyone, and going through the process of checking bags and going through security twice adds up and makes a direct flight look really appealing, even if it is more expensive.
So, for now we will continue to process what we learned so far from flying as a family. We have about five months in Mexico before we fly to Italy (direct flight this time). During this time we will definitely be lightening our load, slimming down our carry-on baggage, and coming up with ways to prepare the Younger Fives for 11 hours in the air. If anyone has tips or advice to share, please send it our way 🙂