We live in Minnesota. Bad weather during winter months is a way of life for us. After several trips of rousing kids at 3:30 am to make a 6 or 7 am flight, we’ve found a better way.
When we are traveling with kids and have an early flight, we do Stay and Fly at a hotel by the airport. This program allows us to spend a night and leave our car parked in a secure area while we travel, for one package price. We live about 45 minutes from the airport on a clear day with no traffic. When we throw in early morning rush hour and the potential for snow and ice, an early morning flight can be a recipe for disaster.
We’ve also found that it is difficult to find volunteers with large enough vehicles to drive us to the airport that early in the morning. Five people with even a modest amount of luggage, plus a driver, will fill up most vehicles.
Of course, we could park at the airport and pay astronomical parking rates, but using hotel Stay and Fly programs works better for many reasons:
- We’re closer to the hotel in the morning. I never sleep the night before an early flight because I’m nervous we’ll oversleep. When I’m sleeping five minutes from the airport, I sleep like a baby, knowing that even if we do oversleep, we are unlikely to miss our flight.
- I have the entire day before we leave (usually while the kids are at school) to run around and make sure no lovies are left behind, pets have been dropped off, toothbrushes made it into suitcases and no faucets are dripping. Now that the kids are older and I have fewer things to worry about with them, I’ve started scheduling my carpet cleaning for that last day before we leave. The floors have an entire week to dry before kids are trampling on them again.
- Going to a hotel the eve of the trip also means I’m packed a day earlier and we have time to pick up last minute items on our way to our airport hotel.
- In the morning, when we wake up at the hotel, it is quick and easy to have the kids scan the room to make sure nothing was left behind and then send them down to breakfast while I finish getting ready and my husband delivers our bags to the shuttle driver.
- Best of all, when we land back at our home airport, all we have to do is call the hotel shuttle and have them come to pick us up. By the time we’re back at the hotel our car is warm, cleared of snow and ready to drive home.
- It feels like a jump start on our vacation. No one is running around cranky because they can’t find something, there’s no stress, there’s very little sense of urgency or responsibility. And isn’t that what traveling with kids is all about?
What are your favorite traveling tips?