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Mommy Moments: A vacation or a trip?

Annie
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McQueen family

Traveling with three kids can feel more like hard work than a relaxing vacation. Parents Annie and Tyler McQueen took their 3-year-old twins Cash and Lila and 6-month-old baby Georgia to Florida this summer. 

With over 200 pounds of luggage, my husband Tyler and I pushed not one but two strollers through the doors of Hobby Airport. We took our three kids to Florida for a summer vacation in late July. It was a ton of fun, but also a ton of work. We also learned a little about traveling with three under the age of three along the way.

I have always heard people say that traveling with kids is more like a trip than a vacation. We have traveled with just the twins when they were younger, but three year olds (in my opinion) are different than young 18-month-old toddlers. They have more demands, more opinions and more energy. We’ve also added one more to our crew since our last trip to Colorado last Labor Day, our 6-month-old baby girl Georgia.

We flew into Panama City, FL, rented a car and made the 30-minute drive to beautiful Rosemary Beach along Highway 30A. We took our favorite stroller (the double “BOB”) for walk on the beach etc. We were glad we did even though it was a pain in the airport. Our flight didn’t land until 9 p.m. and we had to stop on the way to pick up a few essentials (like milk, which the twins like at bedtime). It ended up taking a lot longer than we had anticipated to get the rental car, pack it up, install the car seats (such a pain!) and make the drive.

Georgia on the beach

Georgia McQueen enjoying the beach (pictured, with dad Tyler).

 

Next year, we decided that we will definitely take an earlier flight. We will also opt to take advantage of the rental company’s concierge service for grocery delivery (we rented our condo through 360Blue). Worth. Every. Penny. My advice to other moms? If there’s a service like this that can make your life easier, use it.

We made it through that first night and, slowly but surely, through each day. There were naptimes to follow, snacks to pack and tantrums to control. It didn’t feel as relaxing as trips in past years. For example, my husband and I love to walk around and explore and grab coffee while on vacation. We walk slow, take in the sights around us and talk.

This time, it consisted of dividing and conquering. He’d take our older daughter, Lila, on the coffee run and I’d stay behind with the other two kids. We hardly got to have those nice coffee strolls (except we did hire a babysitter through a local babysitting agency for a date night/mental break. I am so glad we did that and would highly recommend it).

Lila McQueen with suitcases

Vacation for five family members (including toddlers and a 6-month-old) means a lot of luggage.

 

We packed the right beach gear, maybe even too much. I ordered a beach tent on Amazon and some rash guard tops for all three kids. They were covered head-to-toe each day with sunscreen too. That part was pretty simple. Just have snacks, water and sunscreen. One great tip another mom had given me was to bring baby powder to the beach to help get the sand off their hands when they want a snack. It was definitely helpful.

Packing the car up and cleaning up the condo at the end of the week-long stay was challenging, too. Take two tired parents, three amped kids, one messy condo and it can make for a not-so-fun last day of travel. The cherry on top was the two-hour flight. But we did it, and checked out on time.

The important question I asked myself (even during the trip) was: “Is this difficult travel all worth it?”

I then immediately ask myself: What’s better? Entertaining my three kids in Houston or while in Florida? I’d say absolutely yes. Yes, it is. 

  • Georgia McQueen with pilots

    Southwest Airlines pilots carried baby Georgia McQueen on the plane. "They were all waiting behind me and said, 'can we help you?'" said mom Annie, laughing. 

     

  • Beach tent

    The McQueens packed tons of baby gear for the hot July weather, including this beach tent which offered shade for naps. 

     

  • Cash McQueen

    Cash McQueen having a fun day on the beach.

     

  • McQueen family

    Annie and Tyler McQueen with daughters Georgia and Lila.

     

  • Ice cream time

    Toddlers Cash and Lila McQueen taking a break from the beach to enjoy a sweet treat with mom Annie and baby sister Georgia.

     

  • Georgia McQueen with pilots
  • Beach tent
  • Cash McQueen
  • McQueen family
  • Ice cream time

More photos

Georgia McQueen with pilots

Southwest Airlines pilots carried baby Georgia McQueen on the plane. "They were all waiting behind me and said, 'can we help you?'" said mom Annie, laughing. 

 

Beach tent

The McQueens packed tons of baby gear for the hot July weather, including this beach tent which offered shade for naps. 

 

Cash McQueen

Cash McQueen having a fun day on the beach.

 

McQueen family

Annie and Tyler McQueen with daughters Georgia and Lila.

 

Ice cream time

Toddlers Cash and Lila McQueen taking a break from the beach to enjoy a sweet treat with mom Annie and baby sister Georgia.

 

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