Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Resourceful Traveling - On the Flight

DH and I always try to economize while traveling. One of the challenges with air travel in recent years are all the new fees and all the cost-cutting measures airlines have implemented. Meals and/or snack boxes are an additional cost on board and headphones and/or individual movie players have hefty rental fees. The biggest challenge for us is baggage which I talked about yesterday, but keeping our "extra" spending down at the airport & on the flight can also be a challenge.

We always bring empty water bottles and sippy cups through security. Once we're cleared we stop at a water fountain and fill everyone's bottle so we have something to drink on board. We bring plenty of activities and snacks as well so we're not tempted to shop at the airport convenience stores or restaurants. Once in awhile I'll treat myself to an airport latte, but the line is usually long and the cost inflated so it's a rare indulgence.

On our flight this trip the snack boxes were $6 each and the hot meal offering, pulled pork over rice, was also $6. Both were small and for DH and I, definitely not worth the money. We were on a six hour flight with all of our daughters aged 4, 3, and 11 months so we definitely needed to feed them. We also had the challenge of flying from about 4:30 to 10:30 PM PST so it was right through the dinner hour. We opted to pack a variety of snacks in large quantities instead of trying to pack a real "dinner." The girls did great with something new to snack on every hour or so. Goldfish crackers, Ritz crackers, baby carrots, cheese, pecans, and the airline provided cookies did the trick. Our older girls were also delighted to get to receive juice and in one case, a Sprite, from the flight attendant. Both beverages are rare treats at our home. Our arrival in Hawaii was planned for 7:30 local time so we thought we'd get $1 hamburgers or chicken nuggets as soon as we left the airport. This would have the added benefit of helping the girls acclimate to Hawaii time. Things didn't go as planned though and the girls fell right to sleep when we got in the car so we skipped the fast food and got them to bed.

The entertainment on our flight was offered in the form of individual media players at a cost of $12 each. My seatmates ordered one and said it had seven movies available and a few TV shows. They were able to get an extra set of headphones at no charge and enjoyed two movies together during the flight. DH and I knew we didn't have $12 to spend on entertainment so we skipped this one, too. Instead we brought along several toys for the girls that were quiet and time-consuming. DH and I handled most of these activities while I sat across the aisle with a very tired baby on my lap who refused to sleep. A big thank you to DH who patiently supervised a learning time with Eve where she practiced letters on her small Magna Doodle and Naomi busied herself with magnetic paper dolls. We also brought along rarely seen coloring books and a box of crayons that is easily shared. Thanks to Grandma Janet for this great box that holds 16 crayons that snap into place. The box splits right down the middle so it's easy for the girls to share and the crayons don't go rolling all over the place. We had some small books, puppets, flashcards and a few baby toys. Many trips to the bathroom and a forced quiet rest helped pass time, too.

I will be honest though and admit it was a long flight. When the captain announced we were halfway there I was so disappointed! Only half-way. But we survived and only left one item on the plane which we were able to retrieve - phew!


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