In a few weeks I will be heading back East with my husband and my two older kids. Still afraid to fly with the twins; it’s a goal for 2013. Even without the babies, I still get a bit nervous about flying across the country with my 8 and 6 year old in fear that they will all of a sudden get bored, start monkeying around, irritate the folks around us, and we will have to make an emergency landing in Des Moines, Iowa to drop their rowdy keisters off. Ya, that’s right, I said, “keisters”.

In addition to planning our wardrobe and itinerary, I also have to put into consideration how I’m going to keep these little guys entertained. I have to tell you, a lot of thinking went into this plan.

A.) Find the most direct flight as possible, or one that has the shortest lay over.

B.) Fly during the day- even though I would love to catch a Red-Eye to have more hours in my trip, the reality is that my daughter is quite cranky if she doesn’t get her beauty rest. I would rather wake her up early for an all day flight vs. picking her up from school and heading to the airport. This way I know she will get at least 8 hours in a bed well rested.

C.) Find an airline that provides the most amenities with the least amount of cost.

D.) Fill up a bag for each kid with plenty to keep them busy.

Given our route- fly into Washington, DC and out of New York City- the best option from Vegas to DC was through Southwest Airlines. I’m OK with that because the last trip we took to Orlando, Florida, we flew on the new Boeing 737-800. Though a bit of a squeeze and some adjustment, they have that “new plane smell” and are quite ergonomic. We will only have one stop with enough time to transfer to our next flight into Washington, DC. My only hope is that this time the WiFi is in affect.

tips for traveling with kids

Our flight home will be on JetBlue, which I am super excited about. It is a direct flight from New York to Las Vegas. We even, ahem, upgraded to the Even More class which will provide us with Early Boarding, Early Access to Overhead and More Leg Room in our seats. The best part? My kids will be fully entertained with the 36 channels of DirectTV, complimentary drinks and “blue” snacks. Mommy loves the in-flight WiFi and the First Bag Flies Free amenities.

Both Southwest and JetBlue offered the best flights at the best prices for the times we needed to travel. I also trust Southwest as an efficient and effective airlines. JetBlue I have only flown once, and enjoyed, but my decision most recently comes from the opinions of my friends and trusted fellow travelers.

Now for the in-flight entertainment:

Step 1: This I know from being a mother of 4- always pack a bag of new items. The new items are interesting and consume some time to explore, figure out, have fun with. I have hit up the Target $1 bin a few times in the last few weeks scouring the bins for travel games, airplane friendly crafts and coloring/activity books. Success! Found great gadgets and will keep them hidden until we get on the plane and they open their bag of tricks!

Step 2: Download new movies, games and apps to their iTouch, iPad or similar device. Of course, something they have been waiting to see or to come out on DVD always makes you Mother of the Year when they discover you have uploaded it for them.

Step 3: Keeping it organized. I don’t know about you, but it drives me absolutely batty when my daughter packs her own bag full of trinkets and toys to travel with. Organization is a key ingredient to a successful trip. I can’t stand the thought of having to dig blindly through my kids’ backpacks to try and find something I strategically placed in there so they wouldn’t have to dig and find. This is where I have been now introduced to the Lay n’Go. It looks so amazing, I may want one for myself! Not only does it create a space for your child to play, but it also takes the dreaded “clean up” time away, too. Just place in the bag, unfold the bag to play, then cinch the bag back up! It just sounds to simple to not have one.

Target Dollar Bin

After hitting up the Dollar Bin at Target and ransacking through to find the items most acceptable for a 6-hour plane flight, I was left with a plethora of goodies that more than likely to end up on the bottom of a back pack. In close quarters, it’s not easy to dig mid-flight for said items. Here is where the Lay n’Go comes in handy. I am sure, or hoping at least, that like most six year olds, my daughter is a hoarder. She collects and saves and fills bags like no other. I’m always surprised at the amount of stuff she has to fill in the numerous bags she continues to find in her bedroom. So, when I was asked to review this product to help not only with travel sanity- I figured it wouldn’t hurt to keep in mind for every day room organization as well.

I have to admit I was a bit pessimistic the contents I had in mind were going to fit the Lay n’Go Lite that was sent to me, but I’m an overachiever so I tried anyway. Lo and behold…it worked!

lay n go

I love that I can put these items in one place, cinch it up, throw it in her back pack and confidently say we will find it first time out. I also love the little pockets on the inside and outside to hold tinier pieces, like crayons, jewelry beads, doll accessories, etc., since I know this Lay n’Go Lite will be used for other items when we get back. In fact, I was so impressed, I ordred an additional one for my son to keep his items like this in his own travel bag.

Super excited to mention that this Lay n’Go comes in several sizes- perfect for legos, building blocks, dolls, tea parties…whatever! Just lay out the mat, place and play with the items on top of the mat, then when all done, cinch and go! Kind of a cool little concept. There is also ones for moms that looks great for traveling with your make-up and brushes! LOVE that idea!

The Lay n’Go is such a cool little gadget, I want to share it with you! Perfect time for Holiday travel, this 18″ play mat that cinches up into a carry sack, is sure to keep your trinkets organized. That’s the last thing you need is to have to find the distraction mechinisms. Enter the RaffleCopter below to win your Lay n’Go Lite. You can also enter a chance to win in their FaceBook sweepstakes going on now! (It ends December 15th and is worth over $200.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck, safe travels and Happy Holidays!

I was provided the Lay n’Go Lite in pink in order to review the product for my site. All thoughts and opinions are my own.