Family Travel: Orange County, California- Part 1 PREP

Since our trip to New York was successful, we booked a flight to Orange County.  We kind of had to, because Grandma was turning  95 this year and she really wanted to see the kids.  The last time we were in California was when the twins were 12 months old.  So three years ago.  We picked February because it was close to grandmas birthday and it was Chinese New Year.  I wanted the children to experience the Chinese festivities.

Traveling with a family of 5 kids and 2 adults can be stressful…who am I kidding??? It is fricken stressful!! It is worse than everyday stress

Why? My main reasons were:

1. I am afraid of losing one of my children in a foreign country.

2. I am afraid someone will get hurt or sick.

3. I am afraid we will piss someone off on the plane… seat kicking is the worst.  Puking is right up there.  Ear pain is also bad.

4. Losing money or belongings.

5. Having one or more uncontrollable child(ren).

Aside from being out of your comfort zone, it is almost like you are in a war zone without weapons.

Prepare yourself with extra time, gum, suckers, snacks, coloring tools, movies, and bribery gifts.  Yup.  You heard me… bribery gifts.

Each of my children had their own little pack sack with markers, candy, chips, ipad, headphone, little toys, paper, and I had bribery gifts…. money… shopkins, favorite chocolate, favorite candy and finger puppets.


The day before the flight we drove from Toronto to Windsor.  Only because the flight was cheaper from Detroit to OC.  A savings of 150-200 per person multiplied by 7.  That is a lot.  Also, my sister lives in Windsor and I wanted to stop by her house.

The cost of gas from Toronto to Windsor was basically half a tank of gas.  For my Yukon, that was $50.

We had to get a hotel close to the airport because our flight was at 6am.  We opted for a ParknRide

It included 8 days of parking, plus an addition $9 per day over that.  That was around $230.

We checked into a hotel near the airport with park and fly.  Airport parking could get expensive.  Plus our flight was at 6 am.  Getting kids up with all of our lugguage and the thought of going through security was stressful.

However, with some late night prep work, it all ran smoothly.


1. Nice bath before bed immediately after dinner.

2.  Dress all the children in comfy clothes that they can sleep and wake in.

3. Line up all shoes and socks.

Put everything in luggage except what you need.  For example my mom needed our make up and all toothbrushes.  We had one luggage we were checking that held all those extra supplies.

4.  Have a bag with your snacks and beverages for breakfast.  We had granola bars, fruit and water.

5.  Sound machine.  Drown out all unnessary sounds so everyone can sleep.

Once everyone is sleeping, make sure you have everything fully organized so that first thing in the morning you are up and out.

I had to park the car across the street and get a shuttle back.  I made sure I got all of the passports, agendas, car seats and any other miscellaneous things we would need.

Once I completed that, I showered, and off to sleep myself.

Crucial travel tips… Sleep, Eat, and be prepared.  It is stressful enough.

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