Traveling with the triplets has always been a challenge. When the kids were first born, we had an SUV and a pickup truck. We could fit three car seats across the back seat of the SUV, barely, but not the pickup, even though it was a quad-cab (had four doors and a full back seat). When we would take the kids anywhere, I would usually carry two and Gretch would carry one. I would have to put one child down, on the ground (in their carrier), while I seated the other carrier in the base, then I could pick up the other and put them in. This was all well and good when the weather was nice. Once the weather turned to cold and rain (or snow), I realized we were in trouble. Add to this the fact that we had to take two cars if someone wanted to come with us. I knew we had to make a change.
So we purchased a minivan. One with “fold flat” seats. This allowed us to have a staging area of sorts. An area inside the van were we could put the car seats down while we placed the others in their bases, protected from the weather. The van also gave us an extra seat when we needed it, which was greatly appreciated by my mother, who would often join us on our trips to the pediatrician, eye doctor, and anywhere else we took the kids.
Another challenge was finding a place for the trips to sleep when we were not at home. For the first year or so the kids slept in pack n’ plays whenever we would travel. While they are somewhat compact, convenient, and safe for the kids, those suckers are heavy! After we realized that the kids would soon be able to get out of the pack & plays and/or tip them over, we decided we needed something else. Gretchen did some research and found the Peapod Plus, by Kidco, Inc.
These things are awesome. They’re just the right size, fold up nicely and come with an inflatable mattress. In my opinion, the “blue camo” version is the best because it comes with a self-inflating mattress. While the mattress is not really self-inflating, as the name implies, it does last longer than the conventional mattress, and is much easier to inflate. The conventional mattress comes with a hand pump, which works fine, but is rather tiring, especially when you have three mattresses to inflate. The conventional mattress is also, in my experience, more prone to leaks.
Another challenge we encountered is entertainment. While keeping the trips busy is easy on short trips, entertaining three toddlers on a two day drive across four states can drive anyone insane. Since my sanity was already in question, I was not looking forward to the drive. The first thing I did was have the factory DVD entertainment system installed in my van. The van did not have this option when we bought it, but the dealership was more than willing to install it after the fact, since they could get more money out of us that way. The kids were really into Elmo at that time, so they watched several Elmo and Sesame Street DVDs. I could barely stand to hear Elmo’s voice again when we got back, but it was better than listening to three screaming children.
Gretchen also packed up some “travel kits” for the kids, which contained a few small toys, and a Crayola Color Wonder Stow & Go Studio for each of the kids. These are mess free coloring kits that have places to keep markers and tablets or paper, and a hard surface for them to color on. Since the Color Wonder markers only work on the Color Wonder paper, we didn’t have to worry about them drawing on themselves, their siblings, or the interior of the van.
While traveling with the triplets has been difficult at times, we’ve found ways to make it easier. From sleeping arrangements to entertainment there are many challenges. I’ve always been a proponent of finding the right tool for the job, and with regards to the kids and travel, there is definitely a right way and a wrong way to do things. The trick is finding the tools and methods that work for you and your kids.
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with nor have I been compensated by the companies featured in this post to provide my opinion on their products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely mine. I am merely relating my experience with these products. There is no scientific data to back up my claims.