I know, your probably thinking, Brooke why the hell would you travel with 3 kids all under the age of 5? Some mom's don't even like taking one child out to short trips to the grocery store or mall. ( Lol, I am guilty of the same sometimes too)....BUT many of you know that my children have practically been raised in Japan from birth due to their father playing basketball overseas. So, I have somewhat of no choice, but to learn to adapt. Let me be honest, I am actually loving it!
Traveling with them was not half as bad as I thought it would be. Sure, I had some moments where I had to give the "mommy mean mug" but for the most part they were quiet, they watched movies, and slept. I think I was more concerned about Kobe (6wks ATOT) traveling rather than Draeson (4) and Koi (2). This was my first time traveling international with a baby at 6 weeks, and me fresh from an emergency C-section recovery.
I mean, to be honest I surprised the hell out of myself being able to travel and bounce back with little to no down time from Jet-lag. There are some travel measures that I took to keep myself sane, and all of us occupied during the flight. I've put a little list together below, in the event you want to travel international too.
If you are applying as a single parent then omit the fathers information on the application. The Father would have to provide youth with a consnt letter and have it notarized. There is an actual form you have to fill out for a minors US Passport. You can download it here.
I love my baby ROMS! I use them for Kobe at his Dad basketball games to cancel out the noise, and on flights to assist with pressure that results in ear popping. As for Kobe and Koi, I bought the Kids Earplanes for them! These worked perfect, and they are small enough to comfortably ease into place in their ear. ( If you use these, be sure to read the directions before inserting to achieve best results)
My little minions need something to snack on consistently, or I will hear the "mommy I'm Hungry" followed by cranky behavior...So to avoid that, I packed sandwiches for all of us, a couple juice boxes, veggie chips, fruit snacks, and starburst because needs something to encourage them to behave-well :) I kept the sandwiches cool by using little icepacks.
Disclaimer: I would have rather taken empty kids water bottles than the juice boxes, because its easier for storage and spill proof on the plane when they hand out drinks. Take a kids water bottle, you will thank me later.
Please make sure you pack everyone an extra pair of clothes including yourself. I cannot tell you how many times my kids either threw up on me or spilled a drink on me. It was not pleasant sitting there wet.
Certain aircrafts are equipped with bassinets, these are on a first come first serve basis. Be sure to check with your airline to reserve yours. Kobe, slept comfy in his bassinet on our Air Canada flight. Check out more information by clicking this link. ( I am not affiliated with this website in any way)
The question I get asked all the time... How do you go to the bathroom on the flight? I don't, I use the bathroom before we take off and then I go when I land before going through customs. As for the children, I take them when they need to go. We all take the trip together and use that time to stretch our legs a little. It is super important to keep the blood flowing.
Customs in a foreign Country
Ok so no matter where you go, you will need to pick up your bags before going through customs. MOM'S REQUEST ASSISTNACE from the airline taking you to your final destination. It will be tough getting all those bags by yourself. Fill out your custom form on the plane before getting to the window. It will save you time.
Prior to your departure, go to your bank and exchange a couple dollars in the currency value that will be used in the country you are traveling to. This will help you in the event you need to purchase food or something small. It is important you notify your bank of your travel date, this will decrease the risk of your card being declined due to suspicios activity. I will recommend using a credit card or a bank card from a credit union than a traditional bank. I have learned my lesson with Wells Fargo, racking up over $300 in international fees from ATM withdraws which is $5 for each transaction and $0.21-$1.20 international transaction fees every-time the card is swiped. Don't be like Brooke in this case, don't use Wells Fargo.
So in summary, with 3 connecting flights from Houston to Toronto, then Toronto to Tokyo, finally to Osaka... you can imagine that a plan of action was needed every step of the way.
Overall, I must say the experience of living abroad and momming has helped me grow in more ways that I can think of. I have become more frugal, and conscious of how to spend and what to spend money on, using my time wisely, and multitasking the impossible. I am looking forward to the next two years of learning and exploring.