May 24, 2008

Have Food, Will Travel

When planning a cross country trip, food might be the single most aggravating item to pack... At least in my case. Mostly because I have children who don't understand when I say "Suck it up. We'll eat when we get there." I'm sure that plan would work fabulously for a 12 year old. But 2 year olds don't like when you tell them no. And since I'm a big fan of not having tantrums in the airport, or on the airplane, I had to have a snack plan.

First let's discuss candy. Chocolates are out. Too messy and melty. And I know M&M's say melt in your mouth, not in your hand, but I think they must be referencing adults, not sticky drooly babies. (Though M&M's could be very delightful when mixed with the pretzels and peanuts airlines like to hand out.) Also out, lollipops, too sticky, Nerds, too tiny, very good chance of mass spillage. No, the best candy for traveling with little people are Sweetart's, Necco's, and Bottle Caps. You can also do jelly beans, but only if you go to a candy store and purchase the ones that are tasty. Because nobody likes the nasty jelly beans and the ones that you get for a dollar at Walgreen's are mostly nasty.

Sweetart's are perfect for the security line. there's virtually no mess, and they're big enough for a small fist to hold, yet small enough that the entire candy fits in the mouth in one bite. They also last long enough that you're not doling them out every 3.8 seconds. Yes, Sweetart's are the candy of choice. (Jelly beans are too sticky at this point, and if you bought the bag at Walgreen's, then you also have to deal with those little people spitting out gummy blobs of nastiness all over the airport. Therefore, just stick with the Sweetart's)

Of course, traveling for over 8 hours will require more than just candy. You'll need to have something most substantial to keep those tiny tummies happy. In which case, we'll now move on to the granola portion of travelling. Granola bars are almost as tricky as candy. You can't expect a small child to eat a crunchy granola bar without making a mess. No, the crunchy granola bars are too crumbly for those little people. Also out are the soft cereal-type bars. You know the ones, I mean, the fruit filled bars that normally would be great, but since they'll be hanging out in a backpack, they get all smashed and broken and you know that kids can't eat broken bars of anything.... how dare you suggest it. The way to go is with the classic granola bar. It has the perfect amount of stickiness, which is this: sticky enough that the bar stays together despite being squooshed and smooshed, but unsticky enough that small hands won't become glued together.

Of course, you can't expect people to survive on granola bars and Sweetart's. You need to have some semblance of real food. (Unless of course, you plan on buying everyone one of those handy airplane meals.... of course, at $7.00 a sandwich, well, that's up to you I suppose) Anyways, at some point, you will need actual food and fruit is the best answer to this. Not a banana, too squishy. And oranges and anything else that requires peeling is not feasible. I think apples and pears are the best bet here. But make sure to put them in a baggie so that when people have eaten everything, you'll have a place to stash the core. Then you can had it to the stewardess, excuse me, flight attendant, without them getting all grossed out.

Thank you for flying Bingham Airways today. On deck is the liquid portion of our traveling tips.