Summer is travel time! Time for that long awaited vacation! Now that my kids are both grown, 24 and 26, it is still amazing to me how simple it is to throw a few things in a bag and take off with my husband for a week. We just did a weekend away to the mountains for some biking and we were reminiscing about some of our least fond moments of traveling with babies and toddlers.
To share a few with you:
Assumption 1: Let’s travel at night while they sleep! My husband reminded me of this one. What a great way to avoid a miserable child strapped in a car seat! Drive at night with a sleeping child and a five hour car trip isn’t so bad! WRONG! A five hour car trip can turn into a nine hour car trip because of night time road work! Car stops moving, baby wakes up, Mom and Dad are both tired and miserable as we all just sit!
Assumption 2: Let’s take advantage of a lay-over and do some sight-seeing in Amsterdam! We lived overseas and so a summer trip home to the US involved time changes and lay-overs in interesting cities. Before kids, we would book flights that would allow us to do some sight-seeing along the way. We assumed having a baby along wouldn’t change things that much. WRONG! Other people on small sight-seeing boat tours do NOT appreciate an inconsolable screaming child. Disposable diapers are NOT necessarily easily available for purchase at local markets. Babies’ internal clocks do NOT understand changing time zones! (We tried to have dinner at the airport hotel and Leigh ended up with glass in her mouth as she bit instead of sipped water from a water goblet- no kid friendly glasses available!)
Assumption 3: Airports are full of friendly people willing to help a mom traveling alone with small children! One mother (me), one baby in a front carrier, one toddler in a stroller, one backpack, one travel bag —- lots of steps, no elevator, no escalator, no airport personnel, no other travelers. I must have arrived in the wee hours of the morning —— because there was NO ONE there to ask for help. No point in having a meltdown —- which I really wanted to do! I just had to figure it out! And I did!
Then there was sitting on the tarmac for hours in a pressurized airplane cabin with a screaming baby (her ears hurt!) and the European airline hostess demanding that we drug her (we didn’t) . . . sitting in between my husband’s male boss and another unknown male for an 8 hour plane ride with a breastfeeding baby (not awkward for me —- but it sure was for them!) . . . and the stories could go on!
But you know what? We survived all of the trips and my children were not permanently scarred. There was always a sense of accomplishment at the end of the travel time that we had made it, family intact, with lots of stories to tell. I learned that the bath tub in a hotel room with make-shift tub toys was the equivalent of a day at the water park for a toddler! For every grumpy face encountered while traveling, there were many more who smiled brightly at the sight of a little one.
Taking a trip soon? Be smart and get some online practical travel tips from other moms with small children. There are LOTS of fabulous ideas out there on the internet.
Already had a trip? Share helpful hints you learned (or maybe a horror story!) by responding to this blog!
And by the way, kids DO grow up, and you eventually get back to the idea of taking a vacation to relax!
by Nancy Osborne, BRC Office Manager