Sunday, July 04, 2010

How not to travel with children

As I referred to in an earlier post, we missed our flight to the US when we went a few weeks ago. Throughout that day I thought about the fact that there must be thousands of sites out there which will offer advice on travelling with children (things like "Do bring an extra set of clothes" or "Do plan for delays and bring plenty of things to entertain your child with" are tips that these sites likely offer). Here, then, I present to you my list of "don't's" when travelling with little ones, or my tips on how not to travel with children:

- Don't decide at 10:00 pm on the night before your departure what time you need to leave in the'll be too tired to make reasonable decisions and will thus get the time wrong.

- Don't leave packing until the morning you need to leave - kind of obvious, huh?

- Related, don't have a bachelor window salesman come to your house at 7:00 p.m. the night before your departure, thus eating into valuable time that could be guessed it, packing!

- Don't rely on your normal "alarm clock" to get you up. He will choose that very morning to sleep an extra 45 minutes beyond his normal wake-up time.

- Don't leave the house without a basic application of makeup. There are going to be stressful parts of the trip, and knowing that you don't look your best will just depress you more.

- Don't forget the baby. [we didn't do this, although we often had to say to ourselves, "Let's make sure we have Noah."]

- Don't, 20 minutes into the car ride to the airport, make this comment: "I've never felt so rested before a long-haul flight." You dummy, the reason you're not a zombie is that you went to bed instead of packing, and then overslept!

- Don't expect to get lucky with traffic. You are exhausted and have a plane to catch - luck is not going to be on your side.

- When you do get stuck in an unmoving queue of traffic, don't be the car directly in front of a police car who is also stuck in the traffic. It makes doing a U-turn (which could save you precious minutes) difficult.

- Don't pay the American Airlines ticket change fee with a British Airways credit card. It just seems wrong.

- Don't feel guilty about how much time you spend in the toy store in the departure area. Your spending an hour and testing out nearly every single toy will average out fine against those relatives who briefly pop in to buy a stuffed animal for son/daughter/grandson, etc during a trip.

- Remember your baggage restrictions and don't board a flight carrying emotional baggage from a previous flight where your felt your parenting skills were criticized and the flight attendant team unhelpful.

- If you must board with said emotional baggage, don't pick a fight in the "friendly skies" with a flight attendant, especially if she is well-meaning. You will lose; it's a bit like going to a bully's home playground and asking him for a rumble. After you realize the error of your ways, you will therefore have to eat humble pie for the rest of the flight. We all know airline food is not the greatest, and humble pie at 30,000 feet tastes pretty awful.

- Most importantly, even if the start of the trip doesn't go exactly to plan, once you get to your destination, don't dwell on what went wrong. Write the blog post on a scrap piece of paper, and move on and enjoy your vacation. You got there in the end and you can still have a wonderful time.

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