Traveling with small children is no small feet. I was once told that it required “Pentagon Style Training”. True fact. You can make a list the length of a toilet paper role. YOU WILL STILL FORGET SOMETHING! But it is not impossible. I swear the big stressor is all the damn advice that you get from anyone that hears you are taking the kids somewhere. Personally, after the first small trip that was just several hours away and getting “advice” was enough for me to stop telling people at all.
So since I hated people giving me advice, I won’t give you advice, just a list of things that worked well for me. Pick and choose what you like or breeze on by!
- Aim for a list but be real. Start with the important stuff. The sucky blankets, the breast milk, etc. Anything else that you forget you can most likely buy. Find out what they have where you are going as traveling with kids is hard enough so the less you have to pack the better!
- Get real. And this is where I will get a shit tonne of slack. Travel smart. Stressed out kids and parents is not fun. If you know that you have a kid, or kids that do not travel well, what is wrong with giving them a dose of Gravol before driving. The only harm is if you are giving it to a child too young, which of course makes you a crappy parent. Most young children will not tell you why they are miserable until that moment when that light bulb shines brightly over your head and you go “shit, here comes the barf!”. Who has not gotten car sick! Kids are excited to go to a new place but are hoping for a time machine. Keep in mind that they can’t see the horizon either which helps us not feel sick to our stomachs.
- Our parents will tell you that we were lucky to have coloring books and crayons and we were fine. Bull shit. They forget that we didn’t have to wear 5 point harnessed seats that don’t let a kid move much and that we were allowed to climb around the car and if you were that really cool family, you got to sit back wards and spend hours flipping the bird or making fun of the person behind you. Sure, now our kids have tv’s and laptops-which might work–for OLDER kids. For the younger ones, your lucky, and I mean lucky to get them to agree on 1 movie and watch it the whole time. So if you have to, recline the seats. Start the car in the middle of the night, and put them in while the car in comfy and warm. Bring a change of clothes for when you get to your destination so that you can change them to stop to eat-or better yet, DRIVE-Thru! We have lived off coffee for months or years now, isn’t a peaceful ride worth it! Or have one of you sleep and switch of when you get there.
- Plane travel. Now this is an even bigger pain in the ass then car travel, especially if you have to deal with border crossing so you are 2 hours ahead of the actual departure time. If your kid is a bit older. Practice plan travel. As dumb as this sounds, we set up chairs to look like a few rows and did practice sessions. We explained the take off and turbulence. If they know what to expect, there are more likely to not be freaked. If you are a shitty flyer-take your meds but put a smile on your face and go for an Emmy. If they are too young for that one, take a page from the people that have to fly regularly with kids in the North. They commonly medicated the kids! Again-if they are of age! And no this does not mean give them 5 different kinds-don’t be an asshole parent. Believe it or not, doctors have kids too and will tell you what you can give.
Most importantly! If you do get unsolicited advice. Be nice once, as in “Thank you, I will think about it”. Second time they try pull the “stinky diaper, I am late, it’s nap time” whatever you can and walk away. Unless this person provides free babysitting, don’t feel bad wasting your time to listen to 30 minutes of crap you know is crap!