The other day a friend told me that I definitely paint a pretty picture of family travel but that it truly can’t be as full of singing birds and perfect sunny days as I make it seem. I hadn’t really thought of it that way. I guess I want to share the happy side of traveling with your kids because we are such advocates of it. I am always honest but usually if we have an awful experience, I just choose not to write about it. I try to be an optimistic person in my every day life so naturally that is going to come out in my blog. That being said I realize that I have left out a major part of traveling with kids…the mishaps and disasters! I give you my (and my husband’s favorite) traveling with kids mishaps and disasters (in no particular order of miserable-ness!)!!
- I am pretty sure that if I googled “screaming toddler in a puffy pink jacket” that I will find a video of me trying to jam my temper tantrum throwing, screaming, flailing, red-faced two year old into a backpack stroller in front of a hundred laughing tourists (all of whom were taping the entire process with cell phones or video cameras) on the Hofburg Palace grounds in Vienna, Austria. I eventually got her strapped in and we were able to run in the opposite direction but those ten minutes truly haunt me everytime she starts to act up in public. This probably falls into the top ten embarrassing moments of my whole life…well, most of these probably fall into that category. If you have seen the video, please email me the link…on second thought, never mind.
- In the summer of 2008, we flew to Colorado, rented a car and in the time span of one week drove from Denver, Colorado to Casper, WY and then to Jackson Hole, WY through Yellowstone to Cody, WY, back to Casper and then to Denver to fly home. It was this trip where we learned that a minivan is a must when we travel. We only have two children so we were trying to save money by renting a compact. Our children saw nothing but the inside of the car for the entire trip because they couldn’t see out the windows. I think my daughter cried the entire week we were there and my son had me take pictures out the window and show him the camera screen so he could see what he was missing. And to top it all off, I had stopped to buy a bottle of wine halfway through the exhausting trip only to have the thing shatter into a million pieces on the front step of the store. That was my breaking point and I cried. Some kind woman handed me a wet one from her perfectly behaved child’s stroller to mop up my tears and the blood from my fingers.
- When my son was two (I am sensing a two year old theme here) I took a red eye flight leaving California around 8 at night and arriving in Atlanta, Georgia at 4:30am with a connecting flight to Pensacola, FL at 6:30. You might ask why I remember these details so vividly. This goes down as the worst. flight. of. my. life (next only to the one where Little S screamed the entire time because of a busted ear drum). Big S had a night terror thirty minutes after taking off. He screamed at the top of his lungs for two hours (if you have ever seen a child experience a night terror, you know what I mean…yikes!) and sobbed for the rest of the flight while I took turns taking up space in the bathroom and standing in the galley. Thank goodness for amazing and sympathetic flight attendants.
- While we were in Amsterdam, we had just arrived by train from Brussels. We hurried out of the station to grab the GVB tram (the local public transportation) that we thought was correct. The doors closed on our stroller so while my husband and I were inside the tram, my son was on the outside. I had a moment of panic before someone got the driver’s attention so he could stop the tram and open the doors so we could get the stroller inside. After all this, we found out we weren’t even going in the right direction.
- When my son was 10 months old we attended a family vacation on my husband’s side at Disneyworld. Big S got incredibly sick with explosive diapers while we were at the Animal Kingdom. By 10 in the morning, we had gone through all of the changes of clothes and every single diaper in the diaper bag. On the Disney bus back to the hotel no one would sit near me (including my family) because I was covered in poop and vomit holding a baby that was covered in poop and vomit. Everytime I see a picture of the T-Rex near the dinosaur ride I think about those miserable diaper changes.
- During a layover in Atlanta my son knocked a brand new 32 ounce soda over. Unfortunately the soda was sitting on the ground at the top of one of the many ramps that are found in the airport so instead of creating a small pool that would have made cleanup easy, the soda rolled about 12 feet down the ramp spreading all over and then pooled.
So there you have it…some of our favorite disasters! There have been many more and I will continue to share them. These mishaps could have kept us from our next vacation but we wouldn’t have as many great stories to tell!
What is your favorite family travel disaster moment? Do share!