Before you hear aboutthe family travel advice I ignored, here’s a little about me: As an American living in the UK, with family spread out in both directions from the US to Thailand, I consider myself to be a pretty seasoned traveller. Couple that with having worked with kids most of my life and having two of my own that I’ve done a fair bit of travelling with, and I should have travelling with kids down pat, right?
Even though I’d done so much travelling with my own kids, on LONG journeys by boat, plane, train, fernicular, ski lift, elephant, rocket (ok I made that last one up, but it feels like it sometimes), and advised my friends as to how to cope, I was still liable to think I had everything under control and make mistakes.
The Family Travel Advice I Ignored: Always Have Spare Clothes
One bit of travelling advice my hubby and I had stuck to since having kids was to always have spare clothes for everyone, including us, readily available at all times. This tip was proven invaluable after our then nearly two-year old had a puke fest on my hubby during take-off on a flight that was just the beginning of a multi-leg trip including two trains, a fernicular and two cable cars to get us up to a remote mountain top Swiss village for some skiing.
However, two years later, prepping for a comparatively small transatlantic flight to visit my family in the US last Christmas, facing an already bulging carry on with snacks, games, activity books, allowable liquids, etc, I gave that advice a little shove to the back of my mind. My husband had packed a spare set of his clothes, it was just one direct flight, how bad could it be? If it got really bad I could always use his clothes.
The Family Travel Advice I Ignored: Smooth Beginnings
Fast forward to the end of the flight. We’d had a smooth arrival to the airport, got right through security with no one melting down, including me, and our girls had been thrilled to bits with their new activities and loved the novelty of being on a plane again. We were almost ready to land and it came to crunch time when everyone takes that last chance to pee rather than risking getting stuck in a holding pattern for hours and not being able to use the toilet. My hubby took our now nearly 4 year old (the one who’d caused the puke fest two years previously) and I took our 2 year old with me for one last trip to the tiny claustrophobic room aka the plane toilet.
The Family Travel Advice I Ignored: When that moment comes…
My daughter went no problem (awesome! Go mom, you’re nailing this flying with kids stuff!), then it was my turn. As I was sitting there, my jeans down by my ankles, my 2 year old with her hands resting on my knees in that miniscule space, with no warning, she puked. “Poor kid!” was my first thought, she looked so sad. The floor was a mess but somehow my shoes had been missed and as I went to pull up my jeans I noticed where the bulk of the puke had gone. Yep: right in the crotch of my jeans and underwear. You’ve got.to.be.kidding.me!
We were lucky enough to have seats 3 rows from the toilets but even still, with the foldaway door I couldn’t exactly peek my head around and shout for my hubby without letting everyone waiting for the toilet get a good look at me, and besides, he was still on the other end of the plane with our eldest. So that meant there was only one, excruciatingly soggy, option. Up went my jeans, as I shuddered and tried to ignore the squelch. I did my best to mop up the mess on the floor with the flimsy tissues available in the toilet and muttered apologies to the people waiting in line behind us and any staff I passed.
The Family Travel Advice I Ignored: The Long Walk…
When we got back to our seats luckily my husband had just arrived back. I told him that our youngest had puked on my jeans and could I wear his spares. He glanced at mine and announced that they looked really clean. “It’s on the inside”, I grimaced through gritted teeth and his eyes widened.
I waddled back, cowboy style to the other toilet, armed with baby wipes and tried to clean myself up as best I could. Having clean jeans felt miraculous, even though it meant I was walking through customs looking like CrissCross with my way too saggy boyfriend jeans.
The Family Travel Advice I Ignored: Lessons Learned…
At the end of the day, I survived, like we all do when our kids throw something completely unexpected and gross at us, in some cases literally. But from now on that one piece of travel advice will stick with me for good.
So when packing for your next family adventure, please: take my advice and pack a spare set of clothes for everyone!
Meet the Jessie from “Monkey Music Highbury and Islington“:
Jessie is a mum of two who also runs Monkey Music classes for babies and pre-schoolers in the Highbury and Islington area. She is passionate about the lifelong affect that music has on little ones and the importance of exposing them to a rich musical environment from the very beginning. She also loves seeing parents in her classes make new friends and share laughs as we all go through parenthood together. To find out more go to: http://www.monkeymusic.co.uk/