Given how much we travel with our kids, and the blog posts which follow our trips, it may appear that we are master jet-setters and have it all figured out. I can assure you that we don’t. While we have figured out a lot, having traveled by plane with one or both kids ten times in the past year and a half, there is no perfect, relaxing travel day with kids.
Travel days tend to always be a little chaotic, and they’re definitely tiring for everyone involved. We do work to book flights during the girls waking hours, as opposed to early morning, late night, or red-eye flights, so we’re not dealing with overtired children refusing to sleep (been there! It’s terrible.) But we have had to wake up at 5am on more than one occasion to catch an early flight, which means we’re waking the girls up at 5:30am so we can hop in a taxi by 5:45am. The girls are certainly seasoned travelers now. Prim has been on 19 flights in a year and a half (more if you decide to count layovers), and Lark has been on 14 flights in less than 10 months. Lark actually didn’t travel until she was 3 months old, so really she’s averaging a little over 2 flights a month, if you figure she’s been on 14 flights in less than 7 months.
Prim has visited cities in eight countries, Lark has visited cities in seven. By the time we move back to the states they will have added at least four more countries to that list (and probably more like six or seven since we’re trying to book travel for three to four countries in June right now).
And yes, I would say we have our sh** together travel-wise. I can pack a single bag for me and the girls for any climate and weather and use every single item of clothing and every single diaper and not need anything additional. We know how to navigate airports, new cities and transit systems, and these girls adapt to new sleeping situations like seasoned pros; but that’s not to say that it’s all fun or easy by any means.
Prim gets carsick and it’s always a race against the clock getting to the airport before she throws up. We always, always have a sick bag with us and usually manage to arrive at the airport just in the nick of time, but on our way to Schiphol going to Croatia, the driver made a wrong turn at the last minute, which resulted in an extra 5 minutes in the car and us changing Prim’s shirt and sweatshirt in the middle of the airport lobby.
We have had delays of all kinds — in the airport, on the plane, being returned to the gate, canceled flights, lost bags — all of it. The kids have actually weathered delays quite well, but sometimes after a 5am wake up call and a snow delay of indeterminate duration, you plop your baby on the floor at the gate and just think about how strong their immune system will be afterwards. Overall though, I have to say how proud I am of these little humans. They are amazingly adaptable on our numerous trips, and seem to really enjoy exploring new cities with us, even though it means upending their lives and schedules and subjecting them to all sorts of situations that test their patience.
I hope that these girls will always want to explore and visit new places, and that they continue to be tolerant, patient and adaptable throughout the numerous “travel delays” in their lives. I know they won’t remember any of this, but I’d like to think that it’s helping to shape the people they will become, and that they will be better and more well-rounded humans because of it. And KC and I will certainly remember, and the destinations we’ve been to with these little ladies is more than worth the trying moments and long travel days.