Monday, August 20, 2007

Traveling...With Children

I've posted in the past about my husband's and my shared love for travel, and our wish to take trips unencumbered by a child, but there's one specific aspect of this I'd like to address today: actually getting on a plane with one. Airplane travel is actually an activity I find enjoyable, but I feel sure that would cease to be the case if we had a baby.

Here is how my airplane trips go now: I pack my Vuitton Keepall 50, which I adore because it's so compact and fits under the seat in front of me in even the smallest planes. I sling it over my shoulder and for 90% of our trips, it's the only bag I have to carry. My husband has one bag as well. He and I move around the airport with ease, checking in and boarding the plane. I stow my bag, take out my wrap if it's chilly, and enjoy a stack of magazines or an episode or two of Lost on the flight (love my iPod video). Sometimes I have a drink, too.

Need I even mention the fact that this relatively pleasant experience would be shattered into a million pieces with a baby in tow? Goodbye Vuitton (there's no way I'd let little grabby hands near that vachetta!), and hello nylon diaper bags stuffed with snacks and ugly primary-colored toys. Goodbye ease of movement, hello dragging a kid around with us kicking and screaming. Goodbye peace and quiet on the plane, hello shrieking baby, hello dirty looks from other passengers, hello spending the entire flight worrying about her comfort and not mine.

HELL no.

This is from a mom on a forum I post on:

"I had to fly 8 hours with my son when he was around 1.5 years old and it was HELL.

"We gave him Benadryl, and it didn't do anything. We planned a nighttime flight hoping he would sleep- wrong idea. He couldn't sleep on the plane, the air pressure hurt his ears and he didn't like being in his carseat, and everything was new and strange. Babies are VERY consistent, they don't like change.

"We had packed snacks, toys, etc, but since it was night, he was just tired and wanted to sleep. Nothing could entertain him, nothing could soothe him. And the worst part was when there was turbulence, so we couldn't even hold him, he HAD to stay in his carseat, flight attendants' orders.

"After that, I never have anything but pure sympathy for parents who have to fly with babies, young kids. If you think it sucks for YOU, try doing it yourself sometime. Trust me, being on both ends before, it is MUCH MUCH MUCH worse for the parents b/c they know everyone is hating them/giving them mean glares, judging them, and they are STRESSED OUT trying to get the kid to stop crying, and sometimes there is just nothing to do about it. I wanted to fling myself out the door."

And if that isn't enough for you, try this: Today, a coworker of mine came back from vacation and stopped by my office to chat. Her little kids are 2 and 4. I was asking about her trip and she was asking me if I had any vacation planned. I told her that my husband and I are going to Ireland in October. Her response was: "Ahh, traveling without little kids. I'm so jealous." She went on to describe the experience of traveling with children as "pure hell."

Hmm... a pleasant trip, or pure hell? Which should I choose? Doesn't seem too difficult to me!


cfhistorian said...

I personally find air travel stressful (in March, I flew from Baltimore to Chicago and back first flights in over 10 years), but my husband and I love taking childfree road trips. Our only "children" are three hamsters, and when we got married last summer, we only had one at the time (she has since passed away :`\). We took our honeymoon in Ocean Isle Beach, NC, and it was a 9 hour drive from our home in PA. Not wanting to leave our "baby" by herself for more than a week, and not trusting anyone who lived nearby to take care of her, she came with us. It was certainly bliss to make the sunny drive down to NC with my new husband and an absolutely adorable furry little companion snoozing away in her cage in the backseat. Why would I ever give that up to take hellish road trips with annoying brats in the backseat?

Feh23 said...

Aerosolized opiates on all planes.

Seriously, I hate flying with or without children present. I feel the experience could be made more pleasant if all who wanted were handed a valium at the door of the airport, and given a shot of morphine as they entered the plane.

And boo hoo to all the parents whining about how HAAAARD it is to travel with children. You dug that hole, now stand in it. It's not my fault you couldn't take the time to maybe LOOK AROUND and see all the hassle parents have to deal with.