The laws of physics apply to all of us, but they especially apply to 13 month olds. Objects in motion stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force… mommy, for example. Or gravity, which seems to have stronger pull on this age group, making them more prone to tipping over and/or falling off things. The laws of physics at 13 months are exhausting and makes any type of travel …interesting at best. If you find yourself sitting near enough to a traveling family to observe and perhaps be bothered by their commotion, just remember, no matter how annoying the crying baby may be, no one has it worse than the mother. I promissssseee you, she is actually sweating. Travel with little ones is WORK. I recently got off a flight where one particular fellow traveler had been giving me an evil glance every. single. time. my son made so much as a peep. As we deplaned, I noticed she had a copy of the book Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall by Anna Funder, which I quite recently finished, poking out of her backpack. We likely had more in common than she ever thought. Anywho, infants who are becoming toddlers are- in my limited opinion- the most difficult age group with which to travel via airplane.
My best advice in this situation is to bring an over abundance of snacks and wear a sports bra. Travel with older infants, approx 12-26 months is the worst. By the time they hit about 2 and a half, thanks to today’s technology, you can plug them in to hours of unlimited movie access and travel can become their literal dream come true. Then, you can finally begin to relax just a little. In the meantime, don’t be afraid to book a longer flight. The longer the flight time, the more likely you are to be able to finish an entire movie yourself…in 5-10 minute increments over the course of 8 hours. Bigger risk, bigger reward? Besides sports bras and snacks, you can also bring little practical things to keep your littlest ones occupied at this age. Leave the toys and books at home. I mean it. They aren’t worth the space they take up for the two minutes of entertainment they provide. Our little Max had a great time pulling all the tissues out of the travel sized pack I had in the diaper bag. I shoved them back in and he repeated this task about ten times. It killed a good bit of time and didn’t put any more burden on the carry-on.
However, recognizing that travel with little kids isn’t for everyone, below are a half-dozen good excuses for everyone to just stay home. Its too much work, expensive, and they won’t even remember it. Leave them with grandma or don’t go anywhere.
One. They get up early. Ugh. They get up so early. You’ll be forced out of your hotel room into the golden morning light and have to eat brunch for breakfast. You won’t get to see the crowds, or even wait in lines at aquariums, museums and popular tourist attractions. Oh no, you’ll be there wayyyy before any of them are even out of the shower.
Two. They’ll point and say embarrassing things. Kids are well-known to say the darndest things at the most awkward times. If you travel with them, they’re even more likely to do this, due to all the new and exciting things they’re seeing…in front of a bunch of foreigners who can’t understand your language and you’ll never see again!
Three. Speaking of attracting attention, they will. They’re loud and adorable. They’ll get looks from strangers everywhere you go. Old ladies and gentlemen will want to speak to them and shake their little hands and you will be forced to interact with the locals. Your children will be exposed to different cultures and languages at an early and impressionable age.
Four. They love playgrounds. Playgrounds, woof. Not exactly the cultural experience of your dreams. They’re off the beaten path and shove you directly in to actual neighborhoods, where again, you will be forced to interact with the locals. They might even recommend a tasty spot where you should eat lunch!
Five. They won’t remember it. You’re shelling out a lot of cash for them to tag along. Shouldn’t they at least be able to hang on to the memory of this expensive experience? They won’t. But you will. And your precious memories with your little growing family will be something you will cherish for the rest of your life. I can almost guarantee you’ll forget about the ill-timed tantrums, early hotel room wake-ups and disaster messes that have left you blacklisted from various restaurants around the globe. Or at least you’ll be able to look back and laugh. Just not too soon.
Six. They’ll get sick. If your kids are like my kids, they literally cannot step foot in public without coming down with everyone else’s cold. Last year we all got the flu (not the stomach flu, actual influenza, big BIG diff) whilst on our tropical vacation in the Dominican Republic. I can only presume to blame someone who coughed nearby on the airplane, since the incubation time of the influenza virus matched up perfectly with our travel day. This is a tough one. We even all got our flu shots, but that sneaky flu virus mutates so quickly it can sometimes eek right on by your immune system. Unless you want to live in a bubble, you’re going to have to get out there. Washing your hands and using hand sanitizer goes a long, long way. Remember to keep your hands away from your eyes/nose/mouth and your children’s eyes/noses/mouths as much as humanly possible. I know, I know. Asking the impossible. You can use those disinfecting wipes to wipe down tray tables and armrests and hold your breath when someone next to you coughs. Its a good idea to bring a small arsenal of whatever meds you use, in case of illness on vacation. I recommend throwing a thermometer, child and adult Motrin (ibuprofen) and/or Tylenol (acetaminophen), a few Benadryl and a couple of daytime cold pills of choice. This will tide you over until you can get to a pharmacy. Best of luck to you.
So there you are. In case you were looking for an excuse to leave the kids, you need not look further. What are your best reasons to stay home? Leave them in the comments below!
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