I’ve been traveling with kids since I was 16. I flew with my exhausted aunt and her kids, at the time an infant and a toddler, on the red-eye from Honolulu to New York. A daunting experience.
My aunt had arrived Honolulu from Manila with a teething 10 month old and a homesick 2 year old in tow. The one day stop was to let her rest and re-charge, instead it exhausted us all. My father decreed I help her on the last leg of the journey. Seemed like a spring break bonus, an unexpected vacation to the Big Apple. Until I found myself walking up and down the aisle of a 10 hour flight soothing a crying baby or chasing a cranky toddler. When we reached New York I had sworn off ever having kids!
Years later I found myself on that same flight with my 9 month old daughter. I was wiser and more prepared, or so I thought. I ordered baby food from the airline (yes back then they provided food), packed my carry on with formula, diapers, clothes, favorite blanket, teddy bear, and toys. We would get on the plane, my baby would behave all the way to New York. In my dreams! Within minutes of boarding my daughter had unwrapped and inflated the child’s life vest we were given and torn up all the magazines in the seat pocket. She screamed during take-off, the pressure hurt her ears. She refused to eat the baby food and would not go to sleep. I vowed never to travel with kids again. I would make this vow many more times.
Living in Hawaii makes traveling mandatory if we want to go on vacation, visit relatives, and attend family functions. I have traveled with my 3 kids on planes, trains, automobiles, and cruise ships. I traveled with them as infants, toddlers, and teenagers. They have caused me much embarrassment. Like the time my 2 year old son flung peas and carrots at the man sitting next to us or when my youngest child (she was 11 months old at the time) hurled her bottle at the head of the man sitting in front of us. They have annoyed me, it seemed like my then teenagers spent every minute of our cross country road trips arguing and complaining. They have worried me, keeping track of teens on a huge cruise ship can be exhausting, particularly when they are not where they say they will be.
In spite the aggravation I’m glad we took those trips, travel is one of the best ways to broaden a child’s horizons. Whether it be a visit to Grandma’s house in Houston, a wedding in New York, a cross country road trip from Maine to California, or a cruise to Europe, travel exposes children to different cultures, foods, sights, people, and experiences.
My kids are grown with kids of their own. I still travel with kids, my grandkids! It’s gotten easier. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve become an expert traveler or because I’ve embraced new technologies, namely ipods and ipads; or a combination of both.
I’ve decided to write a blog focusing on travel with kids. I will offer tips on traveling with children of all ages on different modes of transportation, places to see, things to do, and other fun stuff that I’ve done with my kids and grandkids. I hope you will join me on this new adventure.