Steps to happy travels with young children (no matter how long the flight)
I am strongly contemplating adding a new bullet point to my résumé:
- I am a master of air travel with young children.
After the birth of my first child, I’d hop on planes for commutes to visit family. Our flights would be from Seattle to San Francisco and my daughter was the sole focus of my attention. We’d count little brightly colored snacks, read books, play with stuffed animals. Then came the birth of my first son, and he too hopped on and off the short haul flights. My in-flight attention shifted to figuring out how to entertain a toddler (my daughter had grown to two years old) while holding a baby in my arms. More often than not, I’d end up with a cramp in my side as I simultaneously nursed the baby and hunched over to pick up fallen crayons off of the plane’s floor.
Eventually, when my husband accepted a job offer overseas, we extended the length of our trips. So, my daughter, then four, and my son, who had grown to two years old, became international travelers. As is the case with many international families, I often found myself traveling with the kids on a schedule separate from my husband – which required me to travel as the solo caretaker. So, the kids and I would hop on a flight out of Thailand (where we lived), fly through Hong Kong or Tokyo and finally land into our planned U.S. west coast destination for a holiday. During our time overseas, we welcomed our third child and made another international relocation even further afield, with an increasing number of airport connections.
As the years added up (and the travel stories grew), I earned that résumé bullet point.
Next week, I’ll hop on yet another international flight with all three of my kids in tow. I, again, will be the sole caretaker on the flight. I’ll be holding my soon to be two year old, my now eight year old daughter will be beside me and my six year old son will be on the other side. And, just like every other flight I’ve taken with the kids, my hands will shake a tiny bit in anticipation of take-off, my bag will be jammed with essentials and the kids will be excited about what is to come. They’ll be anticipating the in-flight favors I placed into each of their backpacks just prior to travel. They’ll be happy to settle into their seats and experience the sights and sounds of a working airplane. And, they’ll be eager to get to the other end of our journey, after 19 plus hours in the air, where hugs from family will catch us as we stumble sleepily out of the now familiar immigration lines.
So, what have I learned during all of those flights that makes me confident enough to place my experiences on my résumé?
Check here for the first of the five travel steps I live by!
By Shelby Reynolds
Shelby Reynolds is an American currently repatriating to Seattle by way of Tbilisi, Bangkok, Seattle, Paris, San Francisco and one long, cold winter in Philadelphia. A mama to three lovely little bohemian spirits, she’s a rememberer of every good moment. Shelby writes at anewbohemia.com and can be followed on twitter at @anewbohemia
- Steps for happy travels with your children: Part 2
- Steps for happy travels with your children: Part 3
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