Traveling 34 hours with two kids under two across nine time zones in three planes will test mental and physical toughness in unique ways. Here is a little quiz to see if you have what it takes.
Q: You’ve arrived at the first check in counter and suddenly realized you’ve left your 2-year-old’s only milk bottle in the car. Choose the best response:
a) Run with arms flailing and the whites of your eyes clearly visible until you chase down the car and bottle is retrieved.
b) Act like you didn’t notice and say the kid must have hurled the milk from the stroller without anyone noticing if questioned.
c) Tell your kid to suck it up. Milk is for homebody-travel-rookie-sissies.
d) Act cool until getting through security and then say it must have been confiscated.
Q: Your car seat travel dolly shears in two in the middle of a train door with your child strapped to it. The best response is:
a) Curse in a foreign language so people won’t think you’re a stupid American.
b) Play it cool and do nothing until everyone exits the car hoping nobody notices.
c) Accuse your child of secretly grinding loose the welds on the frame when you weren’t looking.
d) Drag the car seat out of the door and look at your wife with the “what in the H are we doing here look and who’s idea was this anyway” look.
Q: The ideal response to the man on the plane in front of you yelling at you because your two-year-old is kicking his seat is?
a) Nothing, pretend he doesn’t exist and go to your happy place.
b) Curse in a foreign language so people won’t think you’re a stupid American.
c) Offer him a shot of whiskey. You’ve had five and feel great!
d) Ask him if he has a spatula or a George Foreman grill to change the subject.
Q: What do you do when the lady behind you on the plane yells at you for reclining your seat because she has a baby in her lap?
a) Show her the baby strapped to your chest and the seat fully reclined in front of you.
b) Poke her baby until he starts crying.
c) Give her the spatula and George Foreman grill the guy in the plane before gave you.
d) Lift up your seat and hope the one in front of you doesn’t crush your child’s head (or spill your whiskey).
Q: How do you offload two car seats, two sleeping children, five carry-on bags, and two slightly crazed adults out of a plane, down 20’ of steps in freezing Frankfurt temperatures, and in to a packed bus on the tarmac?
a) Don’t move until everyone exits the plane hoping all the flight attendants, who can’t leave until you do, do it for you.
b) Hurl each bag in shot putter form from the top of the stair landing. (the guttural yell is critical to this move)
c) Be the first to get up and block the aisle with all you stuff until other passengers start helping.
d) Open the emergency exit, inflate the escape ramp, and slide everything down (make sure and put on your life jacket fully inflated to avoid questioning).
In all seriousness, though, these events did happen to us. And I learned that no matter how much I prepare for a trip, there is no way to really prepare for everything, especially with kids. That is what makes traveling with them so much fun! Whenever I see other adults lugging screaming children through airports I will always remember this trip, and we will probably have several more like it to come. Thus I have a newfound respect for those parents and the level of mental and physical toughness it takes to take on kid-air-travel.