My husband and I both love to travel, and because we had our children young, most of our traveling adventures included the kids. My youngest son had visited seventeen states before he made it to Kindergarten. Along the way, literally, we noted a few key “Do’s and Don’ts”, so in the interest of public service, I wanted to share.
- Never give your carsickness-prone child red Gatorade the first 30 minutes you are in a rental car driving him through the mountains. You will spend the remainder of the vacation trying to air out the smell of regurgitated Gatorade. Note, very few car interiors are red, so if the puke smell does not get you,the fumes of Spot Shot fabric cleaner may finish you off. Obviously, it is worth the risk when you consider the full price of the vehicle may be charged to your credit card when rental agency gets a sniff and a look.
- Always keep an eye on your children when going through security. Especially in a foreign country. One time departing Ireland, the person in front of us going through the metal detector started screaming and created a panic. As all hell is breaking loose in the post-9/11 airport security, I looked down to see my five-year-old diving under the x-ray machine security to grab a quarter that had rolled off of the x-ray belt.
- Ninety-nine cents ($ 0.99) worth of dishwashing detergent is not worth going to a Mexico prison. On our way back from a Cabo San Lucas family vacation, I packed the remaining dishwashing liquid I had bought there, trying to be frugal. The Mexico border patrol at the airport was very alarmed upon finding it because it was “Dawn Now with Bleach”. He opened it, smelled it, asked my intentions of bringing on the plane. Bleach is a banned substance on planes. Please note.
- Sleep juice when traveling overseas is very important if you don’t want to waste the first day of a trip due to jet lag. As we took off for Ireland, my kids asked for their sleep juice, and I got an alarming eyebrow raise from the flight attendant. I explained it was Benadryl, and I wanted them to sleep on the seven hour, red-eye flight so they would be bright as daisies when we landed. When the beverage cart came around, she offered me wine, and asked if it was time for my sleep juice. Smart lady.
- Read all warning signs. In an animal preserve on Fota Island, I encouraged my kids to get very close to a baby wallaby so I could take their picture. As I finished, I noticed a sign next to the animal that said not to approach or get close, as they can randomly attack. Oops.
- Try not to look like the other tourists, except when it is too funny not to. We hiked up a hill to see a stone circle which dated to the bronze age, along with our kids and my husband’s parents. As we approached, there was a group of people, dangling crystals, dancing, and one lady throwing herself over each rock trying to find God-knows-what. Immediately, my father-in-law pulled out the rental car keys, closed his eyes, and began to hum as he twirled them over a rock. My oldest child, put a hand on top of one short rock and began dancing around it. My youngest did this:
I once asked my pediatrician if he thought it was ok that we took our kids all these places, and his answer was “well, you know they HAVE kids there, right?” Don’t be afraid to get out of the traveling comfort zone with them in tow. One my friends describes vacation as “where I do everything I do at home, but with less convenience.” Last year she took her three kids, plus a spare to Costa Rica. The memories are worth the inconvenience. Bon Voyage.
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