Travel. If you are an expat, you’ll probably find yourself doing a fair bit of this. Doubly so if you have a child, and triply so if said child’s grandparents actually want to see the little so-and-so.
Of course, there have already been plenty of practical and sensible blog posts on how best to fly with a small person without losing your cool, (this one by family travel maven Nicola at Jetlag and Mayhem, and this one by glam mum extraordinaire Nicole at Mint Mocha Musings are among my recent personal faves), but as the Family T-T are currently en France avec la famille, I felt this was a timely topic to address.
Obviously, The Accidental Tai-Tai never turns right when boarding a Boeing (the very idea!), however if you happen to be one of the poor unfortunates that travels
cattle economy class when flying long haul to see your folks, here are some suggestions, based on some of my own extremely astute observations (from a distance, naturally).
- DO NOT EVER travel to Paris via Doha in Economy with a toddler, even if it is over 50% cheaper than a direct flight. You’ll find that the maths simply don’t add up, as I shall demonstrate below:
1 x 9-hour flight
+ 1 x 7-hour flight
+ associated waiting around time at a desolate Middle Eastern airport at 2am, surrounded by a plane-load of angry Beijingers, completely unable to understand why the duty-free shop IN QATAR doesn’t accept RMB for their ciggies.
= MISERY TO THE POWER OF ONE MILLION
Instead, DO become exceedingly rich, so that you never have to spend another second on Skyscanner, and can avoid the indignities of travelling with the general public by chartering your own jet. Sounds a bit expensive, you say? Perhaps; but what price sanity?
- When you arrive and your child seems whiney andwhingy (-er than usual), DOensure that the poor little sod doesn’t have an ear infection. DO NOT – even after 38 hours awake – arrive at the conclusion that they are deliberately trying to provoke you BECAUSE YOU SPAWNED A DEVIL CHILD, then become exasperated when the emergency chocolate that you have stashed about your person fails to pacify them.If in doubt, err on the side of caution and visit a medical professional – although if you are in France, DO be aware that French doctors love to administer suppositories for no obvious reason, and that any cure may entail you having to rugby tackle an angry three-year-old while trying to push something up their bottom. This does not help IN ANY WAY when attempting to establish a post-jetlag bedtime routine.
- As and when your little cherub is fully recovered, you may want to consider that holidays are meant to be restful for all involved, parents included. So if your darling’s 5am wakeup call is getting in the way of your holiday wine appreciation, then I suggest depositing them to stay with their doting grandparents and nabbing a night or two to yourself. If, like me, your parents happen to live in Northern France, I can highly recommend a trip to Hotel Le Nouveau Monde in St. Malo for a night of salted caramel,cidre and hardcore sleeping, but the basic principle is just as applicable in Bognor Regis orWoolgoolga.It’s for their own good, as well as yours, so switch off your phone and pour a second glass.