toddlers · travel

Traveling with Tiny Humans is Exhausting


I thought raising them was hard enough, then I started traveling with them.

Recently, my tiny humans have done a good deal of traveling. This of course got my brain thinking a lot about how hard traveling with tiny humans really is. Even if you do it prepared. There are lots of blogs out there with traveling tips – what to bring, what not to bring, how to bring it, etc. I personally have found many of these helpful, but after my most recent traveling experiences, I’ve come to realize quite a few tips some bloggers out there have failed to mention. So without further ado, here is my list of the things no one tells you about traveling with tiny humans:

1. You might have to ask a stranger to hold your baby.

stranger danger ecard

So one of my more recent trips was a girl’s only flight to St. Louis to visit a dear friend. This means one adult to one baby. Should be easy enough right? Yea, it wasn’t too bad. All in all I gave girlfriend a solid C+ for her part in everything, but no matter how prepared you are or how much you ration liquids, you will have to pee on a 4 hour flight. For those of you wondering, ATX to STL is not a 4 hour flight, but we happened to be on the one that took that long. Anywho, I thought about just holding her while I squatted, but have any of you peed in an airplane restroom? There’s barely enough room to squat, let alone do so with a baby attached to you. Then what about unexpected turbulence? I had visions of dropping her into the toilet and then flushing her out the airplane. I’m crazy I know, but strange news is a thing. Whatever the case, I just couldn’t do it. So I scanned the front of the airplane for the most maternal looking flight attendant and begged her to hold my kid while I relieved my bladder. Turns out girlfriend knows how to work a crowd and by the time I came out everyone forgot I was the one that brought a baby on the plane. Sister did a great job acting all cute, smiling and waving at everyone the whole time. Winning! Her C+ quickly became a B- after that performance.

2. Your lap child does not fit in your lap.

airplane baby seat

I do not believe in the effectiveness of this device. Someone leans their seat back and that baby is toast.

For serious. I had this issue when I flew solo with my then 18-month-old that resembled a 3-year-old. Did I mention I was 7 months pregnant as well? OMG. I don’t wish that nightmare on anyone. As soon as I heard “full flight” I wanted to crawl in the fetal position and cry myself to sleep. Luckily I sat next to a sweet grandpa that gave my belly a break and let Rory sit in his lap. See, another stranger holding my baby! This time around I thought it would be smooth sailing. Not pregnant – check! Smaller baby – check! Um, lies! Did the seats get smaller since the last time I flew? For starters, girlfriend almost had her gums knocked out when the dude in front of us leaned his seat back. Then when it came time to nurse, geez louise! I think sister was the length of the whole damn aisle. This time there was not a nice grandpa sitting next to me either. She kept kicking this dude’s leg and he in turn gave me the evil death glare. Somehow I figured out how to sit sideways in my seat so she could kick the dude’s seat in front of us instead. While this position was manageable, my back had other things to say by the end of the flight. Long story short, if you can afford the extra ticket do it. We certainly can’t, but a girl can dream for others.

3. Goodie bags to bribe fellow passengers is a thing.

airplane goody bag

I’m sure you’ve seen this floating around the internets and while cute, in my opinion, the only passenger you should be making a goodie bag for is yourself. Mine would include a drink ticket, some Advil, and another drink ticket. But for serious, lots of assholes fly on commercial planes and my baby isn’t one of them. Did the old lady disclosing all the details of her IBS offer me ear plugs? Nope. How about the drunk gal blubbering on about her douche bag boyfriend she found in bed with her sister? Nope. And what about the woman who took her sneakers off revealing the worst case of stinky athlete’s foot in the history of mankind? She most definitely did not give me a goodie bag with a gas mask or air freshener. The point is flying with a bus load of complete strangers is never fun, baby on board or not. Don’t worry so much about all the other folks and worry more about keeping you and that tiny human as comfortable as possible between destinations. And next time a jack ass gives you a glare or makes some stupid comment about your offspring, just remind them a private jet is always a viable option for douche troops.

4. Road trips will almost always have an undetermined ETA.

I’m from Baton Rouge so we’ve been on many a road trip to Louisiana. These days when someone asks me how long of a drive it is to a destination, I answer in these terms: Austin to Baton Rouge without kids can be done in 7 hours, but with children can take anywhere from 8-12 hours. The fate of your road trip all depends on your kid and their mood. An 8 hour road trip only happens when all the stars align and everyone sleeps and no one poops 5 times and everyone complies with just the one pit stop mid trip. Yea, that accidentally happened once ever. Most of the time our travel time falls somewhere in the middle, but a couple of times we’ve had to endure the dreadfulness of a 12 hour adventure complete with poop explosions and pull your hair out non-stop baby wails and toddler tantrums. Basically the kind of road trip that prompts you to try to order a glass of Malbec at the McDonald’s drive through.


5. Screen time is inevitable.

I’m not so sure the American Academy of Pediatrics has actually been in a car with tiny humans for 12 hours. I couldn’t find any revisions on their screen time recommendations during travel and believe me, I looked. In all seriousness though, I’m sure there are some parents out there that still swear they can travel without an electronic, but I sure as hell ain’t one of them. They say screen time kills brain cells by the second, but after singing every nursery rhyme I know on repeat for 12 hours, I’m pretty sure I might exit the vehicle less intelligent. Yea I know, there are plenty of other things I could try like reading books, playing games, buying new exciting toys, blah blah blah. Unfortunately, my toddler has been known to refuse all the above bribes to stay strapped in his car seat and instead makes every effort to all but leap to his death out of our fast-moving minivan. Sometimes the only thing that makes him forget he’s being held hostage is a little Finding Nemo. So I’ve stopped feeling guilty and always remember to charge the iPad before a vacation.

car seat memeGetting them in the car seat is just the beginning.

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