Traveling with children. Picture Credit: Canva
Travelling with kids is often painted in idyllic hues, a time for making lasting memories. However, as any parent can attest, it's not always smooth sailing. Journeys with little ones can turn into episodes of stress and discomfort, both for the family and fellow travellers. Through the lens of parents' stories and expert advice, we delve into the less talked-about side of family travel, with real stories from research done by Yahoo Life
The Unpredictable Nature of Air Travel (and Fellow Passengers)
Airlines and babies can be a volatile mix. New mother Caitlin Morris shared her disconcerting encounter: while boarding a flight with her 5-week-old, she faced a stranger's blunt prediction of non-stop crying. The reality? Her infant slept through the journey. The incident underscores the often harsh judgments parents face when travelling with infants.
Gennifer Rose's experience adds another layer. Flying with her 4-month-old, she faced TSA hurdles due to the liquid formula in her carry-on. A simple security check turned into a fiasco, with spilled formula and frustration. Even after boarding, unwelcome comments from fellow passengers about potential crying added to the stress.
Train Travels and Trepidation
Maureen C. Kenny's story shifts the focus to train travel. Her trip on Amtrak's Auto Train with toddler triplets ended with the family being ousted from the dining car and later, discouraged from attending breakfast. The incident is a vivid example of how public spaces can sometimes be unwelcoming to families with young children and places of prejudice for young families, regardless of the behaviour of the kids.
The Struggles of Long Haul and International Travel
Kanyarat Nuchangpuek's long-haul flight to Thailand with her 6-month-old was a test of endurance. Her daughter's continuous crying and the treatment she and her husband received from the flight attendants can show the strain of travelling with infants. "Well, she cried and she cried and she cried. It was non-stop and nothing we did could quiet her." Nuchangpuek says that flight attendants "kept shushing me," which made her feel "ashamed."
Expert Advice: Easing the Journey
Dr. Daniel Ganjian, a paediatrician, emphasises the importance of preparation for parents going into potentially tricky travel environments. Snacks, entertainment packs, and timing flights around children's sleep schedules are all top tips to make the journey much smoother for everyone involved.
Jen Campbell Boles, from Explore More Family Travel, suggests strategies like delaying boarding and using dummies or bottles during takeoff and landing to ease ear pressure. These tips underscore the importance of adapting travel plans to meet the needs of young travellers.
Travelling with children is unpredictable. While preparation can mitigate some challenges, parents often find themselves at the mercy of their child's mood, fellow travellers' tolerance, and the policies of travel companies. The stories shared reveal a stark contrast to the often idealised image of family travel
, serving as a reminder that patience, understanding and preparation from everyone involved can make these experiences more bearable for all.