Monday, October 25, 2010

My experience travelling with the kids

I have a few backlogged blog posts...things I wanted to write about but didn't get a chance to do before we left for Austin, Texas -- where we didn't have Internet in our hotel. Honestly, what hotel doesn't have Internet, these days? So I wrote in Word in the evenings, and am posting now.

Until Sunday (Oct. 17), we’d never flown anywhere with both kids. When Austin was 18 months, we flew to Fredericton for a weekend but we knew that that wouldn’t prepare us for this experience. For starters, the ratio of adults to kids on that flight was 2 to 1 and secondly, it was only a two-hour flight.

The flight to Austin, Texas, with both kids was to be a six-hour travel-time trip. But the day started much earlier than that, because goodness knows, the process at the Toronto airport can take awhile when you’re travelling by yourself – when you’re travelling with 2 kids, 2 suitcases, 2 car seats, 1 stroller and 5 carry-ons, (hey, we were going for an entire week afterall), we figured it would take a long while.

So here’s how the day went:
- Step 1: park the car and take the LINK train from the garage to the terminal.
- Step 2: stand in line to check in because the airline wouldn’t let us check in online the night before because the only seats left on the flight are in the exit aisle and you can’t sit in the exit aisle with kids.
- Step 3: drag all the bags, car seats and carry-ons through customs.
- Step 4: clear customs and put the suitcases on one conveyer belt and the car seats on another
- Step 5: wait in another long line to go through security while bribing the now screaming 2-year-old with promises that she'll get Smarties as soon as this line is done.
- Step 6: get to the gate and instead of waiting 1 hour for the flight, wait 2 hours because the flight is delayed.
- Step 7: Fly to Minneapolis while the woman in front of me repeatedly turns around and glares because my 2-year-old is loud (yes, she was talking loudly, but she was talking and singing – not screaming and not kicking the chair in front of her) Entertain 2-year-old for the entire 2-hour flight.
- Step 8: Instead of having 1 hour and 21 minutes to change planes in Minneapolis, dash across the airport because there's only about 25 minutes until takeoff while dragging two kids (and a stroller and 5 carry-ons)
- Step 9: Make the next flight and get through the next 2 and a half hours by bribing the kids with TV.
- Step 10: Get off the plane, get bags, find rental car company, rent car, go to car, install car seats in car and finally get a map and figure out where the heck you have to go (and tip the porter that was kind enough to help with some of the process).
- Step 11: Drive to hotel while 2-year-old screams from the backseat because it’s been 11 hours since we left home and she hasn’t napped.
- Step 12: Find hotel and realize that said 2-year-old has passed out from exhaustion.
- Step 13: Check in to hotel, move stuff upstairs, wake 2-year-old and find nearest McDonalds for dinner.

In all, it was a really long day – as travelling always is – but considering what we dragged the kids through, it was a good day. And for the most part, they were both really good.

Now we just have to reverse the entire process on the way home. But this time we were stupid enough to book a late afternoon flight, so not only will Alex not nap but she’ll also be up unbelievably late. Maybe if we’re lucky, she’ll pass out from exhaustion.

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