Scared of toilets and other travel stories

Welcome to the July 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family Vacation

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared their family-travel tips, challenges, and delights. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


View from the plane

It’s summer in Europe now.

My parents live in Bulgaria and every year around this time I start feeling homesick. I keep on debating with myself whether I should go or not. The cost of plane tickets. The challenge of travelling with kids on my own (my husband usually claims he’s too busy with his business). The debate always ends the same way… I lose. Or I win? I buy the tickets and we’re on our way.

It depends on the route, but it takes us at least 26-27 hours to get there. I’ve done the trip with a 6-month-old. I’ve done it with two kids. I’ve even done it with three! You could say I’m an expert at flying with kids and here are just a few of the things I’ve learned.

You can never have too many spare clothes

A few years ago we flew back home on the day after my mum’s birthday. My daughter’s stomach wasn’t coping with all the sweets she had eaten and she got diarrhea. To make it worse, the toilets on the plane terrified her. They made a loud noise and she was scared she was going to get sucked in.

I had some nappies (even though she was toilet trained, but just in case) and lots of spare clothes. We ran out of everything. I remember my daughter wearing her brother’s last pair of clean pants and we still had at least 6 hours to go… It took everything I could think of to convince her to go to the bathroom. I had to promise that I’d escort her back to her seat before I went back to flash the toilet. You can imagine how thrilled the other passengers were, especially those next in line.

Even when you prebook your seats, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get them

I was boarding a flight with a 2- and a 4-year old for a 12-hour flight. Even though I had the seats prebooked, the lovely guy at the counter offered to give me two seats together and one separately. Really? I would have no doubt enjoyed my flight sitting away from my kids, but I wasn’t so sure about the passengers who’d have to sit next to them.

I got it sorted out eventually, but what I learned from this is to show up early to make sure I get the seats I wanted.

Kids can cope with travel a lot better than we think

After we got off the plane after a 26-hour journey, this was the first thing that came out of my son’s mouth. ‘Can we go up to the lookout and watch some planes?’ Planes? All I wanted to do is go home and sleep. I didn’t want to see another plane for a few months at least!

But now… it’s summer in Europe.

I’ve decided that I won’t be going this year, but thoughts about travel are starting to creep in again.

Maybe we should go?


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Favorite Family Vacation Recipe: Staying at Home — The best family vacation Laurie Hollman at Parental Intelligence could ever recommend requires minimal packing, no hotels, unrushed travel, easy meals to everyone’s taste without a bill, no schedules, everyone’s favorite interests, and three generations playing together.
  • Scared of toilets and other travel stories — Tat at Mum in search is an expert at flying with kids. She shares some of her tips and travel stories.
  • Staycation Retreat for Busy MamasLydia’s Handmade Life gives Budget-friendly, eco-friendly staycation ideas for busy work-at-home moms.
  • How We Leave It All Behind — At Life Breath Present, they don’t take traditional vacations — they go on forest adventures. Here are some tips in planning for an adventure, if you don’t just go spontaneously, as they have before. Plus, many pictures of their latest adventure!
  • Traveling while pregnant: When to go & how to manage — Lauren at Hobo Mama discusses the pros and cons of traveling during the different trimesters of pregnancy, and how to make it as comfortable as possible.
  • Our Week in Rome: Inspiration and Craft Ideas for Parents, Teachers, and Caregivers — If anyone in your family is interested in learning about Ancient Rome, if you enjoy crafts, of if you’re a parent looking for a fun staycation idea, check out Erin Yuki’s post for a Roman-themed week of crafts, food, and fun at And Now, for Something Completely Different.
  • The Real Deal: A behind the scenes look at our “Western Adventure” — Often Facebook and blog posts make vacations look “picture perfect” to outsiders. If you only looked at the pictures, Susan’s recent family vacation was no exception. In this post at Together Walking, she takes readers “behind the scenes” so they can see the normal challenges they faced and how they managed to enjoy their vacation in spite of them.
  • Welcome to the Beach House! — Kellie at Our Mindful Life is in love with her family’s new “beach house”!
  • Road Trip to Niagara Falls — Erica at ChildOrganics writes about her first trip out of the country with just her and the kids.
  • 5 Essential Things to Take on Vacation — Five things Nurtured Mamas should be packing in their suitcase for their next trip, in a guest post at Natural Parents Network.
  • The Many Benefits of Camping with Friends — Do you want to go camping, but the very thought of it seems daunting? Make your life easier – and your kids happier – and go camping with friends! Dionna at Code Name: Mama discusses how much better camping can be when you join forces with others.
  • My Natural First Aid Kit for Camping, Travel, and Everyday Use — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama gives us an insiders looks at her natural first aid kit for camping, travel, and everyday use. These natural remedies have saved her hide and those of others many times! You might be surprised what made her list of must-haves!
  • Traveling Solo and Outnumbered — Alisha at Cinnamon and Sassafras shares lessons learned from a recent trip with two toddlers and no co-parent.
  • Compromise and conviction on the road — Jessica of Crunchy-Chewy Mama shares the reality vs. the dream of travel and dishes on the compromises she makes or won’t make while traveling.
  • Camping Trauma — Jorje of Momma Jorje offers why she loves camping and why she and her family are a little gun shy about it, too.
  • First in our Books — Writing fresh from her first family vacation, Laura from Pug in the Kitchen has realized that helping pack her parents’ station wagon made for a smooth and pleasant trip that was more than she hoped for!

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  1. says

    Man, 26 hours of traveling with kids by plane! We flew to London this spring from Seattle, and it was…interesting. No diarrhea, but some screaming & lots of boredom. For several days after each airplane trip, if I was feeling annoyed with something, I’d say to myself, “At least you aren’t on a plane right now.” Ha ha! We also had the seat thing happen to us: They offered us four separate seats on the international overnight flight. Um…sure, if other travelers want to take care of our kids for us while we get some sleep!
    Lauren @ Hobo Mama recently posted..Traveling while pregnant: When to go & how to manage

  2. says

    I like number one here about never having too many clothes…whenever I pack to go somewhere with my little ones I always feel like I’m overpacking if I bring more than one spare set, but it is really smart to bring more, especially if they get sick.
    Lydia Larae recently posted..Staycation Retreat for Busy Mamas

  3. says

    I was a traveller before I had my daughter. (I have even spent time in Bulgaria)! Even with all the travel, I have never enjoyed those long-haul flights.

    My daughter is 10 months old. We took her on a five hour flight at 5 months. She did well but I cannot even imagine doing a 25-30 hour flight with her. You must be a superwoman to do that with three kids. Wow, I’m in awe.

    • Tat says

      Thanks, the trip with three kids was a bit too much even for me. I don’t think I’ll be going again until they’re a bit older unless I can convince my husband to come along. But then, you never know.

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