Category: Travel

A Note To My Future Self About “Vacationing” With Children

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Dear Future Self,

I know you think it’s a great idea to plan a “vacation” with the kids. You long to get away as a family and spend oodles of quality time together away from your regular daily grind. Don’t do it, Future Self. For the love of all that’s holy, back away from the computer and do NOT purchase that family “vacation”.

You see, Future Self, there is a reason you are always saying that traveling with small children is NOT a vacation, it is a trip. There is a very important distinction between a vacation and a trip. A vacation is something you return home from with a glowing tan and a sense of rejuvenation. A trip is something you return home from feeling like you need a vacation.

Current You is on “vacation” in San Diego right now, Future Self, so she knows a thing or two about this traveling with kids business. She knows that it started out with great intentions and gleeful anticipation. Surely the road to Hell is paved with great intentions and gleeful anticipation, amiright?

“Vacationing” with children is a lot like childbirth. It’s excruciating, there is screaming, at some point during the process you change your mind (but it’s already too late), and after enough time has passed you forget how heinous it was so you do it all over again. Don’t get me wrong, Future Self. Sure, there were some good times and special moments. It’s just that when you are looking back at this San Diego “vacation” and see the smiling angelic tots of yours on the beach you’ll forget that this “vacation” called you to question your entire existence as a mother. That on more than one occasion during this “vacation” you decided you aren’t fit to raise a pet gerbil let alone two of the world’s most strong-willed and fierce little girls.

That’s why I’m here, Future Self. To bring you back to reality. Ok, so maybe putting a kibosh on all future family “vacations” isn’t reasonable. There are some wonderful and amazing things about traveling with your kiddos. But maybe just check and double-check your expectations, Future Self. Lower your expectations until you think you can’t possibly lower them any more. Then lower them again. Now you are ready for a family “vacation”.

Just know that no matter the mode of transportation, you will hear “Are we there yet?” about a bazillion times. Your kids will fight with a level of passion typically reserved only for battling genocide to be the one that gets the privilege of hitting the button on the elevator. They will stay up late and wake up at the first hint of dawn. There will be no escaping them because you will be trapped in the same jail cell, err, hotel room with them. They will find fault with the food because it is not EXACTLY the same as the food you have at home!

What do you mean McDonald's doesn't have Eggo Nutrigrain blueberry waffles?! Someone get me a manager!
What do you mean McDonald’s doesn’t have Eggo Nutrigrain blueberry waffles?! Someone get me a manager!

So my dear Future Self, I urge you instead to consider that adult-only getaway you were considering. At least until such a time has arrived when your children are a bit older and more self-sufficient. Oh, who the Hell am I kidding? You’ll look back at all the happy pictures and remember only the magical times and do it all over again. But don’t say I didn’t warn you, Future Self…


Current You

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Do you have any tips & tricks for traveling with littles? As it turns out, Current Me is a sadist and we have a trip to Disney World planned for next month.


The World’s Saddest & Most Expensive Pub Crawl

Second Rate Husband and I are going on a vacation. Without kids. Because of his stellar work performance over the past year, Second Rate Hubs has been awarded an all-expenses paid trip to Calgary, Alberta, Canada. A whole glorious child-free week! Yippy!! I can hardly wait!

On the way to the airport we encountered some traffic, causing us to arrive later than planned. And then it happened. We got to curb-side check in at 9:36 a.m. Our flight had a scheduled departure time of 10:35. PROBLEM. International flights require that you check your bags a full hour before departure. Missed it by one minute. One. Freaking. Minute.IMG_0585

Another fun bit of international travel trivia: You have to be on the same flight your bag is traveling on. In other words, we couldn’t just hop on our flight and send our luggage on the next flight. SO. Next flight it is. Eight. Hours. Later.

Once we adjusted to our new reality and accepted the fact that we would, in fact, be spending the next eight hours in purgatory the airport, we decided to re-collect ourselves with an adult beverage. Just as I’m getting settled in with my $10 airport TGI Fridays drink (kill me), I noticed that I no longer have my iPhone. A short trip back through security to retrieve it (thank you Mr. Second Rate) and we are back in business.

Yep. Just seven and a half short hours away from boarding our plane…which will then be followed by a  four hour long flight. Oh, and did I mention we are renting a car and driving two hours to Banff when we get there? So, yeah. Thirteen some-odd hours later, and we’ll officially be on vacation… (Can you tell my enthusiasm is suffering a bit at this point?)

And then Second Rate Husband, in all his eternal optimism, decides that we were going to make the most of our time here in airport purgatory. He excitedly proclaims that we are going to use the tram to visit all of the airport terminals and have a beer in each one. Yes folks. This was his way of attempting to win me back over to the sunny side; with the world’s most expensive and depressing pub crawl.

Well, by this point I still have seven hours to kill, so why the hell not? Besides, Second Rate Husband seems pretty pleased with himself for dreaming up his new-found bucket list challenge. Let the sad little pub crawl commence.

Which terminal to start with...decisions, decisions.
Which terminal to start with…decisions, decisions.

We started our journey. First up was Terminal A for a beer and some time on our devices. Because there’s no one in the world I’d rather sit next to and ignore.

Quality time in Terminal A.
Quality time in Terminal A.
Second Rate Husband
Second Rate Husband

In Terminal B we made lots of friends, including a nuclear physicist with a son that plays professional paint ball (seriously, I can’t make this shit up) and this guy headed to Corpus Christi for work.

Good conversations at Cantina Laredo.
Good conversations at Cantina Laredo.

Terminal C was a low-key stop, but we got to check it off the list at a sports bar.

Next stop: Terminal E!
Next stop: Terminal E!

Finally, we made it to Terminal E. Our final beer and some dinner before heading back. Although I started today’s airport pub crawl journey with less than great enthusiasm, I have ended it on a much better note. Maybe it’s all the beer I’ve had, but I’d like to think it’s because I’m thankful for a husband that helps me make the most of things. After all, there are much worse ways to spend eight hours.

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