It’s holiday season, which means it’s ‘essentials for traveling with kids’ blog season. I’ve read so many ‘how to travel with kid’ blog posts, and although they are very practical and full of great tips, I think they lack a little something. A little ‘um, I think that’s illegal K’. As a seasoned traveller *ahem multiple trips up north and twice on a plane* I’m going to give you the real holiday essentials for traveling with a child.
Firstly, you’re going to need a big, thick, long ass rope – because saying a child leash just doesn’t sound right. I would recommend a heavy duty rope, one strong enough to anchor a ship, your kid may as well be the H.M.S ‘get the fuck back here’ with the amount of times your gonna need to run after that little shi(t)p. To avoid heat stroke induced by the running after children, wrap that sturdy auld rope round your child, the waist will do, and attach it to the nearest tree. If a tree is not available go ahead and tie it to your own waist, this might seem inconvenient, but listen, there’s nothing more inconvenient than losing your child. You child will give zero shits about getting lost, all they will see is miles of sand and sea, fun rides, water parks, open spaces and Mario kart-esque tracks in the middle of busy shopping towns. I can guarantee your child will NOT stay by your side, no matter how much you plea (moan).
Good, quality ropes are not too hard to come by. Don’t try to be a cocky wise ass like myself and get one of those adorable dino bags that have a ‘lead’ attached. The kid will either A) demand on wearing said bag after they have crammer 10804 toys in, with some poking out the top that inevitably fall out as the wee shit runs or B) they won’t want to wear the bag at all. No shits will be given if it’s a cute dino back pack with a cool strap that mum and dad can hold so ‘we can all stay together’ – that doesn’t wash, not even with a two year old. They know it’s a leash. Get a rope and be done with it. Tie them to a tree and enjoy our Pina Colada in peace.
Secondly, snacks. Buy all the snacks. Everything. Anything. Just buy it. Don’t bother thinking about what kind of snack would be the most nutritious, what would provide the least amount of mess, the whos and the whats of storing perfectly chopped carrot sticks. No, fuck that. Bulk buy whatever you can fit into your hand luggage and take it all. Kids are the same as adults, a snack makes everything better. But, when the snack runs out, that’s when things go sour.
I’m not one for giving huge amounts of ‘unhealthy’ snacks, but when you’re on a packed plane and the toddler throws you that ‘look at my eyes mother, these are me pre tantrum eyes mother, give me what I want mother’ then I’ll be the first to justify buying that hugely overpriced Toblerone and giving her the whole fucking thing. Two euros for a tiny pod of Pringles? I’ll buy 4. Lollies. Gums. Weird cakes shaped like a teddy with even weirder chocolate shit in the middle? I’ve got them. Pom Bears, by the multi-pack load. They may be tied up, but if you want real peace from your kids to drink that Pina Colada you’re gonna have to dish out the snacks, so invest now and start saving up snack supplies, it’s the only effective bargaining and silencing chip you have.
Thirdly, travel money. What you think you need, just go ahead and triple it. No matter how much you think you can budget, or think you know you will spend, it’s all a lie. You are going to give in to everything. You’re going to buy the overpriced tat. You’re going to buy pointless plastic shit. You’re going to let them eat you out of house and home. Don’t even pretend this isn’t going to happen, and especially don’t include within the ‘budget’ money you have allocated to the kids. If you say you are going to give them £30 for the week, we all know the realistic number is somewhere nearer £60, minimum. And that doesn’t include snacks or eating out. Which you will do, despite thinking maybe you could eat in the apartment most nights. You won’t. You’ll be so tired of dealing with kids all day, the last thing you will want to do is crack out the chopping board and fire up a family size portion of fajitas.
Toddlers eat, a lot. It’s disturbing. On holiday it’s no different, in fact is abhorrent how much food I watched Jess shovel down her gullet. Once they’ve went chorizo, there’s no going back. A simple, naive gesture of introducing the delights of chorizo and cheese on toast for breakfast will result in chorizo and cheese on toast for EVERY breakfast. And this isn’t an ‘instead of’ kinda breakfast, it will be an ‘alongside’ breakfast. You’ll still have to produce the normal, at home, cereal, milk and fruit breakfast. God forbid you don’t give them their normal feast, it’s not worth the hassle and foot stamping. No matter how much you try to explain that they’ve ‘had enough’, they still want more. You’ll look into your emptying wallet and realise the cost of feeding your child on holiday goes through the lovely terracotta roof. They eat a lot and you’ll drink a lot, because, kids. It doesn’t come cheap, get the bank on the blower and open another credit card, debt Is reasonable, children aren’t.
Fourthly, there’s various different methods of tagging your child, in case the rope snaps and you manage to lose sight of them – cocktails tend to blur ones vision after a while. You can write your name and phone number on their clothing or get wristbands with all your contact details – if you really want your children to find you after you dump them by the pool and do a runner. But, I guess we don’t really want to lose them, at least not for ever, and I’m pretty sure border control might ask where they are- I’m just guessing…
The best way to keep track of your child, and for the greatest peace of mind, I suggest inserting a GPS tracking device directly into their skin. The back of the neck is usually a good spot, in the same area Terminators chips are located. There’s nothing more terrifying than losing a child, let alone losing them on an expensive holiday than you have been day dreaming about for months maybe even years. You’ll begrudgingly have to put down the Pina Colada and search for rouge children in the basking heat that you’ve saved all year for. Ain’t no one want to be wasting valuable sun bathing and cocktail drinking time looking for an AWOL child. Do your sanity a favour and brand those little suckers with tracking devices, a quick tap of an app and they will be found in no time. Maybe even install a tiny electric shock on the tracker, that’ll teach em not to stray.
Fifthly, headphones, decent headphones. And for the love of god do not buy the bloody pointless child ear protecting ones, you know, the ones that don’t go a decibel over the whisper of a fairy fart, as to protect the delicate ear buds of your progeny. That’s all very well and good in a quiet setting, like their bed on a weekend morning when you give them the YouTube viewing device as a ‘treat’ – a treat for the knackered parents. But have you seen the rage of a toddler on an aeroplane with those whispering pieces of nonsense?! I actually agree with her on that one. What in the hell was I thinking. Don’t buy them. The plane will no sooner be taking off when you will see yourself, willingly, handing over your wonderful, prized, Denon headphones to the unappreciative ears of a toddler who cannot fathom the exquisite tone and purity that Denon so eloquently supply. Peppa Pig never sounded so good. But then again, silence from your child never sounded so good either. I hope you enjoy the sound of turbines, because if you buy those shit headphones that’s what you will be listening too for 5 hours – and the cries of a thousand kids whos parents also bought shit headphones.
I hope you take these essentials with you, learn from my mistakes. Please. And I would wish you a ‘happy holiday’ but if you’re traveling with a kid, or worse still KIDS, then the chances of you having a relaxed, care free holiday are as about the same as me winning the Canadian Lotto. I wish you a mildly anxiety and stress filled holiday and a quick return back home to decent WiFi and the ability to leave your kids without fear of them drowning in the pool.