The Beautiful, Messy Truth About Travel: We All Have Challenging Days

July 10, 2017

We’ve really lucked out when it comes to travel and have a kiddo that mostly goes with the flow. That being said, we’ve had our fair share of challenging days as well so I thought I’d give you some insight into our most recent event, the trip from Berlin to Hvar.

Zack and I closed the door to our Berlin Airbnb last Monday feeling good. We were not just on time for our flight, but we were early. Our Taxi driver would arrive in 15 minutes so we had some time to kill outside. We set our backpacks and Owen’s stroller near the door and let Owen get out some energy before the long day of travel.

The Taxi Ride

Our driver arrived on time, with the proper carseat in a Mercedes none the less. We popped our luggage in and we were on our way. So far so good.

About half way to the airport I turned to Zack and said, “Hey, you left the keys there right?”. A look of panic washed over him as he told me he hadn’t, they were in his pocket.

Because we had ordered a car service and our driver had other clients to tend to, he did not have enough time to circle back to the Airbnb and get us to the airport on time so we stuck with it. The taxi driver actually offered to take the keys back for us and our host approved. Crisis averted.

Just as we were shaking that first hiccup, Owen began to fuss. His typical, I’m getting motion sickness fuss. Zack and I took deep breaths and tried not to look one an other in the eye. Remember, we’re in a Mercedes and the driver is already going above and beyond to help us.

We’re less than five minutes away from the airport when Owen starts to vomit (and it was a lot of vomit). Luckily, it all landed on himself, the carseat and good ole mom, but panic began to creep back in.

We pull over at a car wash, clean Owen up, clean the carseat and get back in and make it to the airport with no further issues. Deep breaths again.

The Flight

All seems safe and sound once we’re at the airport. Owen is in great spirits, eats some crackers and seems like he’s on his way up.

We board the plane, get comfy and after we’re up in the air the drink cart comes around. I pass Owen’s water bottle to Zack and ask him to get a little water for O. He does.

Zack hands the water bottle back to Owen and he takes a swig only to immediately spit everything out and burst in tears. THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT GAVE US HOT WATER.

Our anxiety sky rockets as we snuggle Owen and take deep breaths as to not make a scene. Luckily, Owen was totally fine, just a little scared (rightfully so). And I mean lesson learned as parents, even water must be tested.

After he calms down the rest of the flight is incredibly smooth. Owen even fell asleep prior to landing so he missed all the turbulence that could have sent us into another wave of motion sickness.

The Car Ride + Ferry Ride

We literally have the SWEETEST Airbnb host here in Hvar. She picked us up at the Split airport, drove us to the ferry and gave us the run down on everything we need to know about Hvar.

The car ride from the airport to the ferry was thirty minutes and although Owen seemed to be getting sick toward the end, there was no vomit – success.

We had some time to walk around Split before our ferry took off and I think that really helped us all, but after an hour long ferry ride Owen was getting queasy again. I’m happy to say we made it to our place with no vomit (a miracle)!

My point in sharing all of this isn’t to simply complain or even to gain your sympathy. My point in sharing this is to pull back the curtain a bit on what can often times seem like the highlight reel we share on social media. Sure, we are here and it’s beautiful and we are so happy, but we had one hellish day as we made our journey.

Getting from point A to point B with a toddler has been the hardest part of traveling for our family. We’ve had a few travel days that have gone very similar and if you’re watching the highlights of our travels thinking, wait, it’s always a nightmare when we go anywhere with the kids. Well, you certainly aren’t alone.

Days like this test both mine and Zack’s patience beyond belief, but we always come out of it united and happier than ever to get where we’re going.

As we all know real life doesn’t stop when you’re on vacation. It’s about taking these stressful situations in stride and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I don’t believe there is a single family who travels frequently who hasn’t had a day like this – one where everything just seems to go wrong. But what’s important is that it’s so worth it. The good days make up for the challenging days times ten and these experiences will forever impact our family positively.

What was your hardest travel day with kids?

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  • Our most stressful travel experience with our little one just happened a few weeks ago. We were traveling home from Houston after visiting friends and on our way to the airport our babe starting throwing up. And our kid has literally NEVER thrown up. EVER. Turns out one of the friends had a little one that had a GI bug and they passed it along to us. So two flights and a layover of a sick toddler later we got home and within a day he was better. It was the most stressful travel and parenting experience my husband and I have had. We just felt so bad for our little one though that it helped us power through the day.

    • Gosh, it’s so crazy seeing them vomit for the first time isn’t it? They really just don’t even know how or what to do and it totally breaks your heart as a parent. Well we have absolutely been there and all I can say is I hope you and your husband we’re both kind to yourselves after such a stressful day of travel. Cheers to being parents and still making travel happen!

  • Oh yes the good days make up for the bad, good for you for lifting the veil and showing the bad days too.

    Our worst was when my youngest was 2 months. I decided to fly to Australia from Switzerland with my three kids (aged then 2 months, 6 and 9) as well as my 15 year old nephew who didn’t speak English. First flight went well, but the second flight was a disaster. My 2 month old just screamed. Weird as she was such a content baby. Arriving at 8pm totally jet lagged, she still wasn’t settling and I just thought it was the long trip. After little sleep, the next morning I realized she had a fever so I had to leave my other kids with my nephew who didn’t speak English and take the baby to a dr. The dr couldn’t figure out what was wrong and pretty much thought I was a mother was worried too much and sent us to do a urine test just in case. Well we never got to do that test – as my 2 month ended up turning blue and vomiting so we rushed to hospital. Long story short, she had septic shock from a urine infection and ended up spending the first 5 days of our Oz stay in hospital recovering. My poor nephew had to deal with all my Aussie relatives and friends who didn’t speak German while I stayed in hospital. I owe him a lot of pancakes .

    • Oh my gosh Kristin, this must have been SO scary! Poor you and poor baby. Thank goodness your little one ended up being okay and it sounds like your nephew probably learned quite a bit during that time frame. What a stressful story!

  • Have you considered that perhaps his dairy intake may also be contributing to his fussiness? Say, milk before the car ride that morning for example. Just a suggestion, though considering how much ice cream he eats I’m sure you would’ve noticed if it didn’t sit well with him.

    • Yes! We actually have slowly been cutting back his dairy intake on travel days and it seems to help with his stomach, although he doesn’t typically have any issues with it on non-travel days. We actually just got him to try ice cream! We figure a few bites every now and then isn’t too much 🙂

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