Chickening Out, or, When Not to Travel

Not long ago the husband and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary.  We roped in my parents to babysit while we snuck out for a boozy lunch in town.  Over a bottle of wine an audacious plan was hatched…

This sort of nonsense will have to wait…

We had a bit of money saved and were planning on using it to do a couple of things around the house.  But sod that, let’s go on holiday instead, we decided, recklessly encouraged by the wine.   You only live once!  I proclaimed.  Let’s go to Thailand! he agreed, having never been.

The husband could get a very generous 3 weeks or so in September; plenty of time to go, adjust, relax and feel like we didn’t need to rush.  The plan evolved into stopping over in Dubai as we’d have to change planes there anyway and neither of us had seen the UAE.  It would also be great for the kids’ jet-lag, I encouraged.

The plan was thus:  overnight flight to Dubai, 5 days there.  Another overnight flight to Bangkok, 5 days there, then 10 days on Ko Samui.  Paradise!

I found reasonable flights, some lovely looking places to stay on Air B&B and some hotel deals on Expedia.  There would be family rooms with beds for all (not that that matters, at home we all pile in together anyway).  There would be pools.  There would be beaches!  Temples!  Markets!  Exotic fruit that didn’t taste merely of water!  I researched activities around the mid-day heat in the cities.   I even kept it in budget.  All the pages were open on my browser ready to book in a couple of clicks.  I was so excited.

Then we had a disastrous trip to London.  We had the Cub on foot and Bee in the Ergobaby as we hate faffing about with buggies, especially on the tube.  The train and tube journeys  were fine.  We met a friend on the South Bank and had a drink; all still fine.

We met some more friends for lunch and all hell broke loose.  The Cub had a screaming meltdown in the restaurant.  Then Bee joined in.  Everyone stared. Tears and snot were spattered everywhere. We took one child each, rocking and soothing to no avail, until I fed them both to sleep.

Our friends left to escape us push their toddlers around until they slept while we stayed in the restaurant, each pinned under a sleeping child.  Eventually we decided to cut our losses and fled back home, quite a bit poorer, and I hadn’t even managed to catch up with my friends.

Doubts then crept in about the holiday and taking an only-just 3 year old and 1 year old.  They didn’t enjoy our London trip; if they couldn’t cope with that how could we take them halfway around the world?   What would we do about car seats in Dubai?  We couldn’t carry our own the whole way.  What about a buggy?  The baby would be too hot in a sling in the tropics but Bangkok isn’t buggy-friendly.  What about mosquitoes and things like dengue fever?  Tummy bugs?   Were we just being selfish, considering our own wants and not thinking about how the kids would feel?  Would we just spend loads of money for us all to have a terrible time?

I could tell that the husband was talking himself out of it.  They will cope, I protested.  It’ll be fine.  But I had the same doubts about being selfish.

Eventually, of course, the plan was scrapped.  I was terribly disappointed but I know it was the right thing to do for our family.  It wouldn’t have been fair on the children – they are still too small.  We’re going to spend some time at our parents’ houses instead and I’m sure we’ll all have a lovely time.  The exotic destinations will still be there in a few years.  And the new patio looks nice.


Have you managed to take your tiny children on a long-haul trip?  Was it a success? Let me know in the comments!


5 thoughts on “Chickening Out, or, When Not to Travel

  1. lexklein says:

    Oh, that’s a painful story! All of it, but especially the canceling – such a disappointment. But having traveled with 3 kids for many years, I think you did the right thing for your little ones at that time and to that destination. I did not take my kids overseas until they were out of diapers and could locomote at least some of the time on their own two feet! You should check out Shelley and her Travel Stained blog; she is on a 3-month trip with her baby right now – impressive! I think our first big trip out of the country with little kids was Paris, and it was pretty good, with the exception of one major meltdown by all 5 of us trying to navigate the Etoile on the Champs-Elysées with suitcases ….

    • kidsandcompass says:

      Thanks for your comment!
      Yeah I think that’s what we’ve decided to do, neither of mine are ready yet.
      I will definitely take a look at Shelley’s blog, sounds very interesting!
      Did yours enjoy Paris?

      • lexklein says:

        Yes, although they probably don’t remember much – I think they remember hating the pizza at the Eiffel Tower and mundane stuff like that more than anything! They do have great memories of Amsterdam from that trip but maybe because my brother and family were living there and it was more relaxed. You’ll be off on jaunts with kids before you know it!

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