5 things you do not need to happen on a family trip

2 Feb 2016

We have had our fair share of travelling disasters. On top of the usual airline delays, lost luggage, etc, we have 'visited' an Italian hospital with a toddler. We have been to an ear specialist while on honeymoon in the Indian Ocean. Without going into dramatic stories, there are those little annoying things that happen in every trip that you remember for years even though they didn't really spoil your trip or holiday.

Things you do not need to happen on a family vacation

Being told to get off a carousel ride
I am not drunk. I paid for it. I am not too big or too little for it. Why would anyone want me off this ride? Apparently, according to the famous mouse's park rules, a baby strapped into a baby carrier on your back (or front) is not safe there. No, Madam. You have to be removed from the carousel before it can start. I can walk, run, jump, even ride a bike with my baby in his baby carrier but I cannot sit and enjoy the slowest and smoothest of old-fashioned ride. Mama and baby cannot have fun even on the gentlest ride ever. Pffff.

Airline did not provide any changing facilities, seat belt or ticket for baby
Apparently, in the U.S. for internal flights, babies have no boarding card. They just do not exist. They also get no seat belt. You just hold them as best you can. And if you need to change them, well, you do it on your lap: poopy diaper or not. I can't say this is standard for all airlines but this happened to us on a very reputable American airline and we were shocked. The gentleman sitting next to me was too when I had to do what needed to be done with my 9-months-old.

Car rental staff who take over an hour to give you the wrong car
Car rental remains one of the few travel processes that has not been streamlined. It is so time consuming, inefficient and right down annoying when travelling with a family. You still have to present your 5 printed pages document, wait to speak to someone, wait while they check all the details you entered yourself twice already when booking. Then they proceed to find you a car, there is invariably something wrong with it. You go back. And keep going until it is right. Return is also usually painful and time-consuming. Someone help families out here? Because kids running around in a parking lot is just not fun.

Guide who told me to step away
When baby E was 9 months old, happily chatting away in his baby carrier, I was asked by a tour guide to stand back and let the others enjoy the tour as he was too distracting. Now, I have gone over this again and again in my head. Was he really that noisy? Was he too distracting? Am I just a crazy protective mum? He was not crying, just babbling every now and then. I would have happily stayed behind if he had been screaming. But the young tour guide took it upon himself to chat to him at one point and then asked me to stay away when baby E kept on babbling. Had he ignored him, he would have stopped. He obviously had little experience of kids and was taken aback by my chatty baby. But I was made to feel like a really bad mum, had to miss the whole tour and got no apology or comforting word from the guide even later on.

Lady who jumps the queue at a motorway pit stop
There is always one. You wait for your turn for 15 minutes to use the bathroom for yourself. You have a baby crying because he is tired in your arms. Then she turns up, jumps half the queue and then proceeds to tell you that changing rooms for babies are on the other side. Well, yes. Thank you. Very helpful. But mummy has needs too! Rather than letting you go through to relieve everyone's ears, she just stands there and takes her turn before you.

What about you? What little annoying things do you remember from those family outings/trips?


  1. Really re american internal flights... that is just awful! I do remember hearing that up until the survivors of the Sioux City crash (including the head stewardess who had to order parents to do it and felt awful about it) babies were put on the floor for emergency landings. Most of the babies on that flight died from smoke inhalation.

    I do remember a horrible guide having a go at our son when we were touring Lascaux, he was 9 months old and loved the paintings, he was just babbling and we were ordered out. That said we have, today, come back from a museum where Master and MIss EE participated in a 'handle the exhibits' workshop. Mini EE was in the pushchair with me and babbling away, neither the activity leader or any of the other participants (all elderly adults, mine were the only children) complained, indeed they said how nicely she was babbling.

    1. Mine were the only children in that tour too. And nobody had complained so I was even more upset. Adults chat even when tour guides talk sometimes so why would you ask a child to be quiet if he is not disturbing anyone.

  2. Oh man, these make me cringe! I'm just so sad about the tour guide one, but I do feel that children are seen as "annoying" or "disruptive" here more than they should be (in my opinion!) Kids should be allowed to be kids while mom still enjoys the tour!

  3. Possibly things have changed in the US regarding air travel. We have paper tickets for an 'infant in arms' from most airlines, and will be refused boarding without it. Also, I have never flown in an airline without a changing table in the lavaratory - it is strictly frowned upon to change a diaper in your lap. That's not to say I haven't done it :)

  4. Re: flying in the US: Yep, no boarding pass needed - which also means you don't pay for them OR their affiliated luggage. That's a perk. However, it could cause moments of stress when you're looking for that last non-existent boarding pass in your bag...
    Also, about the seat belt. IATA (I think that's the acronym for the equivalent of the TSA) did research on the different ways to secure (or not secure) infants on a plane. Obviously the safest option was to use a car seat and pay for an extra ticket. However, holding the baby on your lap with that funny little seatbelt or without? That really made no difference - both were equally harmful to the baby.
    Re: changing facilities - Were you flying on one of those little cityhopper planes? We've always had a changing table available to us (over the toilet in the tiny WC) in the standard size planes. However, now that our kiddo is 74+ cm, I doubt he'll fit, so we'll resort to the floor in the galley or something the next time we fly.

  5. Oh god so last time I was in America I am glad that I had 3 yrs old with me because had I had to change the diaper on the seats, it would have been a real mess.
    In India we are way too tolerant with kids so have never had any guide tell me anything. But I remember being on this animal Safari in the deep jungles of Corbett with a 6 months old as a co-passenger. And every time the guard told us to maintain pin drop silence, the baby would break into the loudest howls.
    But the guard still had no guts to tell its going mother and father how a 6 months old on an open safari jeep in the wilds is not the best idea


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