Travelling with kids; learning to adjust budgets.

We’ve just landed in London. A few hours later than expected – because we missed our flight this morning. No harm done, we were shifted to the next flight and we still arrived with plenty of time to spare. However with 4 flights in the past 7 days, I’ve learned that travel budgets have to change drastically when kids come along.

The obvious financial budget – compared to my backpacking days, I’m now paying 4 times the price for plane flights. When you’re travelling solo, you don’t mind the red eye flights, the ugly connections if it saves you $200. Times that by 4 with the family, and an $800 saving is very enticing. But a red eye flight with 2 kids is suddenly 4 times more painful. I took that option recently, finding an amazingly cheap flight. But doing a red eye with the kids – way too painful. Never again.

*NB Side note – the transfer from Sydney to Brisbane was so bad, we ended up just stumping up for a much earlier flight to make it home before midnight, so the cheap flight was null and void anyway.

FullSizeRenderThe budget I have really learned this week – is the time to get to the airport, through check in and to the gates budget. Single traveller, business trip, minimal luggage = online check in, carry on, through security, to the gate in 5 minutes. Time to either stay longer at home, or time to enjoy a meal and a beer before getting on the plane.

Travelling with kids, every section of the journey seems to take 400 times longer. First of all, we have to all get up, out of bed and downstairs. And I’ve discovered that can take at least half an hour. Of course, Jack always decides he’s hungry just as we’re about to leave. And he’s only hungry for something that takes time to make. Not a banana or an apple as we’re running out the door, but suddenly he wants an egg on toast.

Arriving at the airport and somehow everyone needs to use the bathroom, but never simultaneously. There can be a toilet stop before check in, another before security, another halfway to the gate, another in the line to board the plane. My male logical brain can’t comprehend it. How can you suddenly, desperately, urgently need to go to the toilet 5 minutes after your sister just suddenly, desperately, urgently ran to the toilet, which was 5 minutes after your mum suddenly, desperately, urgently ran to the toilet as soon as we got out of the Uber?

Security is a whole new fun ball game now too. There’s always something, somewhere that sets off an alarm. On Tuesday we flew home from Paris after visiting DisneyLand. Of course what did Jack want from DisneyLand? A light sabre. And it couldn’t possibly go in the suitcase. So we get to be the parents that walk through security with our son shooting people with his light sabre. (Of course I know you can’t shoot people with a light sabre, but HE doesn’t realise that).

Earlier in the year we were coming through Singapore and Jack had a toy gun which he’d bought from the markets in Thailand. So again, we get to be the parents that are walking through security while their son is screaming full pitch ‘I WANT MY GUN BACK’ after it had to be scanned. Thankfully, the Singaporean people are nice and relaxed and it was pretty funny in the end. In Paris, with the armed guards carrying M16s as big as small child – not quite as funny.

So as always, I’ve had to learn that patience is a true virtue. Being a parent requires almost super human patience in most areas of life. Patiently waiting for your son to decide exactly which flavour juice he wants from the shop despite the airline gate warning you that you’re about to miss your flight…. Patiently waiting for your wife to test every perfume in the duty free – even though she has no intention of buying them and she knows that our gate is closing…… Patiently waiting, patiently waiting.

From now on, I think I’ll have to only purchase afternoon flights, and tell everyone we have a morning flight. Maybe then, just maybe, we’ll make it from the bedroom, to the Uber, to the check in, to the gate on time. We can get to the airport, all our luggage makes it with us, and we enjoy a stress free trip. Cause isn’t travel meant to be a stress release?

Andrew