Visa and want: Chronicles of a travelling mummy

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Summer break is a few days away and the quintessential Delhi question has been doing the rounds: “So where are you going for the summer babe?”

Bhilwada, Bawal and Bhairaunch. OK?

Seriously this question gets under my skin. For two reasons:

  1. If our destination is the same, I seriously don’t want to run into anyone I know. No offence, but I escape the heat as much as I escape people. If I really wanted to see you, the plan would’ve been made, maybe even together! So please “babe”…..
  2. Your inane questions are teaching my kid to ask me the same question. How does he even know Switzerland exists? He’s 7. And frankly, I’m appalled that kids in school are discussing international vacations.

When I was growing up, summer vacation meant Nani’s house minus mom, dad and discipline, for 1.5 months. Just me, my brother, coke, lalaji ki dukaan, contra, mario and a ridiculous amount of hindi movies.

Today summer vacation has become a tamasha of sorts, with everyone making a beeline for visa offices, ‘babes’ exchanging notes over the kitty party and husbands clutching chests and cheque books.

Ok, my rant is over. So lets get to the point, I’m also travelling this summer ‘babe’. *kicks self in ass*

And my pilgrimage is nowhere close. West Coast, USA. The land far, far away. Short 22 hour flight. *slient sobbing*

And I’ve been traveling to the US with my son since he was 7 months old(a lot of our family lives there). And boy , was it hard to begin with. I had a toddler who insisted that his entire life’s worth of crawling be done in that 17 hour flight. AND I spent the time on ground changing diapers and disinfecting bottles. *swift death*

From the initial challenging times, baby A has turned into a travel superstar who handles my passports while I furiously stuff my suitcases overhead. He stands patiently in queues, and even holds his pee when I’ve been in situations with no way out. (Flip side: he’s vomited at every international and domestic airport possible.)

If it’s like this to travel with one, imagine what two can do!! So if you’re reading this and don’t have kids, please don’t give us dirty looks while we try to contain ours.

Here’s what I carry in my overnighter on long haul flights:

  1. A change of clothes (for everyone, i’ve landed in Koh Samui with no luggage, so trust me on that please)
  2. Wet wipes, my best friends.
  3. Medicines with a prescription please. Certain places in Europe tend to be sticklers for prescriptions.
  4. Headphones because the plane ones usually don’t fit little ears.
  5. Plenty of books and activity kits, please try to restrict toys as they only add weight and noise.
  6. Toothbrushes and tiny toothpaste, airplane breath and death smell the same.
  7. A scarf for mom that doubles as an extra blanket for the kids.
  8. A snack or a small meal. Since we all know much much airplane meals can suck. And a bottle you can refill with water/milk.
  9. I have baby eye masks for A because they keep turning lights off and on at all bizarre times
  10. Disinfectant. God only knows how much we love this as moms. Oh, and lotion and chapstick please.

This by no means is an exhaustive list. With babies it’s triple with the bottles and formula and changes and diaper and food. Ai yai!!

But it mostly covers the stuff that I would like to travel with. And has been fairly consistent no matter the duration of flight I’ve taken. 

(If you have something to add to the list, do put it in the comments section and I’d love to keep updating my own list!)

Kids are a handful and everyone has a unique set of challenges with their own. So don’t worry about it and don’t be embarrassed. We have all had our fill ( and continue to) of the unique things kids can say and do.

Hope you have a great summer vacation and I’ll be sending you pictures of mine soon. Aaaahhhhhh on my way to clean air!!

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