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Smarter Mom: Handling The Not-So-Perfect Trip

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Soooo, let's play the pretend game. Let's pretend that on the morning you are supposed to get to Omaha, there is a huge snowstorm. You are on your stop-over in Chicago, and the big electronic board of Arrivals and Departures starts flipping to a long list of red "DELAY"s...and yup, your flight is one of them. You and the family are stranded, at least for a bit. What do you do?

It could be a flight delay, a flat tire, horrible traffic on 1-95, or a myriad of other things that mess up those well-laid travel plans. How do you handle the not-so-perfect trip? Freak out? Get mad? The number one thing to remember is how you react to a blip or blizzard in the road impacts to how your kids will react. Here are some ideas to just plain bad travel juju hits your trip.

-- Be honest. As you hit the fifth hour of waiting at the airport or in the crawling line of cars, and he kids begin to whine, "This is NO fun!", agree with them. It isn't fun. It isn't great. Be honest, but don't dwell on it.

-- Try to keep the fun going. Turn it into a mystery or adventure or a scavenger hunt. This helps for a little while. Make a huge list of things you need to find or play the "what if" game - what if that man has a mechanical monkey in his briefcase?

-- Keep your sense of humor and perspective. This isn't so bad, keep breathing, remember patience and the fact that every person, from the lady behind the ticket counter to the waitress at the diner to your kids, is dealing with their own "life stuff" right now. Don't take your "life stuff" out on them.

--  Get a mantra ready before you leave the house. There will probably be delays. Your kids may describe Great Aunt Lila's creamed oyster stew as "Something the cat threw up" right in front of Aunt Lila. The flight attendant may not have the warmest demeanor. No matter what it is that makes your trip not to great, have a mantra to keep you focused and from not flying off the wall.

Share how you handle travel stress...or when you didn't handle it so well! 

© juliardi 

by on Nov. 15, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Replies (11-20):
by June on Nov. 15, 2012 at 11:37 AM

We've only had problems a couple times.  The 1st was our fault (weren't familiar with the airport, so we missed our flight.  It was just DH and I so no big deal.  The worst part of it was we didn't get our luggage until the next day.

The other time, my sister, her DH, my oldest son, and I were flying to Ireland.  Our flight left from Chicago.  It sat on the tarmack for an hour.  We got to Toronto as our next flight was taking off.  United wouldn't pay for a hotel for the night (the next flight was at the same time the next day) because the delay was supposedly because of bad weather in Philidelphia.  Still don't know how that caused our plane to sit on the tarmack for an hour....  But, we made the most of it.  Explored some shopping areas near the hotel we found.  It made for a whirlwind trip in Ireland, though.

by on Nov. 15, 2012 at 12:07 PM

 I don't  fly very often, but extra snacks, games, and books to keep the kids busy is a must in the car.

by on Nov. 15, 2012 at 12:10 PM

I actually do not travel all that often, so this is not something I worry about.  I mean, I do get stressed, but I am able to pull through since it's not common for me to have to do that kind of thing.  I just go into it expecting things to go wrong and for there to be delays, etc.  And I leave extra early to give myself time to deal with it.

by on Nov. 15, 2012 at 12:10 PM

Isn't it amazing how a piece of technology can entertain kids for hours?! :)

Quoting MixedCooke:

Ipad with Sesame Street, Caillou, Nursery Songs, children geared apps.

by on Nov. 15, 2012 at 12:11 PM

Quoting lil_mama06:

We don't travel by plane as a family, too many of us..But we have had busted hoses and flat tires and not judged the next gas station so well..But my dh ALWAYS has extra hose, a spare tire and 10 gallons of gas ( in jerry cans in the back) And I tell my kids beforehand to expect delays,heat,exhaustion but to remember to have FUN...And one year we were traveling it was HOT..SO we had ice wars in the car...Everyone cooled down a bit and within a few minutes it was dry...That's why I say BE FLEXIBLE, sometimes your best laid plans get sabbotaged...And we are way out west and HATE the city....   

I agree with flexibility!  As long as you can roll with the punches, you'll be fine. :)

by on Nov. 15, 2012 at 12:12 PM

Exactly... just overplan in terms of entertainment and all will be fine.

Quoting mereinhart28:

I try my best to keep things positive. Generally we would have plenty of things to keep the kids occupied.

by on Nov. 15, 2012 at 12:34 PM

 I don't travel so I don't have any stories

by on Nov. 15, 2012 at 1:22 PM
iPod an a book.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
by on Nov. 15, 2012 at 1:55 PM

 I stay calm. I think kids pattern their parents attitude. I think it makes a big difference.

by on Nov. 15, 2012 at 6:40 PM

With our son and his autism that would be an utter disaster! but that is why we drive. We would probably have to find a hotel and get a new flight or see if there was a bus or something for us to take. sitting with large crowds of people is just torture to the little guy and he cant help it

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