Planes, Trains & Transportation with kids.

by Tanya on April 14, 2014


On Aer Lingus to Ireland, March 2011

Boarding Aer Lingus to Ireland, March 2011

I hear comments often referring to the dreadful long plane and train rides with kids.  I’m glad to say I don’t know what they’re talking about. Long plane and train rides for the most part have always been a pleasurable part of traveling for them and us as a family. It’s the beginning of the journey and for us the journey is part of the destination. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve encountered non-perfect situations (missed flights and other not foreseen delays).

One that stands out vividly was on our way to Norway, summer 2013. We missed our flight from Atlanta to Oslo, via Amsterdam, Delta’s fault, and couldn’t get on another flight till the next evening. We luckily have a friend in Atlanta, so after not getting on another flight standby, we visited for a sleep over.  Unfortunately, missing this flight totally changed our train & tour plans once in Norway, so we had to stay up till 3am, Norway time, to call the tour company to change our itinerary, so not much sleep. Since we had no choice of where we sat on the nine hour flight to Amsterdam, YEP we got the very back row, near the restrooms, where the light stays on all night,  people hang out, talk and there was a crying baby. So much for sleeping on the plane.  It was miserable. By the time we reached Amsterdam and made our connection to Oslo it was me, not the kids, that was melting down.  The hours we had to spend in Oslo train station were the icing. Normally I love this time, but instead I was  incredibly irritable, it felt as if my skin were crawling and my clothes were the cause. I wanted no one near me in this busy Oslo train station.  I was so thankful my kids were troopers, no complaints, not once. I’m sure I did enough of that for all of us. By the time we got off the train in Flam it was 10:30pm, still bright as day out and we had a mile walk to our hostel, but the scenery was breathtaking and I was happy and tired.  It’s a wonderfully surreal memory, all a part of the adventure.

Our walk to hostel, Flam, Norway, Summer 2013

Our walk to hostel, Flam, Norway, Summer 2013

As far as why my children travel well, I can’t possibly know this for sure. We’ve had them on planes, ships and automobiles since they were babies, we didn’t wait until they were older, maybe this helped. With today’s technology there is an abundance of hand-held devices to keep them occupied, most long flights are equipped with current blockbuster movies to watch. Great time to catch up. To Italy you have time for four movies if you don’t sleep.  We even love the horrible food they serve because it’s novel, part of the adventure of flying.  My daughter likes to put a couple of dolls in a baggie and prepare some coloring tools for travel. Bring books. Now is not the time to force a child to do something un-fun, like homework or reading if they’re not in the mood, you’re asking for trouble. Make this time fun and let them bring an assortment of small things that they choose and are interested in. My son prefers sticking to hand-held devices and movies, maybe music for a bit or reading. Keep in mind, mine are 10 & 12 now, but when they were younger we’d bring snacks too.

Gavin, heading to Ireland March 2011

Gavin, heading to Ireland March 2011

So kick back and enjoy the hum of the plane and the scenery out the train window, it’s all a part of the adventure.



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