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Family Travel: Our Worst Moments in 2016

If traveling as a couple has highs and lows, traveling as a family has Mount Everests and Grand Canyons. It’s as rewarding and exhausting as you imagine it’ll be, but the profound impact a little traveler will have on your exploration aspirations cannot be overstated.

We spent a good part of 2016 learning HOW to travel all over again, but no amount of forethought could’ve prepared me for some of the things we had to deal with on the road.

graphic

1. Changing an Epic Diaper on a Moving Bus in Japan (*Warning: graphic details to follow, so skip if you’re squeamish).
The whole diaper changing thing is not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Most of them are handled easily, and there have really only been about 10 in Naia’s entire 16 months of life that have been really nasty. And of those, only 2 that I would categorize as truly epic.

One was the very first time our little one figured out how to have a solid poo. We were as surprised as she was, and let’s just say, it culminated with her dropping little brown torpedoes onto daddy’s foot while he watched helplessly. Hahahaha.

The other happened enroute to Kansai Airport on Naia’s first international trip. This was an eruption to rival Vesuvius, that was barely contained within the confines of her oh-so-inadequate diaper. And it could not wait until we arrived at the airport.

Imagine if you will, 2 parents trying not to kill all the other passengers using a powerful biological weapon, desperately trying to clean a 5 month old baby as the bus is weaving in and out of traffic. All I can say is, thank god, there was a bathroom on the bus.

Lesson Learned: ALWAYS carry wet-naps, extra diapers and a large ziploc bag in case of poopoo emergency.

2. Being Totally Unprepared on the Cinque Terre Hiking Trails
A 2km hike should be a piece of cake right? At least that’s what we thought when we set out on the trail between Levanto and Monterosso al Mare. Turned out we were dead wrong. And totally unprepared. No water. No food. No quarter given on a hike that was quite possibly the longest and most difficult 2 km of my life.

Did I mention Agri was carrying our 8 month old baby in the ErgoBaby? In truth, she was probably fine, but knowing that did little to assuage our worry or our guilt. Talk about an unpleasant 6 hours. Yeah. 6 hours.

Lesson Learned: Do your research, and always carry water. Period.

3. Sleep Regression in Europe
Did you know that sleep regression was a thing with babies? Yeah, me neither. But I found out all about it over our 3 months of travel in Europe, as our previously sleeping through the night baby shortened her sleep week by week by week, until she was only sleeping 3-4 hours at a time. At some points it was as bad as 1.5-2 hours at a time – an event that made this sleep deprived mama want to slit her wrists.

It turns out that some babies stop sleeping when they make cognitive leaps, and Naia was one of them. Add in the fact that I was basically sticking a boob in her mouth every time she started crying at night (you know, hotel rooms and disturbing other guests), and it was a recipe for total disaster. At least in the sleep department.

Lesson learned: Actually, there is no lesson. Besides accepting that parenthood means that you never get to sleep again. EVER.

Have you braved the world with a little traveler? Do you have horror stories? Please…please tell us all about them in the comments below. πŸ˜‰

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60 Comments Post a comment
  1. Hehe! Loved this one…:)

    February 4, 2017
  2. Haha, I have not travelled with a little one and if I do, I really do not think my small arms can carry them around. Agri looks like he does not mind hoisting Nala around, and props for him to do it all the way on the 2km hike. Maybe all the time Agri was thinking that this is a good workout for his entire body, even better than the gym πŸ˜€

    Hahaha. I laughed at this photo of him with the ice-cream and Naia. Like a hero, carrying both the ice-cream and Naia πŸ˜€

    February 4, 2017
    • I am not that strong myself, but having a baby definitely makes you stronger, little by little. It’s almost like a weight training program. Naia was a preemie and started out at 2.25kg and was easy to carry around, and now she’s over 10kg and I can STILL carry her around (though of course, not as long or as easily as Agri). I see tiny, little mothers carrying their BIG kids around in Korea all the time, so I think you’ll be surprised by what you are capable of when the time comes. πŸ™‚

      February 5, 2017
  3. Those hiking trails remind me too much on my last blog post regarding Langzhong! On that hill we visited we were with Nathan and his baby buggy…it was a complete disaster as we had to master hundreds of steps leading up and down. So I had to carry that thing with around +37 degrees celsius, it was a real mess I tell you that

    February 5, 2017
    • Honestly, I think strollers are more trouble than they’re worth, half the time when traveling. There are so many places where they’re almost impossible to use, and you just end up leaving it somewhere and carrying the baby around! Though I guess carrying it around like that must’ve been a good workout for you. Haha. πŸ˜‰

      February 5, 2017
  4. I think my worst travel memories with kids all had to do with herding them in crowds. We traveled with our 3 kids who are close in age and often tried to use public transportation, which resulted in dragging kids and luggage up and down subway stairs, around chaotic streets (the horrendous Etoile in Paris comes to mind), and through other crowded places. It was physically difficult since they couldn’t carry much, and it was mentally taxing because I always thought I was going to lose somebody (and did one New Year’s Eve in Sydney!). We have emerged unscathed on the other side, and they all love traveling now even though there were a few years in there when the youngest begged to be left at home!

    February 5, 2017
    • Oh man, I can totally see how stressful that would be. It’s hard enough with just Naia, and there are the 2 of us, but with 3?!?! I can’t imagine. You’re seriously brave. But they must have learned such amazing lessons through all the travels. I love that you use public transport as much as possible. We also do…but I must admit that we rent many more cars traveling now, then we ever did as a couple. It just makes things so much easier! How old were your kiddies when you were doing that? Sometimes in crowded places, I’m so afraid that someone won’t see Naia and knock her over or step on her! 😦

      February 6, 2017
      • By the time we were dragging all 3 around (overseas for sure), the youngest was probably 3 years old, and the others 5 and 7. We definitely rented cars outside the big cities and it was great to just throw a few baguettes, some cheese, and Toblerone into the back seat and drive in relative peace – haha!

        February 6, 2017
        • Wow! 3, 5, and 7. Seriously intense. Kudos to you for managing it. Um…that sounds like a lunch made in heaven. πŸ™‚

          February 7, 2017
  5. hahahaha… sleep-deprived… been there, done that. oooppppssssq, sorry about being so smug about it. but i’ve earned it hehehehe… as you also will. i was surprised when i met a friend who had a stopover at inches airport. she had a 2-month old baby and when it was time to clean up the baby, we went to the toilet together. She has all those stuff, plus a purple-colored disposable gloves (made for cleaning up babies). Sooooo convenient.

    February 8, 2017
    • So there is an end to being sleep deprived? I’m starting to feel like it will never end and I’ll just always be tired. πŸ˜… haha your friend is super prepared, not sure if I could ever be that organized

      February 8, 2017
  6. ravenoustravellers #

    I don’t have any kids so this was fun for me to read (sorry I know I shouldn’t laugh but some of your stories were funny, even though I bet they weren’t at the time – you have to look back and laugh right!!) It’s great that you still travel, even with your little one, and it will be great memories for you to look back on as a family! keep it up!

    February 8, 2017
    • Haha yeah they were definitely not fun at the time, but we survived (though that diaper was pretty deadly). I’m sure our little one will l

      February 12, 2017
      • Sorry hit reply by accident… was gonna say I’m sure our little one will love having all her escapades posted for all the world to see. Poor girl. πŸ˜‚

        February 12, 2017
  7. Thanks for sharing those baby stories with us. Will definitely be something to bear in mind if we’re ever in the same situation and yes, they were pretty funny:) Embarking on a year long trip all over with my fiancee in March so I’m sure we”ll be experiencing quite a few highs and lows…
    We’ve made the same mistake with regards to the “easy” hike though.

    February 8, 2017
    • How wonderful that you’re traveling for a year! We did that back in 2012 (before baby of course) and it was the best thing ever. Haha if u can make it through a year of travel together u can make it through anything. πŸ˜‰ Where are u starting out?

      February 12, 2017
  8. I admire people who travel with kids because we plan on doing it one day when we/if we decide to have children. I love finding blogs who travel with their kids too because it’s inspiring but I have to be honest no one really shares these raw/honest challenging experiences. Even though the poopy diaper in Japan was a horrible moment for you I couldn’t help but chuckle at how uncomfortable the situation must have been. It looks like you also have learned alot from these experiences and have passed on some valuable tips for anyone considering doing the same!

    February 9, 2017
    • Babies seem to have an inner radar that tells them the exact perfect time to make a diaper change as inconvenient as possible. It’s never when there are 5 perfectly good washrooms around…it’s when you’re on a moving bus that you can’t get off of. ARGHHH!!! >.< But it does make for interesting stories and "unexpected" adventures. πŸ™‚

      February 13, 2017
  9. Hahaha you both are troopers. It can be stressful enough just traveling, I can’t imagine doing it with a little one in tow. It’s awesome to see families traveling, though, I wish I’d grown up on the road. Good on ya for laying a strong foundation for your little one! Keep on traveling!

    February 12, 2017
    • If it were up to me, I’d “world school,” our little one (but my hubby is a little more conservative with regards to these things), but I definitely wanna keep exposing her to as much of the world as possible. I’m not sure how much she’ll actually remember from these years, but she’s already been to 7 countries and visited both Italy and Greece twice! πŸ™‚

      February 13, 2017
  10. Oh noooo – the changing a diaper on the bus story sounds so horrible! But when you gotta go, you gotta go! I don’t have children so I can’t share any stories but I’m sure if I ever do have any, there will be some hilarious travel stories to tell!

    February 12, 2017
    • Haha, horrible is a pretty good word for it. I’m still in shock that something so small and cute can produce something so incredibly awful. And with the best timing ever…like she’s secretly laughing at us while this is happening.

      February 13, 2017
  11. Whoa to the sleep regression thing! Actually my sister’s baby might have gone through the same thing because there were painful periods in the last year when the little one simply refused to sleep for more than a few hours each night, driving him and my sister mad. I’m going to look more into it and share anything I find out! It’s kind of crazy that the silly doctors never even mentioned the possibility of this phenomenon. Thanks for the insight!

    February 13, 2017
    • I KNOW! I couldn’t believe it when I found out about it…and sadly, it’s something that recurs over and over again at different developmental stages. I literally felt like I was going insane over the summer. It’s amazing how a lack of sleep can make you crazy and make you hate your husband. Haha. πŸ˜‰

      February 13, 2017
  12. The Soul of Seoul #

    These are the moments that you’ll remember forever and then can hold over here when she’s older. “Don’t even say anything right now, I had to change your poopy diaper on a bus loaded with people once and that was horribly worse than this…” whatever this is hahaha. We still talk about some of these type horror stories in my family. We grow, learn and seriously, I think traveling with an infant is the worst time just because of the poop. UGH! Gets better from here… I hope!?

    February 13, 2017
    • That poop was extraordinary in more ways than one. πŸ˜‰ All I can say is it BETTER get better from here… πŸ˜‚

      March 1, 2017
  13. I find it stressful enough trying to keep myself slept, fed and entertained when I travel, I could not even imagine with a baby. Huge applauds to you for taking your wee one to see the world. Despite the worst moments, I’m sure that you’ll never forget those experiences.

    February 13, 2017
    • In a strange way, long haul flights go way faster than they used to, though they are definitely more tiring. We don’t get a chance to watch movies or relax anymore, but somehow 11 hours goes by in a flash because you are so busy dealing with your little one. Honestly, I can’t wait till she’s old enough to sit and watch cartoons by herself on the plane. πŸ˜‰

      March 1, 2017
  14. Naia has they best facial expressions! She’s completely unbothered and going to do what she wants. We do a lot of road trips in my family (and my mom has a daycare, so I was surrounded by children 24/7) … so I can totally relate to changing babies while traveling — omg it is the worst especially when trying to balance and not wanting to get crap on the seat or let their bums get in contact with the restroom. I think, the worst moment was when my niece who was maybe 3 or 4 fell asleep on my lap. I fell asleep. Woke up several hours later to realize she peed her pants. It was cold and the worst lol

    February 13, 2017
    • Haha, several hours of pee on your lap sounds absolutely fantastic. Ugh. Seriously, changing babies on the road has got to be the worst thing ever, especially since a lot of countries just don’t have the changing table situation figured out. We’ve had to improvise more than I’d like to think about! Fortunately, Naia is super unfussy and able to handle the constantly changing environments with no problem at all. πŸ™‚

      March 1, 2017
  15. Haha, quite a time. I recently went on a family road trip almost 3000 Kilometers and it was a wonderful experience. you may like to check it out.

    February 22, 2017
    • 3000 kilometres is intense. Glad it was a great family trip for you.

      March 1, 2017
      • It was but then, you don’t feel tired once you are in the himalayan ranges. It’s surreal experience.

        March 1, 2017
  16. areadingcat #

    Well, I don’t have a baby yet but I’ve thought about travelling with babies many times and after reading this post, I’ll still do it. It didn’t sleep like the lows were that many. Which is great, right? πŸ’ͺ

    February 23, 2017
    • I think the hardest thing about traveling with a baby is that you just never really get to rest, and traveling is tiring enough as it is. But you’re right, the benefits totally outweigh the lows, and now that she’s getting a little older, it’s getting even more fun, because she loves exploring everything. It’s funny to see her completely ignore the Colosseum (we’re in Rome now), in favour of chasing the pigeons in front of it. Haha. It really gives you a perspective on things.

      March 1, 2017
      • areadingcat #

        That’s lovely! Have fun! xx

        March 2, 2017
  17. My kids are a bit older, but I started late in traveling. I hope to start bringing them along on more journeys with me. It feels good to know there won’t be any diaper changes! Very encouraging, and it’s nice to see others taking charge of life and not bending under less than ideal circumstances.

    February 26, 2017
    • Now that she’s a little older (17 months in a few days), traveling with her is getting more fun, since she’s mobile and exploring on her own. She gets into all kinds of things that I would never even consider to look at, and gets us talking to a lot of locals, since she’s always smiling and waving at strangers. Still gotta deal with those diaper changes though… 😦

      March 1, 2017
      • It’s great that you’re experiencing positives. I was terrified to go grocery shopping with my little ones. I would change so much if I had it to do over. Ya’ll are ahead of the game!

        March 2, 2017
  18. We took our 7 months old baby with us in India. I have to change him in the aircraft but as it is his first time, it was a little bit chaos and a big surprise for me as his poop was all over his back. And he refuse to stay in place so mommy used her magic, sing in the washroom with all the people outside waiting for their turn.

    March 1, 2017
    • I’m sorry to laugh, but a first poop on the plane. I can only imagine, since our first poop was also total chaos. I’m always amazed at how the poop can defy gravity and travel upwards, but it happens over and over again. Haha. But wow, India as a first trip with baby. Tough destination even for jaded travellers…how’d it all go?

      March 2, 2017
      • Our sons first poop on the plane caused the airline staff to close off a toilet and spray the whole cabin, embarrassed much?

        March 2, 2017
        • πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ at least most of the plane didn’t know why? Poor you!! 😒

          March 3, 2017
          • We laugh about it now but wasn’t funny then. That little boy is 22 today. How time flys

            March 21, 2017
  19. I feel for you. Have been there too. Unfortunately the bigger the child the bigger the travel issues. Mine are all now grown up, well almost. We too have had some travel disasters, it’s like a whole new level to travelling isn’t it.

    March 2, 2017
    • Not sure how I missed responding to your comment! Probably sleep deprived. Haha. I’m starting to realize that. Our little one is about 21 months now, and I can already tell that traveling with her now will be a whole other ball game. A significantly more tiring and stressful one, but also potentially more interesting and engaging. (Or I’ll just go into hiding until she can talk and I can reason with her). πŸ˜‰

      June 19, 2017
  20. Love this! We have travelled with 3 for years, baby years are definitely the hardest as you have to pack for an army. And every time we had a major accident it was on an airplane, it is like they know you are stranded. Even with extra clothes, it never fails the baby takes the win. But you can look back and laugh!

    March 3, 2017
    • I can’t imagine traveling with 3 😲 1 is tiring enough! We’ve definitely changed the way we travel with a baby, more direct flights, nicer hotel rooms etc… and yes, they have like baby radar and seem to know exactly the worst time to have a major accident πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

      March 3, 2017
      • travelingbees #

        I promise it gets easier, the older they get.

        March 4, 2017
  21. It was so funny to read your lesson! πŸ˜€ You make such great parents! Keep up the great work!

    June 9, 2017
    • Haha that diaper incident was more than a little stressful AND stinky. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for reading!!

      June 9, 2017
  22. Haha love this! I’d like to point out that the front facing carry doesn’t seem right – not sure if the photos were taken in the “tired and almost about to pass out” mood. But you might want to read up on the right position for baby. Much love xx

    June 19, 2017
    • Haha, that’s always totally possible! I’m pretty sure it’s right though – I watched the Ergobaby vids on positioning etc… maybe it’s different for different carriers? Anyway she’s out of it now and running around causing terror in every direction, so it’s all good either way. πŸ™‚

      June 19, 2017
      • Yikes!! Mine is 7mo and I can’t wait to see what the future holds 😊

        June 19, 2017
        • Heh heh, prepare for total exhaustion on a level that can’t be explained (but different than the exhausting from breastfeeding etc…). At least they’re fun half the time. :p

          June 19, 2017

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