Traveling Overseas with 2 Kids Can you do it?
We want to travel and see the world but it can be very intimidating to do so with kids. We decided to test the theory by traveling to Lebanon since it is familiar. My younger sister had a baby in February and Joe has been asking to see grandpa. I was going to do it alone since my husband has work and it would be hard for him to take time off. The idea that I am going to need to handle 2 boys alone on a 15-hour trip is very scary. Joe was not going to be much of a problem much on the flight. The worry was Bill the family tornado. He does not know how to sit still. How am I going to be able to handle him alone on a 10:00-hour flight I didn't know.
We booked with EgyptAir because it was the most reasonably priced flight during June. It was a daytime flight. Boarding was at 11:30 AM. Since Bill is only a year old we were hoping to get the bassinet area. Few days before the flight we called and asked for the seat but no luck. They have a first come first serve policy. We had to be at the airport by 9 AM to guarantee the bassinet area which they refused to give us because Bill was over 6 months. We got to the security and one of Bill’s Heinz pouches beeped. This means they had to follow protocol and made me empty my purse and backpack completely so they can check everything. I put everything back and was ready to leave when I noticed Bill had emptied his Cheerios on the floor. I go on my knees cleaning up as a father was yelling at his child to stop eating them off the floor. Now we are finally ready to go to the gate. Something was wrong with our ticket that they had to move our seat to a different one. We got lucky and it was a bassinet seat. It had so much leg space. When I got to that area all the people sitting there were young which means I should have been able to get it when I requested it. For some weird reason parents with kids that needed those seats with extra legroom got stuck in the middle.
The flight was not the worse. I was so happy because Bill was able to walk around and play a little due to the extra space in front of us. But what I thought was a blessing turned out to be a curse! People were not respectful that the extra leg room was meant for the kids. It was a place for the bassinet to go. Each side on the plane has 4 washrooms. 2 in the beginning of the row where I was sitting and 2 towards the end of the row. People would come to use the washrooms find their side full instead of waiting or going to the other washrooms on the same aisle, they would ask me to move the baby and cross over us to get to the other side. I was letting people through every 5-10 minutes. It was very frustrating! Due to this Bill was not able to sleep cause I kept moving so much to let people through. In the 10 hour flight he slept 2 hours and cried about 4. We landed with both kids asleep. No matter what I did to wake Joe up he was too exhausted. I was carrying the backpack on my back, I had Bill in the carrier, I had my purse and I had to carry Joe. I am standing waiting to get out of the plane and no one is letting me through. I thought with all the heavy lifting someone would give me a turn but I was wrong. I got out of the plane and asked for my stroller but there was no luck.
Apparently unless I bride the guy standing there I won’t get it even though it is marked to be delivered as soon as I leave the plane. He asked me where is my final destination and ran to get me A stroller. It was a big black one and it wasn’t mine. I showed him a picture of it and he went back to get it for me. During this time I was not able to carry anymore and Joe was standing there crying. I get my stroller and start walking to the gate. In the Egyptian airport, you go through security twice. After you leave the plane and right in front of your gate. We sat in front of the gate and I let the kids play a little around me. Some guy started telling to hold my kids hands because apparently, he is worried about my kids more than me. I was exhausted and not ready to hear any bullshit so obviously, I yelled at him and caused a seen.
They announce that the gate for our flight is open so we stood in line but it was still closed for another 15 minutes after the announcement. At this point, Bill wanted out of the stroller and is crying. Joe is tired and complaining as we are standing in front the open/closed gate!
The flight from Lebanon was only an hour and 15 minutes. Joe wanted to color so we opened the tray and it was disgusting. I cleaned it for him. He was distracted during this flight but Bill cried most of it because he was overly exhausted. We land in Lebanon and guess what? No stroller either!
In the past 20 hours, Joe had slept an hour. I have Bill in the carrier Joe is on the floor throwing a tantrum wanting me to carry him and I am trying to fill out their paperwork. We go stand in line to submit everything and get our bags. Joe is still crying and begging me to carry him. The Lebanese airport has no air conditioning and the temperature outside was 35°C (95°F). People in the line felt bad for and let me skip the line except for one person who would not let me go ahead of her. People kept telling her that I have kids and they are crying just let her pass and she totally refused.
Finally, we get the suitcases and the stroller. We meet my family and the kids get all the love and hugs they needed. Everything was good again. It was a long exhausting trip full and crying and screaming kids. A couple of time on the trip Joe would ask me to go back home because his dad was home. Even though he was so excited to see his grandpa he wanted to sacrifice that to be with his dad again. I almost cried once due to the constant crying! Now it is over and done.
The things I learned on this trip:
- Never trust EgyptAir to give me to stroller near the plane.
- Always have change if passing by Egypt for a layover. Bribes are the way to get your basic rights.
- You meet nice people when you are in a pickle. I had people that skipped me as I struggled and I had people that helped me watch one of my kids as I tried to calm down the other.
- Sometimes you need to be rude. I should have stopped people from going over us. It made it a much harder trip because Bill wasn't able to nap.
- No matter how hard it is there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Eventually, the flight ends and the good parts begin.
- The fear of the flight was worse than the flight.
- Make sure the kids get as much sleep as possible on the plane to avoid a meltdown later during the trip when I am already tired.
- It is doable. I would definitely do it again especially now that I know what to expect.