Thursday, June 9, 2011

Traveling with kids: 10 symptoms of travel-fever

Are we there yet?
 It's now less than a month before I head to Sweden with my children to visit family and friends, do some sightseeing, and generally just hang out and enjoy ourselves.

The trip itself is not my favorite thing to do: about 20 hours or so of travel time, spread out over three flights and three airports, four if you count our final destination: Seattle's SeaTac, Iceland's Keflavik, Stockholm Arlanda, and finally SkellefteƄ Airport. But in spite of that I am looking forward to it: the destination and the company over there is definitely worth the trouble.

The destination.
Children & travel fever
With the school year winding down and that departure date approaching, my kids are already showing several severe symptoms of travel fever:

  1. Repeatedly asking when we're going to Sweden - My 8 year old son asks me this about 20 times per day right now. Or maybe it's 200 times and I just stopped counting after 20. He looks just as relieved every time I tell him our travel date, the airport we're leaving from, and how many flights we're taking.
  2. Imagining that we're already in Sweden - My 4 year old daughter does this a few times per day. The other day, being in Sweden involved seeing wild cats and wild boar, and feeding pasta to a lamb. I'm not sure we'll be doing any of that once we're there, but we'll see.
  3. Telling me what they want to pack - Having a vast collection of stuffed animals makes it challenging for my daughter to decide which ones of her plush friends are coming with us. The passenger list for her carry-on changes daily. I'm just hoping they're all relatively small and squashable.
  4. Every time you see an airplane, tell your mom you want to be on it - Airplanes headed for Vancouver International Airport fly over our house (at a rather high altitude luckily) every day. And whenever my son sees a particularly large airplane, he announces that he wants to be on it. At least this makes a change from asking me when we're going.
  5. Get into fights about what to do first once you get to your destination - Yes, my kids are doing this. It usuallu starts with something like: "I want to go fishing when we get there!" "No! I want to go pick blueberries in the woods!" And then it's off to the races. Siblings: life would be so dull without them, right?

Samsonite Oyster 29" Hardside CLOSEOUT (Red)Adult travel-fever
My own symptoms of travel-fever are somewhat more under control, or so I'd like to think. But being a worry-wart with a brain primed to imagine any and all improbable horror scenarios can increase the severity of the symptoms.
  1. Checking the expiry dates on every family member's passport at least three times per week - Just in case they changed since last time I looked...
  2. Looking at the flight itineraries and e-tickets at least once per day - Just in case the dates and times have magically changed to some other dates and times while I wasn't looking.
  3. Starting lengthy lists of items to buy, pack, and wash - This is actually more of an attempted cure of travel fever than a symptom. I love lists and I live by lists, so making long lists soothes me. It's just keeping track of the lists that is difficult.
  4. Getting sidetracked in any store if there is a set of luggage on sale - This is a new symptom for me. I'm suffering from it this time because a wheel popped off my 24 year old red, Samsonite hard sided suitcase on our last trip. That suitcase has gone with me everywhere. I keep looking at all kinds of fancy new luggage sets, but I still haven't found one that looks as good to me. Until I found its twin.
  5. Fretting over potential traffic jams at the border  - We'll be driving down to Seattle and flying out of SeaTac, and I'm already worried about long lineups at the border crossing, and accidents on the highways, three weeks before we're heading out. Fretting is actually a very ineffective way to deal with any potential (or non-existing) problem, but try telling that to my brain.

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