Are we there yet?
Travelling with kids is wonderfully mind-expanding, tan-giving and invigorating. And with this lovely weather, one’s thoughts naturally turn to weekend trips to the seaside, a few day’s camping, the happy countdown to take-off for your fortnight in the sun.
The only problem with it is the actual travelling part, especially if you’re taking the kids. See, once you factor in the hassle factor of travelling with your offspring, you’re very likely to conclude that the local park is quite far enough, thanks.
There’s very little point in taking anyone aged two or under anywhere at all. Car trip, Aer Lingus, the 46A… cheers, but they’d rather be naked under a sprinkler in someone’s garden (and that’s at any time of year). There’s little as life-sapping as hauling The Stuff They Need on any mode of transport. Forget about your 1kg baggage allowance, you’ll be paying through the nose for the pleasure of taking a miniature toilet, travelling wardrobe and wheeled chariot everywhere you go. Paradise Lost? Paradise Wasted, more like. You could be visiting the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and they’d still be shouting about wanting to go home to watch Iggle Piggle.
Schoolkids are no better. On the upside, you’ll no longer be responsible for every aspect of their food consumption, mastication and excretion. On the downside, you’re limited exclusively to activities or companions that are to their taste. Best case scenario is an all-inclusive holiday with a 24-hour kids’ club. Worst case is two weeks in a mobile home in the drizzle with their weird little friend who calls you Missus and smells like other people’s houses.
Teenagers are obviously too embarrassed to go anywhere with you. (That’s because you’re sooooo embarrassing.) They also need almost as many rest stops, snacks and snoozes as in their toddler days. Really, there’s no point in pretending that they wouldn’t rather be frantically locking tongues with some eejit at Irish College than doing almost anything with their like, family.
There’s a cunning solution to the problem of family travel though. Once you’ve arrived at your destination, ragged and hoarse from 5 hours driving the wrong way around the Ring of Kerry whilst singing My Darling Clementine, there’s little point in leaving. Eventually, the teens will meet new eejits, the kids some new odd friends and the babies will discover new and delicious creatures to be eaten in the new garden. So travel, by all means. But make sure you only get a one-way ticket.
Jenny Coyle is @MissMitford