In 3 days, Z and I are tagging along with my husband on his business trip to Oman. While he goes to Oman, we will go ahead to Karachi for a few days where my grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles live. Then we will go to Lahore to see his family, then back to Karachi, then America again. Sounds ok, doesn’t it? However, the problem with tagging along with him on a business trip and scheduling a trip 5 days before leaving in a v.busy holiday season means there must be some drawbacks.
Here are the drawbacks: on the way to Karachi, we leave from 1. Atlanta stop in 2. Washington, 3. Frankfurt, 4. Riyadh (1 hour fueling…seriously?), 5. Muscat (Husband leaves) 6. Bahrain (Z and I), and finally 7. Karachi (Z and I hopefully will be alive and well by the end of this trip). Unfortunately, I like quick trips, with barely one stop. As you can tell, this trip will be nothing like my likes.
Domestic flights in the U.S. are easy and breezy. International flights (with a baby) are a totally different story. Before you get on a flight with a little one, you must not think of all the hours ahead of you, otherwise you will go crazy. Rather, you try not to think of it too much. Once on the flight, the reality sets in and you realize that 13 hours and 55 minutes on a plane are long, and the last hour of the flight will seem the longest ever.
This time, my usual 13 hour, 55 minute flight from Atlanta-Dubai is broken up with all the aforementioned stops. Maybe a stop here and there might help Z get her running/walking out of the way, but with all the numerous stops, I’m not sure what Z’s state will be like. Now that Z uses the bathroom, it may be nice to be able to use an actual bathroom, not just the airplane bathrooms. I’m just trying to look at the positives here.
I chose some quotes, so maybe when I am on my crazy-long-flight, I can think of these and feel slightly better.
1. “In America, there are two classes of travel: First class, and with children.” — Robert Benchley
Actually, this one doesn’t make me feel better. I know travelling with a child is hard, so I will think of all the mums who have children, i.e. 2, 3, 4 kids, who are travelling alone, and are stopping in many, many places, and whose kids are louder, crankier, and worser than Z. Also, I’m assuming this quote doesn’t just apply to America.
2. “He who would travel happily must travel light.” — Antoine de St. Exupery
This is something I must do. On my last trip, I think I took too many toys/books for Z on the flight. Travelling internationally, one can be tempted to overpack books, toys, goodies. However, there are many goodies on the plane even. Emirates airlines usually gives children friendly hand puppets, and I noticed Z was also entertained by the crackly food packages on the plane, lights, and more. This time, I am leaving behind the crayons and instead taking a small magna doodle, leaving behind the heavy board books and instead taking a few lightweight paper Urdu books for Z. Other things traveling with us: a mini doll, stickers, a light coloring book (stickers go in here), 2 mini playdoughs and a bunch of light ABC playdough cookie cutters that keep Z entertained! Also a little ball (that lights up) for the airports for her to chase after.
3. “On a long journey even a straw weighs heavy.”- Spanish proverb
Same as above, just trying to drill it in my head to travel light. A cool tip for the little ones: whatever toys you do take for them on their flight, hide them or put them away until their flight. That way, upon seeing their toys, they will hopefully think they are new, and be re-excited which means a longer time span entertained with them on the plane. 1 hour down, 12 more to go!
4. “Travel through the land and observe how He began creation. Then God will produce the final creation. Indeed God, over all things, is competent” (Quran 29:20).