The elongated school holidays are almost upon us (aaaghhhhh!) – so we felt some Travelling With Kids tips were needed.
Step 1: Save a squillion bucks for a once in a lifetime trip to Fiji with 3 kids and 1 in my belly.
Step 2: Throw up 20 out of 24 hours a day with ‘morning’ sickness (a bloke decided to call it that – he only had the strength to hang around for a few minutes in the MORNING to watch!)
Step 3: Pack clothes, togs, towels, nappies, every medication known to man in case of headach or loss of limb.
Step 4: Repack so don’t need to take out a second mortgage for excess baggage charges.
Step 5: Listen to news. What is a Fijian COUP?
Step 6: Scream, cry, unpack bag, cancel trip, use all Panadol for stress headache.
Step 7: Talk to travel agent and decide to go on a once in a lifetime trip to Vanuatu!!
Step 8: Repack bag. Remember to buy more Panadol.
Step 9: Drive 3 hours to airport at 5am, listening to ‘arewethereyetarewethereyet …’
Step 10: Get seat allocation and find kids are booked on a different flight – panic, consider telling them we will meet them there. Remember I am breastfeeding and wonder if they have pumps to hire at the airport.
Step 11: No pump hire. Kids now on same flight. Wait for adventure to begin while spending a years salary on duty free grog.
Step 12: Swap seat with son, as he spills a can of Coke during a tantrum and will have another one if he gets a wet bum.
Step 13: Arrive Vanuatu. Discover transfer bus delayed.
Step 14: Arrive hotel. Discover the ‘free kids meals’ are only served between 5.00 and 5.01pm in the dining room off to the left of the hidden cavern under the bridge through the invisible gate next to the mermaid house. Order food for kids – only $25 for a hamburger, so order a $10 can of Coke in case child wants to spill another one that day.
Step 15: Go to room and give all children sedation before opening bottle of duty free. Tell husband to get his own bottle and lock self in bathroom.
Step 16: Next day, slight hangover (probably jet lag …). Tell family we are all happy and having fun, take kids to the pool for the morning with promise of trip to the hotel kids club and playground for afternoon.
Step 17: Kids club room floor flooded. Playground demolished.
Step 18: Get daughter’s hair braided for $75! That’s 3 hamburgers!!!
Step 19: Baby develops a very, very high temperature and rash on body. Complaining of sore head. Search through medical kit and find nothing to help. Get doctor to visit. He thinks it could be meningococcal, so go to clinic. Watch baby at clinic for several hours while wearing bathers and thongs only. Go back to hotel and wash all clothes before hanging on verandah to dry overnight.
Step 20: Good news. Baby better today. Get clothes from verandah and organise everyone for breakfast. Discover clothes are covered in white spots and holes. Call reception who say that staff throw bleach out of windows after cleaning bathrooms and not to leave clothes out to dry. Tell them they are a bit late in warning and commiserate with family in room next door, who also have had all their clothing ruined. Wish we were not on ground floor.
Step 21: Spend morning swimming before ordering chips for the kids lunch. Watch in slow motion as oldest son clasps hands together with sachet of sauce splurting all over my white shirt.
Step 22: Start next bottle of duty free.
Step 23: Have afternoon nap with all children in same bed. Wake up scratching.
Step 24: Check bed for fleas. None. Phew. Check heads for nits. Plenty. Shit. Realise hair braiding ladies don’t steralise combs between heads. Scratch. Scratch. Scratch.
Step 25: Pack to go home. Get on transfer bus and cheer with other passengers when we leave hotel. Cheer even louder when plane takes off.
Step 26: Get to car. Find out it has been hit while in long term car park. Tavel 3 hours home. Delouse kids hair. Vow no more trips of a lifetime.
Written by Amanda Lonergan. Amanda is now a real mum of 5 children, and the owner of www.loddonmalleekids.org.au – a prem baby support service.
Amanda concludes: Sadly, this trip is a true account of our holiday from hell. We made a claim for our ruined clothing when we got home and were offerred a night’s free accom at The Meridien next time we returned to Vanuatu as compensation. Yeah, right, like we really need 2 trips of a lifetime!