“Life is a journey that must be traveled no matter how bad the roads and accommodations.” –Oliver Goldsmith
No trip comes without its downsides. My family still tells the story of how we once stayed in the “Hotel from Hell” during one visit to our grandparents. In short, upon checking in we were handed a number of keys and told to “go find an empty room.” At the time, 4 of us kids traveling with our parents were under 10. Full disclosure: people can be gross. So sometimes the trips we take become the humorous patchwork of our family’s lives.
In general, we learned a lot on our recent trip to Vienna. Mostly, we learned how bringing a child on an international vacation helps open doors and interactions we otherwise may not have experienced.
But Not All Travels are Perfect
- 1. The shop in our hotel apparently was not affiliated with the hotel itself. This meant that one day when my little girl asked for water, we were unable to buy a bottle of water without going back upstairs to the room to find 4 euros. Inconvenient?Yes. Dealbreaker? Nah.
- 2. Part of the Viennese coffee culture allows patrons to linger over their meal for hours. Normally, I enjoy this relaxed atmosphere but when my two year old needs a nap and I cannot find the waiter to pay the bill, I get a little anxious. Again, minor inconvenience for major benefit: chocolate cake. Need I say more?
- We should have learned more German before we left. My mother always told me that part of respecting other cultures is to speak at least a little lingo. Obviously, my 2 year old spoke toddler-English and trying to teach her German seemed above the reach of my talents. I had learned some in college and tried to prep with Duolingo, but since we were not always in the most tourist-dense areas or restaurants of Vienna, we really needed a little more of the local patois. Lesson learned.
- Sometimes living in the United States it can be easy to forget that religious holidays in other parts of the world are still treated as such and not as an excuse for a Macy’s One Day Sale. Normally I am not a big shopper, but I did find it challenging to buy a thicker winter coat for little V when the Easter weather turned from pleasantly cool to snow/sleet. Clothing shops were closed Good Friday to Easter Monday. On the other hand, we loved the Easter markets. A little glass of Gluhwein always helps to forget the chill.
- Jet lag. V handled it better than I did. As always, I tried to manage it by getting outdoors early and often and drank a lot of tea and Weissgespritz. Vielen Dank, Wiener Kaffeehaus.
- We did not quite plan well for the weather. I had read the weather report the week before, expected cool spring temps. The unexpected frost and snow surprised us doubly because we had left little V’s warmest fleece jacket on board our plane. We ended up just wrapping her in everything we had until the shops re-opened after Easter. Fortunately, we salvaged some adorable photos of her bundled up in 8 layers of scarves. Priceless!
Not every trip goes as planned. With infants and toddlers in tow, I usually aim just to go with it. I generally spend hours before each trip researching multiple different options in case something does not go as planned, nap time goes too long, etc. We travel, though, to explore and learn. You can’t learn anything without a little hardship, right?
Leave a comment below with your thoughts. Have you ever had a trip not go as planned? How do you deal with it?