My husband and I have always travelled together for family visits and vacations around the world. Once we had kids, we continued to fly together (including multiple trips between Australia and the Netherlands). The four of us travelled together as a family unit. Always.
However, we were then faced with a dilemma which forced me question my ‘we-should-do-everything-together’ kind of attitude. Due to work circumstances, it looks as though my husband will not be able to travel back to Australia this Christmas. I then had to choose; wait another year (making it four years since we’ve been back to Australia), or go alone with our two children.
This also poses the problem that if I go, we will be spending our first ever Christmas apart from each other, which I do not like the sound of. Christmas is about family and being together. So the idea of us being apart for Christmas upsets me. However, at the same time, the idea of being together with my family in Australia for Christmas excites me. What to do?
Typically, I have had the mind set of ‘we all go, or we don’t go’. However, I have recently noticed that quite a few of my international friends here in Holland have made multiple trips home without their husbands, kid(s) in tow. Granted their journey is not quite as long, but I have been surprised to see that flying solo with kids is more common than I had assumed. I am well aware that in order for me to be happy here in the Netherlands, I need to fly back to see my family at least every three years (obviously every two years is preferred, but due to the cost this is challenging). In addition, my family are dying to see the kids.
So I have decided to take the plunge and have booked our tickets! For the first time, I am going to travel 24 hours to the other side of the world, on my own with two kids. Am I crazy? Maybe. But a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do.
This time I will not have that extra pair of hands to help out. So I have taken a few steps in order to make the trip a little more manageable. Firstly, I have reserved our three seats together with a child on either side of me for all four of our long-haul flights (for two reasons really; so that I can assist them both when needed, and to avoid any of the annoying sibling taunting and bickering which seems oh so frequent lately!). I have booked with an airline that I am comfortable with, and our layover in each direction is at an airport that I am familiar with. I have found flights that offer a short (less than two hour) layover in order to minimise our total travel time. Each of our kids will carry their own backpacks, full of activities and snacks to keep them busy. I have accepted the challenge and am confident that I can make this experience a fairly stress-free one. Hopefully.
If you have any other tips that you can give me to make this journey a smooth one for us all, I’d be happy to hear them. To all my family and friends in Victoria, Australia — we very much look forward to seeing you all in December!