With summer holidays looming, Destination MO’s editor reflects on the trials and tribulations of travelling with precious cargo
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Zoë Manzi, Editor, MO magazine, The Condé Nast Publications
It’s the perfect time of year to think about travel. New adventures in far-flung, exotic places may loom on the horizon, and while keeping your eye on the prize is essential (the calm of Mandarin Oriental hotels and their Kids’ Clubs is the vision to meditate on), you’ve still got to get there somehow.
For travelling parents one of the most gratifying moments is when fellow passengers congratulate you on the in-flight behaviour of your little darlings. Those unencumbered with precious burdens frequently board planes, trains and automobiles with an impending sense of doom and fingers firmly crossed behind their backs that no child of single-figure age will be seated anywhere in their vicinity. I know this, because I used to be one of them.
Entertaining children on long or even short-haul trips – depending on the child’s disposition – can be a fraught experience. I remember the first time we took our then 17-month-old from London to Sydney, Australia. A fairly laid-back chap, a good sleeper, eater and a natural people-pleaser, he walked up and down the aisles saying a cheery ‘Hello’ to everyone. But my husband still spent three hours on the threshold of the loo, playing ‘lights on, lights off’ to keep the little fellow amused.
The truth is, until your offspring are old enough to be hypnotised by a screen, it’s a hit-and-miss affair. Forget all those lists posted on the internet of the 50 ways to entertain your kid in an XYZ variety; I defy anyone to create anything involving bubble wrap, tin foil and sticky tape that will neither induce a tantrum nor provoke a ‘fair enough’ outbreak of rage from your nearest neighbours. Sticker books and a bag of pipe cleaners along with lollies for popping ears on take-off and landing are the way forward. And that’s just for the grown-ups. Happy travelling, folks!