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Murphy’s Law: The top 10 corollaries for vacations with kids

Submitted by on Sunday, 19 April 2009 2 Comments

clothesTake an average family of four, minus Dad because Mom and the kids are traveling to see him. Add a last-minute frenzied rush to get out of town that makes the most disorganized two-minute drill look carefully coordinated.

The results: Well, as Murphy says, if it can go wrong, it will go wrong.


If there is anything with a picture of Thomas on it within 3.6 miles of where you’re stuck waiting for two hours on a plane to depart, a reasonably observant 3-year-old will hone in on it. The begging will escalate rapidly to whimpers then tears. You cave quickly because it’s too early in the journey for a tantrum. The damage: $20 before you even leave the state, because the older brother will need a similar SpongeBob marker book. Mommy will need a drink, but the bar will be closed.


No matter how many snacks are crammed into a child’s backpack, it won’t be enough to last through the two-hour wait once they discover you’re going to let them munch at will in hopes of tiptoeing around the tantrum.


Red eyes are a great way to travel with children. Bundle the little darlins up in the dead on night and they’ll snooze blissfully for the full flight. All bets are off, though, if the first leg of the journey is three hours or less. That leaves just enough time for kids to come down off their airport buzz and snooze for a half hour. Wake them with the same caution you’d use when approaching a wild boar.


No matter how many times a parent is told “no” when she asks “are you sure you’re not putting too much in the backpack” the backpack owner will not admit it’s too heavy until you’re rushing to make a connecting flight.


If a chain operates two hotels in any given town, the travel agency will screw up your reservation. You will arrive at the wrong hotel dead tired after a sleepless red eye and have to tote a hysterical 3-year-old and his teetering-toward-tantrum brother to the other side of an unfamiliar town in search of your inn. When you finally find it, you’ll find out it doesn’t have the promised jacuzzi.


The “heated indoor pool” never is any warmer than what’s comfortable for the average Siberian. If you’re fortunate, though, the blue of your skin will match the blue of your eyes.


No matter how carefully you study the forecast before leaving for a trip in the spring, you will pack the wrong type of clothing. This will necessitate a rapid-fire round of shopping at the closest discount store, where you won’t really care whether you’ll ever wear the clothes again. You just want to get it done.


The “I can always buy it when I get there” axiom doesn’t apply for the one potion on Earth that keeps your hair from looking like you stuck your finger in a light socket. If you forget it, the previously mentioned discount store will not carry it.


The kids who always clamor for soda will demand water if you’re driving and Sprite is the only beverage immediately available.


If you load protesting kids into a car, struggle with their seat belts and drive a mile to a fast-food place because the macaroni and cheese is cheaper than at the sit-down restaurant beside the hotel, you will have to wait 20 minutes at the drive-through. By the time you realize the total came to $13 because the now-ravenous beasts need three kids’ meals, you’ll figure out it would have been cheaper and faster if you’d just listened to them and gotten the sit-down meal to go.

So where’s Dad been? Read about his  journey in this week’s special four-part series.


Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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  • Leslie K said:

    I once went to THREE different hotels with the same name only to discover that the FIRST one had been the right one all along, but had MY reservation under the name of the person who MADE it for me.

    aaauauuuggghhhhhhh….welcome home.

  • Debra said:

    Ha! That’s kind of like when I was looking for my sister at SFO once – and this was back when you could actually meet people at the gate – and was told she wasn’t on the flight she was supposed to be on. I didn’t know at the time that hyphenated last names were listed alphabetically under the first part of the hyphenate. A half hour later, I found her patiently tapping her toe at baggage claim.