As we’ve said elsewhere, your honeymoon is not going to be completely perfect. Travel-related stress is one of the hurdles you’ll have to overcome. The best way to deal with the stress of airplane flights and being somewhere new is to adapt the techniques that parents use when traveling with toddlers.
You may not be familiar with these techniques yet, so we’ve collected some of the best ones here, and show how you can use them to avoid a full-on, travel-inspired meltdown. Treat yourself like a toddler, and all will be well.
Before You Arrive
Bring Plenty of Snacks
Look out for “hanger,” the particular form of anger that develops when you haven’t’ had enough to eat. When you’re at home, you eat snacks almost without realizing it. Traveling breaks up this routine, lowering your blood sugar, making you prone to screaming fits, squirming, and kicking the back of the seat in front of you. Be sure to have a few snacks like cereal bars, baby carrots and Swedish fish for the flight (or pretzels, vodka, and beef jerky, if that’s what you like). This should keep you quiet and docile until you land: just the way the airline, and your fellow passengers, prefer.
Pack Your Version of a Stroller Bag
The stroller bag is where you put everything required for going outside with your baby, so you need to pack the adult equivalent. Put all your most important belongings in your carry-on. If your checked luggage gets lost, you can replace the T-shirts and underwear in your suitcase. But things like medications, cameras, smartphones and/or music players should never be farther away than the overhead compartment.
Structure Your Playtime
Unstructured playtime seems like a great idea, but it can make you bored and cranky. If you really have your heart set on a particular restaurant, or museum, or local activity, make sure you’ve made a reservation or bought your tickets long before you leave on your trip. That way you won’t be worrying about it on the flight, and you won’t have a fit when you arrive at your destination.
Once You’ve Arrived
Don’t Talk to Strangers
Stay alert in crowded public areas, especially when you’re walking around with your luggage, which marks you out as a tourist. If there are any shady characters around–any thieves posing as taxi-drivers, or baggage check guys–they’ll see you as a target. Don’t leave anything unattended and always be aware of what’s going on around you.
Don’t Lose Your Name Tag
Keep your passport, ID, and credit cards on you as much as you can. You probably won’t get robbed, but if you should be so unlucky, you really don’t want them to get those crucial documents and plastic. If you’re really paranoid, you can invest in one of those body wallets you wear under your shirt, or get a dummy wallet with a small amount of cash and a credit card you don’t mind losing,
Figure out an Indoor Play Plan
Mother Nature does not care that this is your honeymoon. If you’re heading to a sunny locale and all of your plans revolve around the weather being perfect, then the laws of karma dictate that it will rain the entire time you’re there. Scope out some of the indoor activities you can do and still have fun.
Know Who to Call When Your Toys Break
Even if you’re an old hand at renting a car here in the States, car rentals abroad don’t always follow the same rules. This is why you need to know exactly what level of service comes with your rental–does it include roadside assistance? If so, what number do you call?
Take Some Time Outs
Some toddlers play well with others, some don’t. Presumably you get along really well with your wife, but even best friends have to take a break from each other now and then. Give each other some space to do things separately for a few hours, even if it’s just going for a solo walk around town.
Naps Are Magic
Toddlers are notorious for getting more excitable as they get more exhausted. If you find yourself too riled up by all the stimuli around you, find the nearest bed, hammock, deck chair or patch of beach and lay down. There is nothing wrong with falling asleep during your honeymoon. You’re not going to miss anything. And when you wake up, you’ll feel happy and refreshed–the appropriate honeymoon state of mind.