As Powerwoman and I make final preparations for next week’s road trip from our home in Northern California to Yosemite National Park, we’ve come up against a rather opinionated family travel expert: our own 4-year-old.
Apparently, since L has amassed multitudes of experience on the road, she has developed firm particulars about what she will and will not accept during a long haul in the car.
On the whitelist: Taylor Swift music, goldfish crackers, Etch-a-Sketch, and playground stops.
On the blacklist: Naps, male singers (including Mumford & Sons, unfortunately), uninterrupted drive times of more than two hours, and carrot sticks.
Our daughter also has shared deep thoughts about hotels over the last few weeks, seemingly in the hopes that we will base our planning decisions on her wants and likes (we won’t; we’re staying here). Some of the more notable statements: 1) Hotel rooms with extra space are better because that way the two sisters can run around “like maniacs,” 2) Sometimes the “toilet seats in hotel bathrooms are too big,” and 3) It is annoying when Daddy has to spend time talking to his “friends” who run hotels.
Yes, these statements are completely ridiculous (especially No. 2). But they’re also true. And they’ve led Powerwoman and me to marvel at how insightful our jet-setting preschooler has become in her short time with a frequent flier number.
We’re not the only parents to marvel at this type of precociousness.
Friend and fellow travel blogger Katie Wood Dillon, a.k.a., La Jolla Mom, recently posted on Facebook about a similar experience with her 6-year-old. With Katie’s permission, here’s the snip:
“I just had the option to upgrade/re-route our mileage flights so thought I’d run the options by [my daughter]. She rejected international first class (!!!) on American Airlines for business class on Japan Airlines citing cold green tea, Pac-Man on the inflight entertainment and beef curry at the Narita lounge. In the same breath, she stated that American Airlines planes smell worse and that she’ll do anything to avoid flying a regional jet unless we’re going to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific which is the best airline ever. At 6-years-old, all of this is so incredibly accurate that I can almost not handle it.”
When did these little humans become so smart? When did they become so perceptive? Are the ins and outs of travel THAT obvious? Most important: What else can our kids teach us about the vagaries and eccentricities and realities of travel we have come to accept as normal?
I’m not sure I know the answer to any of these questions. But I sure as heck am going to turn to the family’s newest travel expert to try and figure things out.