Unsolicited advice from people with no credentials but plenty of opinions
Illustrations: Esti Friedman Saposh
Now that travel is a thing again, we’re definitely using that magic monthly childcare stipend to fund a family trip to somewhere... away. But getting away means you need to GO away. With your kids. Stress-sweating parents submit their questions.
Where does the oilam get the best baseball caps for incognito traveling? We have a trip to Europe planned (attn tuition committee: the shver is paying) and I hear they’re not so into frum Yidden over there.
Let’s paint a picture. There you go, a beautiful family of let’s say six children, all in coordinating outfits, down to the baby sitting pretty in her Yoyo and the toddler and preschooler in your City Mini double. You’re toting a hat box, a sheitel box, and a navy cowhide tefillin bag.
You’re absolutely right, a cap will immediately throw people off the scent. Best to wear the one they gave out at Ecore, with the disclaimer that we’re not responsible for what happens if the tuition committee sees you in it.
As an Amex Platinum member, a Capital One Venture X Rewards member, and a Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard holder, I get lounge access when I travel. I don’t have a question, I just wanted to let everyone know.
Cool cool cool. You sound like a fun person to be around. We have a question for you though: Do you realize you’re paying over $1,500 a year in annual fees for that free soda and bragging rights?
I know, I’m a cliche for going to Orlando during midwinter vacation. This flight is so heimish you could close your eyes and think you’re standing downwind from Gottleib’s on a Thursday night. Unrelated, it’s fine that I packed tuna sandwiches for my kids, right?
It’s absolutely not fine and an aggressive violation of public peace to eat fish on an airplane. You should be ashamed. Everyone knows the best food for a flight is a full seudah, including hamotzi and a soup course, packed in greasy Tupperwares, and served well before takeoff occurs. You can’t beat them. Join them.
My son is so devastated that he’s required (by me) to have empty pockets to get through security that he immediately fills them up with concession stand Hunts ketchup packets once we get to the gate. How do I convince him that this isn’t a vibe?
Stand strong; there is nothing that will get you “randomly selected” for an extended security search more than having a length of rope, four XL paperclips, and several rocks in your pocket while going through screening. As for what to do with the ketchup, let natural consequences have their way — one wrong move and someone might just think that pants-leg ketchup stain is a crime scene in action. Chances are that’s a mistake he’ll only make once.
It seems like every WhatsApp status on my list is a kid on a towel on a beach. But as someone with a corporate job who doesn’t just have a week to take off arbitrarily, it’s pretty annoying. I guess my question is,
@everyone, can you stop?
Let’s try to unpack what’s bothering you. Being forced to look at children in varying degrees of cuteness enjoying themselves? What a tirchah. Put on your adult shoes, spread out a towel on any flat surface, take a child (does not need to be yours), snap a picture, crop the background, and post. Other options: Post a picture from last year. Or just stop caring so much.
My teenage daughters are having a group panic attack. We saw their math teacher on the security line, and they gave her a giggly hello, but things really derailed when we both said “Enjoy your vacation!” — and then walked to the same gate. We thought we were safe after she dashed out with only hand luggage, and we waited for our checked bags for ages, but lo and behold, as we run to catch the elevator in the Carriage Club… Mrs. Feldman. What do we do?
This is what mathematicians call Catastrophe Theory, and unfortunately your family vacation is completely unsalvageable. Alternately, you can go on with your lives and find out the shocking truth that teachers are people, too. Who knew?
I’m going on a plane with my kids for the first time, any advice?
Let us assure you, these are Things We All Notice: You cutting lines; you sending a small child to wait on line while you entertain your children elsewhere, but then still expecting to keep your spot on line when said small child runs off; you whisper-screaming at your kids to behave while they’re tantrumming; you leaving food items on or around seating areas; you trying to pass those nine shopping bags off as one cohesive personal bag to avoid checking luggage; you still on the phone as the plane is taking off.
And FINE, we also notice nice people with nice families behaving nicely, but that’s way too boring to joke about.
How early do we really need to be for our flight? No, but really.
To determine your ideal preflight arrival window, see which of the below scenarios most resonates with you.
- You and your family arrive at the airport in matching “Steinberg Family Vacation 2022!” sweatshirts. You have checked in online 24 hours before and your bags are checked curbside. You’re all on TSA precheck and are sitting at the gate silently with hours to go. You have packed more than one word search. You will arrive four and a half hours before your flight
- Your security line always seems to be held up by some genius who decided to make a bomb joke, today of all days. Your young children will need to urgently use the restroom just as they call your group to board. You packed snacks, activities, and games, but your kids would rather run around at top speed to see how fast they can get you to bribe them with pure white sugar to sit still (this is a cyclic trick, don’t fall for it). You’ll arrive one and a half hours before your flight.
- You’ve no idea what time your flight is, actually. Seven? Probably. You’re sure there won’t be traffic on the Belt, but just in case, it’s probably better to leave a little later to miss rush hour. You’re not sure why this always happens to you even though you promised yourself next time you’re leaving the day before and sleeping overnight by your gate. You’ll arrive one and half minutes before they close that huge door and don’t open it again, no matter how much you beg.
(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 778)
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