Back in April I gifted the world with my Guide to Designing Public Toilets. It was, indeed, born of desperation and experience.
Without further ado, here is my guide to travelling on public transport with children under five.
A Latte Junkie's guide to planes, trains and automobiles
- Do not sit next to people who smell of cigarettes or BO. It will be the only time your three year old can coherently say "That man/woman/ashtray smells absolutely disgusting!"
- If you are going to sit anywhere near someone with an IPad or equivalent, be prepared to fend off a million requests to ask about Angry Birds. Or when he'll be old enough to get one.
- Be prepared to have to read the safety sign and rules of the rail, at least twice every trip, more if the trip is more than 10 minutes.
- Work out your answer to "Why is the bus driver allowed to eat when the sign says I am not allowed to eat?"
"Because he's going to clean the bus" is not a valid answer, apparently.
- A sweet smile must be cultivated for every time your child yells "Pardon Mummy!...... I farted!" in a crowded lift, train or bus.
- You will have to go to the plane loo at least twice with your three year old, and he will somehow manage to push out the largest poo in history which will stink out the plane - or at least just economy class. He will also announce it to every one he passes.
- Whichever game you choose to play to distract him/her will be expected every time you go on a bus - make it a good one.
- Sushi rolls are your go to food - less messy than crackers or cookies.
- The hand rails on trains are in fact a playground equivalent. Be prepared to extricate heads from between two yellow poles, often.
- Counting taxis is a great way to distract children from having to wait twenty odd minutes until the museum opens.
- If you get bored, randomly jump on and off buses - it makes for a cheap adventure!
- Your child will memorise the route to the "cool" park he saw and beg to go there every time you head down that bus route.
- Most taxi drivers are foreign to the country you are in... (Not that I have tested this in China or India) but be prepared for "Daddy that man is talking very funny, I don't know if he can drive if he talks like that."
Under fives are too young to understand that many of the taxi drivers we have driven with are chemical engineers, bio-physicists and teachers.