The Mum Network

My Biggest Travel Mistakes

We’re going away on Saturday. My little brother is getting married in Langkawi Island in Malaysia.

The kids are beside themselves with excitement whereas hubby and I have just realized that being stuck on a cheap dodgy plane with only foreign language films and four tired kids for over 14 hours will mean we are well and truly ready for a holiday by the time we get there.

It’s also turned out to be the world’s most expensive holiday because of the number of children we have. I’ve always thought people who think I’m mad for having so many kids are selfish and weird but holidays are where the 4 kid factor hurts the most.

Most hotels will only accommodate 2 adults and 2 children in one room. Like cars, once you get past 2 kids, you need to consider an upgrade. In our case we had one of two choices, 3 hotel rooms (with two adults supervising 4 kids, hubby and I were unlikely to see each other for two weeks) or a villa. II booked the villa because it meant that we can put kids to bed and actually say hi to each other at the end of the night, watch tele and not worry too much about noise.

Being the mathematically challenged person that I am, I dutifully converted the cost of Malaysian Ringet to Aussie dollars and booked the villa. I thought it was relatively steep in price but hey, how often do you get the chance to go overseas for a little brother’s wedding. Imagine my shock when my mathematically challenged brain realized my initial calculations were wrong and the cost was actually double!!!! Too late to change it as deposit was paid, I’m just praying this place is a god damn palace! Note to self: get brainiac hubby to do the math next time.

As for travel, I travel quite a bit and after years of getting on and off planes and going to airports, I still haven’t nailed it yet and that’s when I’m alone. Travelling with the kids is an epic cock up when it comes to my organizational skills. I seem to constantly buy the SAME things at the airport, forget to check things in advance, not print our itineraries and forget the rules and regulations of travel.

Travel Mistakes I’ve Made that I Don’t Want to Make Again:

1. Make sure Passports are all Up to Date long before the date of travel:
Last year, the night before I was packing for a holiday to Thailand, I gathered the passports together and realized that OMG, eldest son’s passport had expired. My heart sank and prepared him for a two day delay and that he may need to stay back with Dad until we could get a new passport. We found a 24hr Chemist to take photos, downloaded the application forms online and he and hubby were at the front of the queue at the passport office at 8:30am the next morning with strict instructions for son to ‘cry’ on cue. The amazing people in the passport office made the passport in a record 22minutes (YES, 22 minutes!) and hubby and son were on the plane with us at 11:30am.





2. Don’t overpack – Like most women I know, I have about 20 ‘just incase’ outfits. I forget that most trips I’m likely to shop up a storm and buy a bucketload of ‘bargains’ which end up costing me double because I have an overweight luggage situation. Sound familiar?

3. Don’t buy presents for kids at Toys R Us in ANY country overseas: Mother guilt is a wonderful thing when travelling. Ask any Mum who travels and the compulsion to buy something for the kids is overwhelming. My problem is I shop up a storm in Toys R Us, end up having to send it back via UPS and the same toys that are available at Kmart arrive in the same brown box that I could have had delivered from shopping online and paid local delivery at home. Der….





4. Empty all liquid cosmetics into small travel bottles BEFORE getting through customs: Oh the heartbreak this causes SO many people at the checkpoints. Valuable creams, perfumes and moisturisers into the bin. I’ve seen people close to tears asking customs officers how they’ll be compensated for their ‘loss’. Tip is, don’t take them with you. I’ve learnt the hard way.









5. I am not going to the Logies so remember all the stupid jewellery that goes off at customs is NOT necessary: Not sure about anyone else but each time I go through the security scan and metal detectors, I beep like a fire engine. With the amount of clothing and accessories I have to take off, I almost feel naked and it takes AGES to get dressed again – belt off, bracelets off, shoes off, earrings off, glasses off, phone out, necklace off, empty pockets….it’s a massive drama and I never learn. This time it’s tracksuit pants, thongs and a t-shirt for sure.




6. Remember toothbrush AND toothpaste: for the kids. Yep, I remember my own but have a habit of forgetting the kids toothbrushes and toothpaste and yet again having to purchase last minute goods at the airport.







7. Don’t buy anymore stupid bloody travel pillows: I don’t actually know how many of these pillows are around our house now but I seem to buy one every time I get on a plane. Fortunately I think I now have one for everyone in the family and I’m NOT going to buy anymore.






Feeling better already now that I have a visual reminder of what I need to remember to do on Friday night!


  1. Sister in law is half Malaysian and born and raised in London. It was the best compromise to get people from London and Sydney to travel the same distance without playing favourites on location and I think they were keen for an O/S wedding – only 30 people going so a small intimate wedding! Everyone making it a 2 week holiday, a good excuse to get away!

  2. Pingback: Setting Yourself Life Goals – Ever done it? It’s Harder than it Looks. |

  3. I’ve witnessed the Toys R Us shopping extravaganza. To this day I am still in shock.. I was going to sneak something into the trolley because I was getting a little jealous. ehehehehe..

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