A U.K. dad's hilarious Facebook post is getting real about what it's like to travel abroad with a baby.
After returning from a vacation to Cyprus with his 6-month-old son, Charlie, Matt Coyne shared the highs and lows of the experience on the Facebook page for his parenting blog, Man vs Baby.
Taking Charlie abroad for the first time involved a fair share of challenges, Coyne explained. But after this epic learning experience, the dad decided to share some of his wisdom.
His recommended packing list: "everything." His thoughts on baby passports: "a rip-off." His travel stroller tips: "Don't take an expensive pram on a flight ... The moment you check-in and that pushchair disappears behind that rubber curtain it is collected by two WWF wrestlers who smash it against a wall for half an hour ... before it is transferred to the runway, where they reverse the plane over it a couple of times before placing it in the hold."
As for his fellow plane passengers, Coyne said he and Charlie's mom "hoped to be sat next to a kindly old Angela Lansbury type, with a soft spot for babies." Unfortunately, no dice. But the parents have "thick skin" when it comes to sour strangers who don't like kids.
Coyne also shared what he learned about in-flight diaper duty. "When airlines say they have 'baby changing facilities' what they actually mean is: 'a shelf,'" he wrote, adding, "Changing a baby in a plane toilet is like the hardest round on 'The Cube'. Basically, imagine trying to carve a turkey in a phone-box ... now half the size of the f*cking phone box, and arrange for an incontinent dickhead to bang on the door every five seconds."
As for the actual beach vacation part, Coyne said the heat was not as nightmarish as others would have them believe. "People in scorching climates have babies quite a lot, so it's a bit daft for us to think that if we take a baby to a sunny place they will suddenly burst into flames, like someone's opened the curtains on a vampire," he wrote.
The dad recommended "common sense" tactics to avoid sunburn, like shade, avoiding the peak midday sunshine and applying strong sunscreen.
However, he cautioned, when using sunscreen, "let it dry off before picking them up or anything, otherwise its like wrestling a seal that's just left a massage parlour ... Charlie was in less danger from the sun than he was from me juggling him like a bar of soap."
And there's really no hope for parents. "Even with all precautions there is a threat from the sun. To you. You will burn," he wrote. "You will be so preoccupied with keeping the sun off the baby ... You. will. burn. As I write this my face is a haunting red. (I think I applied suncream to myself once in the whole week)."
Despite all the "pissy little challenges," Coyne concluded that going on vacation with a baby is an "incredibly special" experience he recommends other parents try.
"I will always remember Charlie's face as he curled his toes in the sand for the first time," he said. "His delight at being pushed around a hotel pool on the back of an inflatable crocodile... And, his fascination as we sat on a bench, hand-feeding a sparrow some crisps, overlooking the deep blue of the mediterranean sea."
In just a week, Coyne's Facebook post has received over 50,000 likes and 16,000 shares. The dad told The Huffington Post he decided to write about his experience to dispel some of the myths about traveling with a baby after being discouraged by friends.
"One or two people reacted to us taking a 6 month old away as though we were planning a mission to Mars rather than a week half-board in Cyprus," he said.
While taking a baby on vacation is not the same as traveling as a couple, Coyne told HuffPost it's "a different kind of enjoyment" to spend time with your child away from the stresses of work and messy houses.
"I don't sugarcoat it," he explained. "But ultimately I wanted to share our experience... that taking a baby on holiday isn't without stress and hassle, but it's worth it."