Traveling by Train
My daughter Etta was six weeks old when I traveled with her for the first time. Our destination was Hamburg. I had a reading there. I put her in her CYBEX/gb travel seat and we took the Deutsche Bahn from Berlin. Easy peasy. It was a fast and relaxed ride. We sat in the onboard restaurant so I could act swiftly should the need arise. We had a whole bench and table to ourselves. She slept for an hour of the hour and a half ride and spent the rest of the time looking out the window. Once children are older, you just bring along a book and crayons. No need to bring anything else. I always encourage Etta to engage with her environment. Whether the environment is up for it or not is another question. Apparently, most adults have to be forced to engage with children.
Traveling by Plane
By the time we went on our next trip she was four months old and we took a flight to Amsterdam where I was going to live for a month and a half to take part in a residency program for writers. I pretty much made all the mistakes one can make, and this first flight taught me what it means to fly with a child. You don’t book a standard seat, rather, one with plenty of room for your legs and forget about looking out of the window; those times are gone. You take the aisle seat to avoid being stuck or having to ask the two other passengers to get up every time there’s a fuss—the aisle also gives you the chance to lay the child down, if necessary. If you have a baby, the best seat on a plane is the aisle in the first row. At least until the child can walk, talk, and occupy themselves. The best time to fly is during afternoon naptime. I only book flights that overlap with when Etta sleeps. When she was eight months old, we went on summer vacation and I managed to read an entire book during the flight!
Road Trips in the Car
Last autumn, we went on a road trip through Israel. Etta was two years old at the time. I had booked hotels in advance for the cities we wanted to visit. I picked up the rental car in the city since I hate the stress of picking up the car at the airport because it always, really always, entails hour-long delays and usually some form of drama. Therefore, I prefer to take a taxi to the city—in this case, Tel Aviv—get a good night’s sleep, and pick up the car the next morning at a nearby car rental. I planned all the car rides in Israel so that they overlapped with Etta’s afternoon nap—getting from one place to the next never takes longer than two hours since it is such a small country. I drove off at twelve o’clock and by the time I reached the highway she was already asleep. That gave me at least two hours of peace; I could concentrate on the road, listen to music, and think about things.
Although everyone warned me, and even looked at me skeptically when I told them about our road trip, I felt rested when I came back to Berlin with Etta. I mean seriously rested! It’s possible. You can recharge your batteries even when you are on vacation with a child, provided you find a routine, get in sync, and act as a team.
Text: Mirna Funk
Mirna Funk works as a writer, journalist and storyteller. She is currently producing an audio play, she wrote for Bayrischer Rundfunk, preparing for a lecture and reading at the University of London in April and—due to the great success in 2018—curating the day’s program for January 27th, 2019 to commemorate International Holocaust Rememberance Day at Berliner Ensemble. Her debut novel “Winternähe” was published in July 2015 by S. Fischer Verlage and has been translated into Dutch.
Photo of Etta courtesy of Mirna Funk
More about Berlin Travel Festival exhibitor CYBEX/gb
CYBEX and gb are part of the Goodbaby International group, one of the world’s leading enterprises of child and teen goods. At the core of the company stands the combination of Design, Safety and Functionality.
With the Gold S-Line CYBEX presents revolutionary wheel goods like the Eezy S Twist, which sets new standards with its rotating seat unit. gb stands for products that combine forward-thinking design, outstanding safety and functionality. The gb Ultra-Compact Range offers a range of versatile features. The gb Pockit is when folded the most compact buggy currently available on the market.