This summer I took my J-Pouch on a multi level vacation that included flights and road trips through the Texas heat & storms. Vacationing with children and IBD can be daunting. The unpredictability of it all. But since Hippo has been born, traveling has been something I’ve tried to maintain. There is no right or wrong way to IBD or to mom, the trick is to do what works well for your family. Having grown up in the entertainment industry, I can tell that I can’t just stay still. I’m use to getting up and moving fast. Over the years I’ve trained my IBD to live by these rules. But that doesn’t mean that all always goes according to plan. I suppose that’s the theme to parenting with an autoimmune disease. Nothing goes according to plan! NOOOOTHING!
I will say that I do try to anticipate all possible scenarios. And because I started traveling with Hippo so early, he’s really into a good routine when it comes to prepping to get on the road and actually being on the road. This past summer we traveled by air and car in the hot, stormy Texas weather. Over the past year, my treatment regimen has become less efficient in keeping me as healthy as I need to be. So, needless to say, I was a bit nervous flying with Hippo & then taking a road trip alone with Hippo. That’s right…alone! Shhh…both of Jaxon’s grandmothers were not so keen on me drive from Houston to Dallas on my own with a little Hippo in the back seat. However, it’s only a 3 hr drive from Hippo’s Nana & PawPaw’s house to downtown Dallas. So, with a bottle of Imodium and a packet of Drip Drop in my bag, I made the drive. But let’s rewind. How did we get to Houston? How did I survive the 100+ humid weather? What is IBD friendly in Texas? Did we make it to our Dallas destination? The answers to all of that & more in the post below!
Hippo’s Summer Break
One thing that sucks about sharing custody across the country is having to shuttle your kids from state to state. It’s incredibly expensive and it’s a bit taxing on my body. For some reason my erythema nodosum flares when I fly east. Yep, you read that right. When ever I travel by air in an eastern direction, little red bumps flare up on my legs itching, burning and swelling my legs and feet to the point of being unable to walk. So, yea, that’s fun! But it’s important for Hippo to have as much time with his paternal grandparents and family as much as he has with his maternal grandparents and family. And just because Hippo Papa & I couldn’t find a way to stay together, doesn’t mean that Hippo’s relationships with his family should change. So, every summer and winter break, Hippo makes his way down south for a few weeks. But what about Hippo flying alone? Well, actually is old enough to fly as an unaccompanied minor. However, as his mother, I have not approved this flight plan. Listen, folks are absolutely entitled, rude, weird and disgusting. And flight decorum is dissipating. I don’t want Hippo alone on a plane unsure of what to do with no one to protect him if a fight breaks out or a flight is cancelled. We now laugh about a story my grandma tells about my cousin, Kay. When he was a little boy, my grandma had custody of him while his dad was in the navy. He went to the Philippines to visit his dad, his flight coming back had some issues. And so my 6 year old cousin ended up in a London hotel with another little boy with no supervision. My grandmother & his father were completely helpless in the situation as my Kay’s dad was back on his ship. My grandmother all the way in Los Angeles. My IBS & IBD would not be able to handle such a situation. So, someone always flies with the Hippo.
The cool thing about taking Hippo to Houston is I get to spend time with his grandparents. That’s right, I love my ex’s parents. They are totally freaking awesome! And no matter who comes into my life next, I will always love, respect and enjoy my time with these two humans. Being able to have that option of spending a few days to relax, rehydrate, & rest before getting right back on a plane. Turnaround flights are murder on my body. My back hurts, my joints are stiff, my J-Pouch acts weird and I’m severely dehydrated. Somethings I will do besides avoiding turnaround flights is I will try to hydrate my body and sleep with my feet up both the night before I fly and the night I land. I use an ORS (Oral Rehydration Solution) called, Drip Drop, in my water to help prevent dehydration. The reason I use Drip Drop versus a Gatorade or a Pedialyte is they are easy to pack because they are packaged in small packets. The sugar is very low and I’ve had faster results with Drip Drop than I have had with others. With my J-Pouch, dehydration is such a huge issue for me. And it’s worse during extreme weather months. So I try to control the issues with my body that I can control. Dehydration, being one.
A few days after we landed in Houston, Father’s Day, was coming. I knew that Hippo Papa had to work Father’s Day weekend & the Monday after, in Dallas and wouldn’t be able to make the drive. Hippo Mama got a brilliant idea. Nothing would please Hippo Papa more than having a Hippo surprise him on Father’s Day. ROAD TRIP! I found a reasonable Air BnB in a great neighborhood close to Hippo Papa’s home and booked it. Now listen, I will be the first to admit I am a hotel staying fanatic! I love the idea of having some time away where I don’t have to make my own bed. Clean up the room. Not have to go far for food. All that jazz! It’s really nice to be able to have a little luxury away from home. But when traveling with kids visiting family or trying to travel on a budget for an extended stay, a nice Air BnB is fantastic! I loved the apartment we got.
It was a perfect size for us. It was in walking distance to stores and restaurants, which is rare for Texas! The neighborhood was safe. I was 8 minutes from Hippo Papa in case of anything. And the apartment was clean! Being comfortable and staying on budget was so important to having a successful Father’s Day weekend. We were able to enjoy family time comfortably. When looking at an Air BnB, check out the map and the area on the map. Then put it into Zillow, to check out the neighborhood rating. As well as google maps to get a comprehensive idea of your surroundings and accommodations. The ability to cook your own meals, do laundry, store medication safely, and invite family over to visit is what makes Air BnB such a great experience when visiting somewhere for an extended stay. If you are some place where you cannot cook or grocery shop locally, I use apps like Instacart for grocery delivery, Postmates for lunch or dinner and Minibar for cocktails & wine when I’m traveling. Or at home not willing or able to go out. Minibar has saved me from having to make an extra stop at BevMo when I’m having company over and need to save all my energy for my dinner party.
After our road trip to Dallas, we went back to Houston where I left Hippo in the care of his grandparents and their pool. Where he could
eat all of the things he shouldn’t without the hard gaze of his parentals, and made my way back to Los Angeles. It took me a couple of days to recover, but it was well worth it. Hippo is a pretty easy traveler and visiting family is always fun! Texas, specifically is a very family friendly state to vacation. They have a lot of resorts with pools and spas, quite a few amusement parks throughout the state, there are three presidential libraries within 3 hrs of one another. As well as a host of great museums & attractions like Space Center Houston, Perot Museum of Nature & Science, Children’s Museum of Houston, The Coop, The 6th Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, Topgolf and The Riverwalk. A lot of these attractions are wheelchair & stroller accessible and good for large groups. Hippo spent a total of 6 weeks in Texas and loved every bit of it. Sometimes I just have to grab IBD by the collar and tell it to, “Back off. I’ve got to, Mom, now!”. Preparing myself properly and ignoring the minor aches and pains, allowed my son to have a memorable first half of summer break!
- Always hydrate before traveling
- Back travel size toilet paper and flushable wipes, along with an extra pair of clothes, bag for soiled clothes and adult diaper.
- Pack your IBD friendly snacks
- Carry an empty water bottle for you and an ORS
- Map out alternate safe routes in case you are stuck in traffic
- Pack an anti-diarrhea medication
- Hydrate when done traveling
- Stretch your legs on long flights
- Empty your pouch before boarding your flight or starting off on a road trip
- Don’t do anything you are uncomfortable with. Enjoy your trip.
So, I’ve got some promo codes for you guys in case you would like to use any of the products mentioned above:
Drip Drop: Relief15
Air BnB: www.airbnb.com/c/brookea215