What You'll Find On This Page
Tips to survive (and enjoy) your next family trip
You’ve traveled and those were without a doubt the best times of your life thus far. Right? So, naturally you want to share those experiences and make new ones with your greatest achievement – your amazing offspring. I congratulate you on your determination, I wish you luck,. I basically am you, so I am not secretly laughing behind your back and hoping your family trip fails. I want all of us brave parents to succeed.
As soon as I found out I was expecting, I was adamant that we would continue traveling, but the moment I had my daughter in my arms for the first time, I felt I was intrusted with plutonium and for weeks I had acted as if I was carrying around world’s greatest weapon of mass destruction. Months after learning how to apparently detonate it and start acting normal in her presence, I thought of trips but dismissed the idea due to not being able to pack half the nursery and fit it on one plane. Then I though about what country has the best team of doctors available to reduce my kid’s fever should it come to that. At one point she was too young, then she might be teething till finally the plain desire, the hunger if you will or itchy feet prevailed and we threw caution to the wind and went to France.
Babies first vacation
That first family trip definitely taught us everything we needed to know and never to repeat again. You want to know the secret to traveling with your kids and you probably do, because let’s face it, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this. The secret? Let me first say no, your child doesn’t need all his or her toys, nor do they need all the wardrobe from both the summer and winter collection, and most certainly they don’t need you to bring the pharmacist and a pediatrician along for the ride. They do need the usual – like a baby carrier + stroller, so don’t try to leave them behind.
So, what’s different?
You might have a hard time buying this, but travel with kids is mostly about you. No matter how you travelled before you always made sure you had enough money, a passport and probably some form of health insurance. Now, just have to have more money, passports (and good luck with taking a photo of a two month old baby) and awesome health insurance. Then throw away all your guidebooks for your family trip, you won’t be needing those, but get a good navigation system, because you’ll make unscheduled stops along the way and discover new things that even the guidebook forgot to mention and they’ll turn out to be the highlight of your trip. And besides you really don’t want to be lost with a hungry tot in the back.
Don’t pack the kitchen sink
Of course pack clothes, but the minute you put them in the suitcase, take one third back to the closet. Bring some medicine but only the ones you have actually used since having kids, don’t anticipate like the worse of the worst case scenarios, if it happens deal with it then.
But do bring food, like the things you know your child enjoys for supper or breakfast. Yeah, I am all up for exploring new places, their food and all they have to offer, still with kids take it slow, let them try it out but allow them the option of having something that reminds them of home, of the routine, you are now not strictly following. And do let the routine be just a little bit loose and you a funny and relaxed parent. I know it’s tough, while you can skip on the few toys, do add a whole lot of humour and calm into your handbag, so it’s always there when you need it. And you will, that I know for sure.
Plan, plan, plan… or don’t
Finally don’t over plan and over schedule, at the beginning make it just one site per day and when you successfully accomplish that, with time to spare move to more. It was unimaginable for me to just see the downtown of a city like Vienna, when if I was alone, I’d be visiting all the sites mentioned in my guidebook. But I have learned to appreciate taking time and enjoying that one thing more, having coffee, hitting a playground on the way, making up stories to excite my kids about their opinion on a plain buildings we were staring at. More often than not, we’d go see a zoo instead of a museum or a castle instead of a gallery, or play at the beach instead of spending the whole day in the historic centre of some European capital.
Embrace it, learn and repeat
But travel with kids has its charm and if you embrace it and try not to fight it, you are all bound to have a good time and hey, it gets better and better with every new trip. We took our youngest to Wales when she was only two months and by the time she turned six months we were already planning our next family trip to Canada from Europe.
Discovering the world is what we love and no matter how we do it, to me it matters only that we do it together.
Inga is a Mommy and big time travel lover, who believes that with two kids every day is a journey that matters more than the arrival. Head over her blog Cool Kids Cool Trips for more great tales of the traveling family. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest
Do you have any tips for surviving a family vacation? Where are you planning your next adventure?