Simple travel with kids really is possible.
It just takes a little work ahead of time and it will be smooth sailing…
But it CAN actually be a mostly relaxing, joyful experience.
If I had to give you just one piece of advice, this is it.
You will definitely not see as much in a day/week.
You will get less sleep on the flight than you do already.
You will have to find a bathroom a million times a day (I counted once).
And you will spend a lot of your time either yelling at whining, hot, tired kids, or making sure you don’t have whining, hot, tired, kids.
(This is why families just go to all inclusives I think).
It sounds terrible.
But it’s really not.
Travel with kids is not the same as travel without kids.
(I’m so profound sometimes. Hahahahaha)
And thats okay.
The key is not to expect it to be.
You just have to be okay with what it is for this season of your life.
Make peace with a slower schedule, more stopping to play on/with ‘x’, less attractions, and more downtime.
The result will be magical.
And much more valuable than seeing another super important historical thing.
(By the way, I think this changes as your kids get older (or so I’ve heard)).
So, we don’t let our kids unilaterally pick our travel destinations.
But we do ask for their input.
It’s important to us that all this travel is fun, and adventurous, and interesting for them too.
Typically, the process of deciding where to go next comes about semi-organically.
We see something cool on TV, or read something in a book, or hear about someone else’s neat experience.
We start talking about it as a family, wondering what it would be like.
(By wondering I mean, my husband and I posing questions to get my kids to start thinking about it).
Before long, they are somewhat sold.
And ready to not complain when we talk about doing things that they may not love.
There is often a lot of apprehension and anxiety about the unknown (for everyone really) which creates resistance.
But most of their questions are easy to answer, and fears easy to quell.
eg. what is the food going to be like, are there toilets, where will we sleep, is there a pool…
The thing is though, you often need to talk many, many times before these fears will come out.
Once they do, and you do your best to answer all the rational and irrational questions about all the things, they can come around, and sometimes even be excited.
And yeah, don’t forget to give them some choice about the day to day.
I get that you maybe don’t want your kids (depending on their age) involved in ALL the decision making, but give them options where you can:
pool vs. beach, city walk vs. nature hike, this food vs. that food, etc.
Honestly, they are a lot more easy to get along with when they feel in control and not just dragged from place to place.
So, I know.
You’ve sacrificed and saved money and planned, and planned and planned and now you’re there.
And you want to do ALL the things.
Because, who knows when you’ll be back right?
And it was expensive to get there right?
I get that.
But here’s the reality:
Your kids don’t want to do all the things.
Your kids likely want to do some of the things, and swim in the pool for the rest of the time.
(probably. I obviously don’t know YOUR kids).
Kids have shorter attention spans to start.
And, they just aren’t always engaged by the same stuff you are.
And that’s okay.
They also don’t have the physical endurance you do.
And they don’t manage different foods, and routines as well as adults and, and, and…
All this to say, give your kids a break.
For them, you are not doing them a favour taking them, they won’t realize that for like 20 more years.
Now, they are just hot, and tired, and bored.
And probably thinking they are doing YOU a favour by going in the first place.
We ere on the side of our kids’ memories to be of having fun with their family AND and seeing all the amazing culture.
Not the other way around.
So, schedule in some down time.
Go to the historical marvel in the morning and let them chose the afternoon activity.
Swimming at a pool, or beach often works.
Even just a picnic in a park where they can run is good too.
Biking around a city maybe…
Or, if it works better for you guys, have a leisurely breakfast and get touristy in the afternoons.
Whatever it is, make sure your kids want to do it, and it is at their pace.
You can also just schedule nothing!
I know, a little crazy.
Think of it as an experiment (you can risk it for one half day right?)
Go to your little breakfast bakery and see where the day takes you (or rather, where your kids take you).
Moving home bases is expensive.
Maybe not financially , but it is super expensive in terms of time, effort, and your kids’ non-whiny behaviour.
Like, an entire day at the [insert best day you can think of here] vs. packing up, finding transportation, travelling, finding accommodation, settling in.
Hot, boring, tiring travel days suck for everyone.
I get that sometimes it is unavoidable or undesirable.
But do what you can to make your actual travel, simpler.
Honestly, limiting the moves will make a big difference.
Also, staying in one place often allows time to really get to know somewhere.
And learn things about a place that are not found in the usual tourist sites or attractions.
Don’t feel like it is a waste of time or money to linger a bit longer than you normally would.
It might end up being the best part of your trip.
Packing lighter is just such a weight off your back (hahahaha. See what I did there?), and makes travelling with kids so much simpler.
But seriously, it is sooooo much easier to worry about less stuff.
And for most destinations, if you forget something, or need something that you didn’t pack, you can find it pretty easily.
Or make do with what you have.
You are resourceful.
And if not, I bet your kids are.
Also, laundry is usually pretty available easily.
If not, it’s okay to wear clothes that are a little dirty.
And definitely okay to wear the same thing multiple days in a row.
You’ll be great with less.