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When I was really baby-hungry, people used to ask me, “Don’t you want to travel more before you have kids?”
As if I was throwing in the travel towel to suddenly live a stationary lifestyle.
My answer was always an affirmative, “No.”
I wanted my kids to see to the world too and become my travel buddies. Besides, if I did all my traveling before kids, I’d have to repeat all my pre-baby trips anyway.
I wouldn’t say I am an emotional person, but I am a sentimental one. I can’t stand the thought of experiencing somewhere new without my family. I still travel. Now, I just have an entourage and I love every crazy moment.
Was it easier to travel before I had kids? Absolutely. It was also less expensive, but nothing compares to the memories I have had sharing the joy of travel with my kids. Having kids doesn’t mean you have to stop traveling, it just means you have to make some adjustments.
So, how has my traveling style changed since I became a mama?
Well, here are 5 Ways Kids Change Travel.
1. Money Honey:
Money is probably the biggest obstacle when traveling with a family. I went from paying for one to paying for six.
That makes things a bit trickier when finding travel deals, especially airfare. I have to do a lot more research before booking a trip, because cutting corners becomes a priority. I’ve heard there are family-friendly hostels, but I’ve never stayed in one and I don’t have the group that is capable of backpacking from place to place. Plus, that is just not our travel style with or without kids. We like comfortable accommodations. So I have to research a lot more to save. See how I do it in my Money Saving Tips post, HERE.
When you travel with a group it requires a lot more planning. The thrill of spontaneity is a bit hindered, especially when kids are involved. If you have small kids, it is important to maintain some sort of routine. Nap time and eating time is crucial if you want happy babies while traveling. Sometimes, things are out of your control, so make the strollers super comfortable and carry snacks. If your baby needs milk, you have to consider where milk is available or carry a cooler with you. For more tips on preparing for trips read, Ready Set Go, HERE.
Always prepare for injuries and illness. Check out Rashes, Bug Bites and Ouchies! Oh My! HERE.
When traveling by plane, I have to really look at the fly times to pick the best flight for my kids’ behavior. I like to pick flights that occur during their normal nap or bedtimes so that they sleep through a majority of the flight. So far, (knock on wood) it has worked every time. See more information for how I prepare for flights in Flying with Kids, HERE.
Having an itinerary or a rough outline (as I like to call it) is really helpful. I like to have a little wiggle room in case we stumble upon something really cool, but I travel with a minimum of six people every trip. If we don’t have some sort of plan, we waste time discussing what to do instead of exploring. If you are standing around debating what see next, the kids are most likely going to get antsy and that is no bueno.
Queue: debating adults and screaming kids. Ugh.
3. Picture Overload:
You think you take a ton of pictures now? Wait until you travel with your babies!!! I went from taking 200 photos a trip to 200 photos a day! Parents think their children are the cutest and funniest people around (guilty), but when your kid is being cute in the Everglades or eating noodles in Vietnam your camera is going to on permanent snap mode. Since having kids, my most important must-pack don’t-leave-home-without-it item is my camera. Invest in a good one with a fast shutter, otherwise excited, hyper toddlers will be blurs in every photo.
I appreciate our trips more. First of all, they are harder to accomplish now that we are a larger group. So every successful trip feels like we should break out into Dora the Explorer’s “We Did It” song.
Secondly, knowing that I’m sharing these amazing experiences with my kids, husband, parents, sister, nephews, etc., makes the importance of every trip magnified. I appreciate the experiences I am able to give my children and listening to them talk about their travels, from their sweet little perspectives is so rewarding as a parent.
Traveling together, as family, bonds you. When you travel on your own you make connections while away, but when you come home they fade. When you travel with family, you are able keep the momentum of the bond going, because of your daily interactions. Discussing adventures over the dinner table or laughing at an inside joke from a trip. That keeps the family tight knit. My family is very close, but we always traveled together. Heck, we still travel together. I want my kids to feel deeply connected to me and one of my tools is loading their childhood memories with family adventures.
Although traveling with my active kids is more difficult and more expensive than before, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Since having my kids, the travel bug bit even harder. I don’t only have the desire to see everything and everywhere, I also want my kids to see it too. The drive to accomplish my travel goals is stronger than ever and they are the source of my motivation. I can’t until our next adventure together.
What are your biggest challenges when traveling with kids?
Any stories from your travels with kids?
Do prefer travel solo or with a group? Why?
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