You could certainly have fun traveling with kids, but why when you can just set yourself up for a vacation from Hell. It really doesn’t take much to enjoy a family trip, you definitely don’t need too many gadgets or consider only kid-friendly destinations. But how can it be simple, when traveling with kids is these days treated like nuclear science. Well, I guess we can make it very complicated and hard. If we stick to these rules…
There you are sitting behind a computer liking Dave’s family photos from Cambodia, when you are seriously tempted to unfriend him. But something must be wrong with you when just the thought of a family trip scares you. Perhaps your last travels felt like a bloody train wreck. Definitely not something you’d want to brag about. Yet you still manged to snap that one photo of kids marveling at the sight of the leaning tower of Pisa to post on Facebook. And delete from your memory all that happened afterwards. Still, look Dave’s kids are trekking. You are definitely doing something wrong when your own kids complain about walking after the initial 15 minutes.
Follow the guidebook
The guidebooks are written and bought for a reason. You should certainly not deviate from the plan. This is your one chance to see Paris, so you should run yourself to the ground by trying to see everything. Make sure there are no deviations from it and don’t let the kids dictate your pace. Louvre is a must even though not even you can say why. Persevere, even if you have to literally drag your crying kids along and because of the crowd can’t catch a glimpse of the Mona Lisa. Skip Disneyland and rather spend a day exploring the gardens of Versailles.
Being on time matters
Make an Herculean endeavor to really see all the important sights. Your whole life when you are back at home revolves around being on time; getting up, hurrying, so stick to what works best. Don’t deviate from the routine, or you might never be able to get it back. Not even the time zones should stop you. The cathedrals and monuments will not wait for anyone, besides everybody wants to beat the crowds and have the Big Ben just to themselves.
Time to reconnect
Why won’t the kids just look out the window and be happy they have an exciting opportunity to see the interesting Danish landscape. They spend way too much time using tablets and smart phones. This trip is a perfect time to reconnect with one another and besides you need your smart phone to check who liked your latest photo of a Dutch road sign on Instagram.
Welcoming new experiences
Being in a different country means not only an opportunity but an actual obligation to try out new things. And you should make sure kids get the same benefactions. While it will be easy to make them try the Italian ice cream or French croissants, for some local delicacies you’ll have to work a bit harder. But do, since this is a learning opportunity that will mark your kids’ life and help them become open-minded and broaden their horizons. Despite the fact your kid has never eaten sea food in her life, makes faces when you try to serve it home, be firm when she would rather have spaghetti than paella.
Be prepared for everything
Traveling with kids is not easy and there is no room for spontaneity. It takes months of careful preparation and weeks of planning and then finally hours of packing. You should always take more than you think you might need, even the worst of the worst case scenarios could happen, be prepared for it. Contact the hotel in advance to check how far it is to the nearest hospital; how the balcony door closes and how many times did the elevators break down in the last six months. Read on line forums to know what the country’s policy on vaccination is, can you drink water from the tap and do they have high chairs in the restaurants.
Kids need their toys
Everybody knows that kids have a short attention span, so bring along plenty of things they can play with. Don’t expect to be creative on a 10 hour flight or that kids will magically enjoy the in-flight selection of movies. It’s best if one bag is just full of their toys, books and accessories otherwise you might just be setting yourself up for a disaster. Don’t be discouraged with the fact that the kids will most probably fall asleep the second the plane taxis off and will never end up opening your magic bag. You should still carry it around just in case.
And while we are at it, the whole goal of your next family adventure might not be about fun, but just making it through.