If you want to make your kids laugh, tell them your plans. I’ve discovered that nowhere is that more true than in travel with my offspring. I am the jedi of planning and if someone (aka my kids) let me, I’d have meticulous plans for all of our trips till the end of 2019. But even I had to eventually (translation – after 3 trips of feeling like an utter failure for spending more time on the beach than in a museum) finally admit defeat. I had to stop including every museum and gallery on the itinerary and actually start adding time for the beach, park and playground. I have perfected the art of making an itinerary suitable for travel with kids. One you will not frustratingly throw into the nearest trash can the second you disembark the plane.
Rule number one. When I traveled by myself there was literally no museum or gallery, bridge or castle, no important stone left unturned. Even if it meant walking myself to the ground and still limping to work two weeks after I got back home. As if there was an exam at the end of the trip and they wouldn’t let me out of the country if I haven’t seen everything the Lonely Planet mentions. But forget guidebooks when traveling with kids. They are as useful as an evening dress on your trip. You can bring it along, but it’s not like you’ll get a chance to truly use it. So, pick a place a day. As in one. A museum, a gallery, a castle, a zoo… and after that no plans, just food and whatever the majority wants to do.
2) Forget family friendly
I hate the term family friendly. I don’t want to spend my holiday with a bunch of kids and their parents. I just want to be with my family and I don’t need anyone to be the epitome of friendliness. Not cringing when we enter is nice enough for me. Lot’s of things are appropriate for kids and the more you expose them to those things the sooner they will get accustomed to it and appreciate it. Slow down, take your time – hey you got all day and they will enjoy it.
Travel with kids is a democracy where everyone gets a vote. If you want to have a trip all will enjoy. The two of us parents still hold the power of veto, but we try to use it only a handful of times – as not to abuse it. It’s easy to fall into a trap and just be on the beach the entire holiday – but that sucks for me. We plan things that excite me or my husband and add things that we are sure the kids will enjoy without us working hard on it. But trips are a perfect way to share our passions with them. To show them what it is that makes my heart beat faster. It is a way to help them develop a passion as well. I am not kidding myself though, I beat they will not fall in love with the art, it might be something I will find utterly boring like football and we’ll end up visiting stadiums. Then I will regret not sticking to beaches. Though if she can join me and look at Monet, I’ll find a way to be interested in Messi.
4) Never ever forget food and drinks
Nothing makes me behave completely erratically than an empty stomach. And it’s a trait I have successfully transfered to my daughters. No matter how well planed your itinerary is, it will be a disaster, if you all are hungry and thirsty.
Remember no matter how much you feed them, the kids will want more the second you leave the hotel, B&B…
TripAdvisor’s App really helps if you need to find the best place to eat fast.
Cities are overwhelming and a big hassle for everyone. While you don’t need to avoid them, I find our trips much more relaxed in the countryside. Small villages, beaches, mountains, lakes, rivers, waterfalls all make a great outing and give kids more space for running around. My pro tip would be combination of it all.