‘The secret to surviving a long car journey with children.’ ‘Travel With Kids on Long Flights, And Survive.’ ’10 Tips to Survive Holiday Travel With Kids.’
These three headlines and there are many more out there, all contain one word that really bothers me. Survive. Why and when have we started thinking about how to survive travel with kids? It took me awhile to realize I do it, too. But it is not a chore, nobody is making us do it. It’s not about survival, it’s about having fun.
Nobody is making us do it
When my brother and I were kids, my parents took us to the sea, while the two of them traveled. When we got older, they deemed, we were ready to join them. Hence my own love for travel was born.
Hubbs and me, we didn’t want to wait for our girls to get older, we wanted to travel as a family right from the start. And yes travel with a baby and a toddler is a hassle, no doubt about it.
But in the end nobody is making us do it.
We chose it, we are actually making the kids do it and then we complain when they don’t play along.
Travel with kids isn’t a chore.
My parents sure never thought of it as survival, but then again they didn’t bother with questions such as: what are they going to do in the back of the car, on a flight, where will we eat, what will we eat, … And I am in no way criticizing them. I am more criticizing myself.
Maybe not even criticizing but reminding myself of what is important.
Because I have everything at my disposal, I can complicate as much as I want.
When I was a kid, my parents couldn’t bother with family friendly because there was not much focus on it then. Today, everything is family friendly, we had a crib on our flight to Canada, kids had a playroom at the airport, we have baby seats, kid seats, car games, family rooms, family menus, kids get coloring papers in most of the restaurants, there are playgrounds next to cafes, museums where kids are encouraged to touch… I could go on.
Not to mention the technology like tablets or navigational system – my brother and I could sit in the car, play if we were creative enough or sleep. The two of us would be divorced by now if there was no navigational system. My parents drove through Paris without it.
We want to have fun not survive travel with kids
And yet they told their friends they are excited about taking the kids to Paris and can’t wait for the holiday to start, while I tell my friends: ‘I am dreading this trip to Japan with kids…’
Is someone forcing me? No. Our choice entirely. And with all the changes in family travel over the years, I should be the one excited. I can check TripAdvisor for the best place to eat with kids. My parents had to follow their gut. Yet I call myself adventurous.
I am allowed to complicate, but I no longer want to. I want to say ‘The secret to having fun on a long car journey with children.’ ‘Travel With Kids on Long Flights, And Have Fun.’ ’10 Tips to have fun on a Holiday Travel With Kids.’
Most of all I want my kids to remember our travels as fun.
Because maybe my parents did feel scared and did think how do we survive this, I just don’t remember it. And I want my kids to have the same memories of our time off as fun. So, if I still catch myself using the word survive, it will only be in mind.
Easier said then done
It’s all dandy saying it, I will have fun traveling with kids. But after 5 hours in the car, all the resolutions might be forgotten. No. It’s up to us to make it fun.
We will still chose the destinations we like, aka Scotland, but we make it fun, OK, I’ll be honest, at least interesting for the kids. We try to make it easy. No schedules, sleep in late, go to the beach, walk around the town, try the local deserts or ice cream, …
That’s where we were making a mistake before. Running around, chasing sights… kids actually taught us, once we were ready to listen, to take it easy, to enjoy our holidays. Who says you have to see everything the Lonely Planet mentions.
Our days off are precious, we don’t have that many to spend together, and we don’t want them to be about survival. Everyday life is about that. Travel with kids should be about fun. Hence, we think in terms of less is more when it comes to the sights and compromise – that goes for all four of us and flexibility.