Backpack to Buggy

Travel with the kids, not for the kids.

Backpack to Buggy random header image

Just Do It! Plan your “family” trip today.

August 1st, 2008 · No Comments · Experience

Traveling with young children is tough. But, so is living with and caring for them. Why should travel be different? If you have not stopped living with and caring for your child, you should not stop traveling. As parents, we are more than capable, qualified and deserving of a trip. In fact start planning your next trip now.

No, it is not the same as those BC days (Before Child), but adjust your thinking a little and it will be fine. Keep in mind:

Loading Rental Car in Halifax

Loading Rental Car in Halifax

Everything takes more time. Between picking out clothes to pack and then unpack (so I would not need a steamer trunk for a weekend away), I would eat up at least four stressful hours. Now I have to do the same for my daughter, plus figure out the best lugging logistics – combine suitcases? Wheelie or duffle? G’s or disposable? Cooler of milk/food? Etc. Packing now starts days in advance. BC, I could quickly stop for a potty break between flights and run to the connecting gate if needed. Now I need to allow time for my break (with company), a diaper change, a meltdown and lugging a car seat through the airport. Leave lots of extra time in your travel plans and don’t try and accomplish too much.

It is possible to maintain routine away from home. I quickly learned routine was my friend as a new parent. If nothing else, it helped me anticipate my daughter’s needs and keep my sanity knowing when the next nap or bedtime would arrive. When traveling, I try and maintain nap and bed times adjusted for the local time zones and quickly establish a meal routine. Sleeping is as simple as making sure my daughter is in a sling or stroller around nap time, and bringing favorite bedtime stories along. Mealtime was pretty easy while breastfeeding, but as we transitioned to solids it was a matter of always carrying snacks.

Make sure there is stuff you enjoy. When I put together our first family trip to Hawaii, I focused on making it as easy as possible and boy did I miss the mark. While we had a great apartment with beautiful view of the crashing waves, I had to do everything – shop for food, pack the car to go to the beach, find a beach with enough shade, drive everywhere, etc. I should have booked something I wanted – walk to a beach with waves big enough for boogie boarding, spa on site or walking distance so I could take a massage break, and room service or food delivery. If I had focused more on what I wanted to get out of our first “vacation,” I would have been able to swim in the ocean and we would have spent a lot less time in the car (looking for restaurants, beach umbrellas, family friendly beaches, etc).

Kids enjoy changes of environment. In the language of educational toy marketers, travel is “interactive experiences,” “playful,” “enriching,” “visual and auditory stimulation,” “inspiring and enlightening” and “children under the age of two delight in the beauty of the world around them” (over two as well). Exploring new sights, new people, new sounds, new sensations, new foods, new animals is what kids are wired to do and is far more effective then a plastic box with lights and electronic tweets. Don’t be afraid of going someplace new.

Kids can make travel more engaging. More about this in future entries, but people treat you differently travelling with kids. Outside of the US, kids open doors and tables at booked restaurants and wonderful conversations with strangers. (Personally, I have found the US culture is not as welcoming to children and families but travel outside the US and let me know what you think). I found with a child, I go to different places and spend more time at the places I do go. Because of this I notice a lot more about the community I am visiting and have gained a new perspective on old sites. Even when visiting family, I can quickly divert an in-law nag session by pointing out something cute or new my daughter is doing.

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