Think back to childhood. What are some of your very favorite memories? When your children ask you to tell a story from when you were a child, what memories do you recall to share with them? Often those deep core memories are formed when there is a break in our routine. When we get out of the monotony of everyday life, we form lasting memories that stick out above all others.
That is one reason it is so good to travel with your children. It doesn’t have to be some big elaborate vacation where you spend tons of money – you just have to break up the routine, do something out of the norm, and just maybe introduce your child to something new.
I’d love to share a few things I’ve learned along the way in traveling with my children so that maybe traveling doesn’t feel so daunting the next time you think of planning a trip:
Travel off peak. If you have preschool aged and younger children, don’t travel during school holidays if at all possible. While you aren’t chained to a school calendar, plan your travel during the off-season to beat the crowds and the meltdowns while saving some cash!
Less is best. I know you need all the gear! I get it! I’ve been there carrying the beach chairs, wagon, double stroller, highchair, pack-n-play, nursing pillow and 463 stuffies up 13 flights of stairs to that beach condo. However, if you can take less gear, you’ll be much less stressed. Look for lodging that accommodates children. I was surprised to find how many places come with a pack-n-play, high chair, sippy cups and more. There are also lots of companies that will rent out beach, camping, children’s, etc. equipment. Oftentimes, they will even drop it off at your hotel in advance! Lastly, remember that you can purchase items when you get there or have them delivered to you lodging. There is no need to take 80 diapers and enough formula for the entire trip if you are able to purchase it when you get there.
Establish a “home base.” When traveling with kids, try keeping your lodging to one or two places. Backpacking through Europe is great, but packing up your things to stay in a different city each night is more challenging with littles. If possible, keep a “home base” that is accessible to the day trips you are interested in.
Take it slow. New cities and places are so fun! We often want to pack in all the experiences to get the most out of our trip. However, travel with kids is different, and often just one activity can be enough for the day.
Expect things to go wrong. Even if you weren’t traveling with your kids, you’d still probably get stuck in traffic going through that tunnel in Mobile, AL (definitely not speaking from experience 😊). With that in mind, things are going to happen that are out of your control. Some of those things will be caused by your children, and some of them won’t, but travel rarely goes perfectly, so don’t expect that it will!
If you are wavering on whether you should take that next trip with the kids, we encourage you to go for it! Yes, you’ll lose sleep (but are you really sleeping that great anyway?), and you might come back needing a vacation from your trip, but these are the memories that will stick. The memories formed through travel and time together as a family will be the stories that both you and your children recall years later!
-Kara R., Marketing Director