Monday, April 11, 2016

Traveling With Kids (And Enjoying It)

When it comes to traveling with kids there are two schools of thought: Wait until the kids are old enough to remember and appreciate the experience or the Let's Go Now school.

I belong to the second group. I'm eager for my kids to rack up stamps in their passports and to log road trip miles now when they're young. Even if they don't remember the specifics of every trip or landmark, they gain a new understanding about how our spot on the map is just a little corner in this great big world. Not to mention, traveling is cheaper when kids are little. A day is coming all to soon when we won't be able to convince our crew that sleeping on a pull-out couch is fun!

Maximize your family's natural energy - Is your family composed of early risers or night owls (or a combination)? We're all early risers and we capitalize on that. We get up, have a big breakfast and then head out, attempting to arrive at most places just as they open. It works for us because we can beat most of the crowds (and often the heat of the day). But if that's not what works for you, then do what does. Sleep in, have a leisurely brunch and downtime before you hit the day's highlights. While you might not beat the biggest crowds, you'll enjoy yourself more because you're doing what works for you (and you will miss some of the people, the early birds like me will already be back at the hotel!)

Plan one big and one little - Nothing kills an outing like over scheduling. You have to buzz through places without time to fully explore or experience them. Plus people get tired, cranky and hungry from all the shuttling back and forth.

While it's true that you may not get to everything on your To Visit list, you'll have more fun if you only plan for one main activity a day and then squeeze in a side activity if everyone's in the mood. Our smaller activity is almost always hanging out at the pool. We get much greater cooperation at museums and historical sites when our kids know that they'll be spending the afternoon belly flopping into the water.

Make the food a highlight - In a family of eaters, this comes naturally. But food is a really big part of travel. You're trying new things, you're eating on a different schedule, and if you're at all like us, you're living it up a little. An ice cream cone tastes good anywhere!

Although we try to eat healthfully at home, when it comes to travel of any kind, we're much more likely to say yes. "Yes, you can pick out a treat for the car ride." "Yes, we know you've walked 'forever' today. After this next exhibit, we'll find a snack." "Of course, I'll buy you this fruit from the street vendor." A little compromising on food buys you a lot of cooperation.

Happy travels!


  1. For me, the painful part of traveling is that my youngest starts waking up in the night. So, traveling comes with the knowledge that we'll need lots of coffee! Worth it, though.

    - K.

  2. Make sure you visit the quaint tea rooms that are hidden in the rolling fields of the Wolds. The Wolds is an area which provides pure relaxation, tuck yourself away with a good book and enjoy the peace and quiet. Make sure you explore the Wolds on foot, to really appreciate the nature that this place has an abundance of.

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    1. Adding the Wolds to my must-visit list!