“Babies change the way that you travel”. This phrase is commonly repeated to new parents, but the reality of this doesn’t really set in until you take your first big trip with a baby.
Now that we have a couple trips under our belts with our babies (now toddler and preschool age), we are starting to appreciate the challenges that traveling with a kids can bring. Traveling with kids also brings new opportunities and a pleasant change of pace that can be refreshing, once you can shift your expectations around a little bit.
We were those manic, see everything travelers, frantically covering the globe, trying to see everything, every where, as fast as possible. We would pack our days, morning until night, doing whatever necessary to see all of the “must see” sights in any new destination.
This strategy is wonderful and exhausting and completely and utterly impossible with little people in tow.
Now when we travel, we usually don’t get to see everything on our list. We might miss [gasp] a major attraction because it will just be too grueling for the little ones (and thus not fun for parents). We might rush through a museum and see only the highlights because nap time is coming and a meltdown will happen if we stay a moment longer.
Divide and conquer has become a strategy in our travel tool belt. If one or both parents really wants to see something that it NOT kid friendly, sometimes we leave one parent with both kids or one parent takes the “easier” child to the sight while the other does something more fun with the other kid.
One big attraction is the most that we schedule in one day, sandwiched by plenty of time for naps and markets and playing in the park. No more running from morning till night.
There are some benefits to this new, slower mode of travel. We don’t’ see as many “big” sights, but we are much more likely to relax with other families in the local park, or to look for opportunities to stop in a local square to let the kids chase pigeons and indulge in some ice cream.
Traveling slow means that we prefer to rent a home or apartment instead of booking a hotel. “Living” for the week instead of just staying somewhere means that we are more immersed in local culture, cooking meals with produce from the local market. We love having a space for the kiddos to sleep in another room, and overall the apartment gives us a more relaxed approach to our travels.
Travel with a small children is different. Sometimes it can be more difficult, but we wouldn’t trade traveling with our little ones for ANYTHING!