I took my first flight to San Antonio, Texas in the 6th grade. I missed Outdoor Science School to go on this solo trip with my dad to visit my grandparents. It was worth it.
I went on my first international trip the summer between junior and senior year of high school. It was just the girls in the family: Mom, me, and my younger sister. We went to Israel and Egypt. I loved it.
My first year in college, I started traveling solo. I was addicted. I knew I wanted to travel as much as possible before a career and motherhood saddled me down. So I did. I went to Italy 3x. China. England 3x. Scotland. France. Israel. Mexico. Hungary. A ton of other places.
And then I got married. Had kids. I remembered what I used to think: travel before you have kids and can’t travel anymore. But then I thought…fuck that…why do I have to give up my traveling? Wasn’t there some kind of benefit of traveling with kids? Don’t they get smarter if they get exposed to culture and diversity and history and art and all that good stuff? Something? Hell yeah! It sure won’t kill them, right?
In 2014, we took our two kids to Paris and Israel. It was a good experience, albeit expensive. That’s the thing. Traveling with kids can be expensive. People always ask if it’s too hectic/crazy/insane. Life with kids is hectic/crazy/insane whether you’re in Boringville, USA or on an international trip. I would argue that traveling is actually better with kids than staying home because they have new things to do and are out and about, and my kids always do better in that scenario. If you can find a way to make the finances work, that’s the biggest obstacle, in my opinion.
We’re giving it a shot again. I’m in the throes of planning our next adventure. The only thing I know for sure is that we’re flying to London (because I got a kick-ass deal), and then we’re heading out to new places. We’re thinking Copenhagen and Stockholm, and then rounding out our trip with Paris, because we’re francophiles. Even my 6 year old son. He loves Parisian parks, macaroons, and crepes.
Some things we learned from our last trip:
- Travel light. LIGHT! No suitcases full of toys that the kids don’t play with anyway. No extra clothes. ONE suitcase for the entire family. That’s it.
- We’ll be using our Ergos again. We’ll probably bring our stroller too, only because we intend to go running in the beautiful parks in Europe. They’re amazing.
- We’re not going to cram a zillion museum trips into our time overseas. Just a few special ones we haven’t been to, or want our kids to go to. Simple. Lots of down time just to enjoy parks, walks, etc.
- I’ll be researching the hell out of our eating options. We’re now vegetarians (since our last trip), so that will take more planning. There is one awesome place I will eat at and break my vegetarianism, and that’s Polidor in Paris. That place is so good. Have you seen Midnight in Paris? You should. And then you’ll know what I’m talking about when I say Polidor is cool.
Everything is still pending. I spend hours scouring the Internet for deals and ideas. Step one in my travel planning is to figure out the cities and transportation. Once that’s settled, then I’ll figure out where we’ll stay. The next stage would be planning a daily agenda (where we would go, etc), and final stage will be planning what we’ll eat. I want every detail squared away. I’ve been traveling for almost 20 years now. I consider myself pretty seasoned and I know exactly what I want. That’s the great thing about getting older. I’m much more experienced, wiser, and comfortable with my ability to make decisions and know intuitively what I want. I listen to that inner voice and I’m usually not sorry that I did.
I’ll do a proper post about planning these trips with families if anyone is interested. The one thing I wanted to leave off on though is that if you’re interested in traveling with kids, it’s totally doable. Seriously. If you want to do it, you can make it happen. Go for it. Nobody said parenthood has to be ball-and-chains.