Are you one of them? It’s a large group of parents who use their children as the excuse for not traveling. They say it’s impossible. But is it really?
Cindy, a dedicated worldwanderluster, took her five children on a cruise out of Long Beach and visited Mexico and Catalina Island. Her children loved the trip and so did Cindy and her husband.
Brad took four children to Panama in January. His oldest child had been studying the rainforest in his 1st grade class when they made the trip. They completed their assignments overlooking the ocean.
Heath, another worldwanderluster, frequently takes his children to Costa Rica. They enjoy surfing, swimming in the ocean, hiking, and eating delicious fruit.
Trevor, who has been my travel inspiration for much of my life, did a European cruise without his child after finding family and friends who would watch his son for him. They thouroughly enjoyed Istanbul, Ukraine, and other ports along the way.
Ok. Ok. Ok. Fair enough. These are all best case scenarios, but the common thread is that these people all love traveling. It will never be easy to travel with children. You’re dreaming if you think it will be easy.
1. Take it easy– Many of the itineraries that we create readily show our travel ADHD. Most of our itineraries probably wouldn’t work with children. Plan on staying in the same hotel for longer than 2 nights at a time will make your life much easier.
2. Choose an easy destination– Picking Russia as your first vacation with children might not be the best idea. You should probably plan on choosing somewhere in the states, just you can see how to really make it happen. Keeping the same language will make your life easier and the stress level down.
3. Ok. You’ve got eight kids, Fine! Just Drive- There is nothing wrong with an epic road trip. If you’ve got eight kids you’re not taking too many flights unless you work for an airline or you’re super rich. You have no idea how many byways are close to you. Plan on camping a night or two between hotels. That will significantly lower the cost of your vacation in terms of dollars and miles.
4. Don’t think “the world is too scary”– Look. I’m not asking you to head to Syria or Egypt. Obviously those places are dangerous. I wouldn’t even go there, and that is saying a lot. There is nothing wrong with visiting many places across the globe. Your children would love Costa Rica or Panama, and those are very safe places.
5. Accrue the Points and Miles– This one is obvious because we’re a points and miles blog, but don’t’ overlook the power of this method. Lisa, an avid worldwanderluster took her four children to Tennessee to visit her brother’s family with the Southwest CC and only had to pay for a one way ticket home for one of the six of them. What a steal!
6. Plan the day around the children– Kids need naps. Believe me, as a parent of two children who often skip their naps, I know this. That is why on our trip to Europe we planned our days around his two naps. We always spend the morning at the hotel and doing minor site seeing close by. Then we’d hop in the car and allow him to nap. We would plan lunch around a fun activity that would allow him to get out his wiggles. Then we’d get in the car and he’d nap again.
7. Hire a nanny– We rarely suggest that you pay for your travel, but when it comes to caring for your children we recommend you pay whatever it costs. Your children are worth more to you than a trip. Don’t let some dirtbag care for your children because they quoted a lower price. Find a deal and pay them whatever it costs to ensure your kids will be well cared for.
8. Bring along a nanny– This is a great way for you to have a romantic dinner with your spouse. Find a reliable youth that can care for your children while you go out on the town.
9. Do kid friendly activities you both like– Bring along the lifejackets and swim with them in the ocean or lake. Both you and the kids really enjoy swimming. Art museums might be off limits for this vacation, so plan on visiting the Louvre when you’re just with your spouse.
10. Trade with Friends– This isn’t a suggestion to put your keys in the bowl, and we’re not sending you to a swinger party. Find a few friends that also love to travel and work out an arrangement to care for each others’ children while they’re out of town. It will help you to spend more time with your spouse.
I realize that traveling with children is not easy. Tears and meltdowns are bound to happen. Hopefully these ideas embolden you with the courage to forge ahead and book your next trip! What other advice do you have for others?