Tips and Tricks for Traveling with Kids

Kids at the beach?

Meeting kids’ AND parents’ needs on the road – how do you build it in? is a topic that starts off with a really good question, especially for this time of year:

[H]ow do you build a sightseeing trip when you have small children? Is it just not worth it until they are older?

How do you cope when you don’t have a sitter, your kids hate the museum, and you’re about to go insane from zero parental downtime? Check out the thread for coping strategies, including

  • Rely on quick grocery store prepared foods or take-out if restaurants aren’t in your budget.
  • Travel with other families, for built in playmates for old and young. (Also: babysitting swaps!)
  • Trade off downtime between parents, and make sure you take that time physically away from the kids, so you can recharge.
  • Build in downtime, and lower your expectations. If your plans aren’t working, scrap your plans and start from scratch. More playgrounds, fewer cultural sites.

I hadn’t thought of it this way, but this really rings true for me:

I think that you are right that fundamentally, a vacation with small children is just different – prior to kids, your ‘work’ is what, say, 60% work, 20% social obligations, 10% household obligations, and 10% basic self care (feeding, exercise, etc.).  So on vacation, you’re somewhere between 80-100% off, depending on your lodging/food arrangement.

Post kids, mental energy is what, something like 60% kid, 25% work, 5% each to social, household, and basic self care.  So, on a family vacation, assuming no child care, you are at best about 35% off. WAY DIFFERENT from 80%!

If you’re about to take a family vacation, you might want to check out the whole Travel board (public) and Motherhood and Travel (register to read). You’ll find useful topics like:

Image credit: beach by ECraig4



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