I thought travelling with kids would be easy, what is the big deal they are just kids, they will think it's fun. I found out that this wasn't the case when I took my 18-month daughter on a 14-hour flight to the US.
It was doomed from the start. I thought it would be fun to save a few dollars in parking and get the train to the airport, big mistake. Our daughter was already wanting out of her stroller to walk on her own around the train. It was 8 am and we still had a good 20 hours worth of travel and layovers.
Since then I have had to rethink the way my wife and I travel with our kids. Here are three hacks to keep in mind before you set off on your next adventure with your kiddos.
I found that it’s essential to anticipate situations way before they happen. Simply just thinking ahead and preparing can make all the difference. Its way too late when you are stuck in traffic, running late for a flight or trying to negotiate a better deal at the car rental desk. Create a checklist in your head and consistently go over it. Food, Bathroom, Sleep. Always travel with snacks and know where your next restroom break will be.
I found that upgrading has been a game changer. Gone are the days of cheap flights, staying at a hut on the beach and eating dinner at the tiny loud and bustling restaurant all the locals recommend. Now I am Upgrading my travel to keep me sane. The slightly bigger room, the nicer car rental company and size of the car, getting an uber instead of the train, and getting an overpriced babysitter at the hotel so my wife and I can eat dinner together, all worth it! Yes, these add-ons add up but the whole point of travelling is to enjoy yourself, and if you have an overtired hungry and uncomfortable toddler no one is going to enjoy themselves! NO ONE!
Stay calm, confident and certain at all times. Dads, you are the 'fearless leader' and being a strong leader will help your kids feel safe and secure. Even if your wife and kids can see through it, stay strong and remember your kids are out of their comfort zones and are looking to you for assurance. Keep your energy up and get ready to make those decisions with certainty.
You are never going have a trip that is hiccup-free, there is always going to be a few meltdowns and uncomfortable moments but it is how you deal with these moments that make you a great parent. At times you may even think, never again will we leave the house with our kids. Trust me, I just drove 10 minutes to a beach park with the family over the weekend. On the drive home, my wife and I looked at each other and said we may as well stay indoors for the next 2 years!
Travelling with kids really is worth it, despite the constant damage control. It allows them new experiences and helps them develop quickly, my daughter still points to planes in the sky, and says, "I fly with daddy." Nothing compares to lasting memories you create with your children. Let me know your travel hacks or funny stories in the comments.
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