The Joy of Traveling...With Kids!
Before I start let me assure you, it is nothing short of crazy to move around with kids. But is something you'll have to do, once in a while. No matter the reason, joy, duty or pain, you will eventually find yourself packing bags and asking for the Gods to shed some good luck in your endeavors. Because you see, nothing ever ends up as you expect it, and no matter how much experience you think you have in the area, how much you plan it, how good your intentions, in the end, something will happen. And then, if you add some dogs to the mix, well I will say, You're in for a particular kind of craziness.
This reminds me of our road trip back in 2016. We took kids and dogs with us to Mulege, Baja California Sur. The distance from San Diego is about 630 miles down south. We got there in two days. I'll give you a summary: After 5 days of dry camping under the Cortes massive sun, with no regular showers, food or beds, our breaking point was Molly, our then puppy, who got stung by a bee in the nose, sniffed some wild coyote poop and ended up getting sick the last day we were there. She pooped all over me (twice) in our way back! I have this mental picture in my head I'll probably won't ever be able to erase, of myself in the middle of nowhere, rushing out of the passenger's seat, all covered in dog poop while the kids scream in the back, my hubby freaked out big time and Molly kept pooping everywhere. I had to stay shirtless for a few hours since our luggage was buried in the trunk with all the camping gear on top. Molly naturally pooped on me again, no shirt this time.
But they say you never stop learning, and I'm happy to tell you that's true. I've learned a few things after that experience, for example, always have a spear change near you and most importantly, When traveling with dogs, bring tons of newspapers!
Molly stung by a bee in Mulege, Mexico, 2016.
After the ordeal of moving around with kids (and sometimes dogs) has passed, though, there is a sublime dose of joy and satisfaction that you can only get from that experience. Is like the learning is waiting for you where you go, imprinting in your child's mind with a particular kind of wisdom you only get when you're far away from home, pushing your limits and shaking their comfort zones. There is some kind of lessons you can just learn by traveling.
But that doesn't mean you can't be somewhat prepared or at least try to when it comes to traveling with kids. As I said, every experience is unique and will shake you to the core in a specific way, but there's also a sort of transferrable knowledge if you may, that will help you make the hard parts more bearable. This is why I prepared my 5 Commandment List for Traveling with Kids (you're welcome!). And I hope it would be of some help next time you travel with your little ones!
5.Always listen to your spirit of adventure.
Hey! I get it! Sometimes you will feel like wanting to go back in the middle of it! You'll be probably tired as heck, plus will have these tiny little voices around you asking "how much longer?" every minute or so! I went back more times than I can remember! One time even concluded my trip a few days before planned! If you find it in you to stay put and hit the goal, do it! Once you're done, You'll end up with this sense of achievement! Climb those stairs, walk that street! Kids are surprisingly adventurous. They enjoy new experiences much more than we give them credit for. Also, don't let a bad experience stop you from trying again! You've got this!
4. Find joy in the simple things.
Traveling can be expensive, and sometimes our expectations are too high. We think kids won't enjoy simple trips to destinations not prefabricated for them. As parents, we want them to enjoy the experience so bad, we end up associating vacations with the pricey 100% kid-friendly locations only. But not everywhere you go needs to be an amusement park, though! There's much joy in simpler experiences, I bet you'll be surprised! I remember the hardest moment I faced planning an upcoming trip was shifting away from the kid-friendly mentality we used to have. With it, we got to discover a universe of possibilities! For example, do you know how happy an animal shaped balloon can make a child if that's the only thing they have to entertain themselves? They can play with it for hours! Chasing seagulls at the beach or counting stars on the horizon are some examples of things I never imagined my kids would be in to, but they really were! The moment of truth is when I ask them where they want to go next, and they keep asking for the less expensive destinations!
3. Make them a part of it.
If I've learned something over the years of traveling with my kids is that everything goes smoother when they're being included in the everyday activities. Kids just like adults have this intense need for achievement. When they take some responsibilities and get involved in the daily chores, this experiences will enhance their engagement, and they will feel more in tune with the mood you are setting. Let them be in charge of some things, like music, trash, schedules, even food preparation if they're old enough to do so! Have them decide on some of the family activities too, like picking out spots, and where to go next. Little humans enjoy the sense of power and control, and with healthy boundaries, this can be the perfect technique to get them involved in your traveling experience!
2.Beware of storms.
Because they will eventually come! It doesn't mean your vacations will be less worth it. Growth and learning happen when we put ourselves outside of our comfort zone, and this includes children of course. As the days pass, multiple factors like sharing the same room or tent, tiredness, homesickness, lack of sleep, etc., will combine to bring you some moments of disaster. My advice, be ready Freddy! Grab your emotional umbrella and guide your tribe to a safe place to wait for the sun. And remember, there is no such thing as a perfect vacation! Even in the most paradisiac skies, there's always little clouds threatening to rain on your parade! A positive attitude is your best ally! I've experienced this first hand. I've watched beautiful days downspin to mayhem just because some lousy attitude got in the way! Breath deep, get some quiet You time, shake it off and put that smile back on your face, that's always the key for a fantastic day!
1. Embrace the awkwardness.
While getting to your destination, whether you're on a train, an airplane, or a car, the truth is you're headed for a few hours in confinement with kids. You know? The bugger producer, pee claimer, burp contestant, fight-picking type. They can be a little nasty, and this is ok. But, it can be a little too much though, after the first 4 hours in a confined area! That's why I suggest being prepared with wipes, tissue, and all those supplies that can make your travel a little easier! Games and toys are always a good idea! Prepare a trip's playlist everyone will enjoy! Bring snacks, nothing entertains dogs and kids as much as food! My latest recipe is a simple yet satisfying meal you can carry everywhere you go! Kids love it, and it's ideal for Picnics and Road Trips! Check it out and enjoy the ride, after all, your adventure is just getting started!
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