I read alot of family travel blogs, and come across even more while doing research for this blog. The ones I enjoy the most are the true stories of people actually traveling with their kids, and the challenges and rewards that go with those adventures. What drives me a bit crazy (I am constantly planning new trips with my kids, so we already know I am a bit crazy!) is when travel writers review destinations, accomodations and activities that sound absolutely fabulous for traveling with kids, except for the fact that they are mostly inaccessible to normal families.
The reality is that many of us who love traveling with our children cannot afford to stay in super-expensive theme hotels, cannot access behind the scenes tours, and cannot get the extra special treatment given to travel writers who are hosted by tourism promoters. Don't get me wrong, they have earned their special tours and some families are in the position to access those same travel perks. But as a regular family, I wanted to know where to get the best deals on accomodations, how to find the sights-less-seen yet available to all, and when to travel to popular destinations to get the best experience for the whole family. I wanted to find out from real families how to get the most vacation bang for my money and time.
That is why we created KinderJet. For families who travel to share their experiences, and to provide inspiration for all families to travel. And to be honest about traveling with kids, because although it is always worth it, it is not easy by any means.
Here are 5 truths about traveling with kids.
1) Traveling with kids is expensive. Plane tickets, hotel rooms, theme park tickets, museum entries, meals, souvenirs, travel gadgets. There are always ways to cut back and save money, but you will still have to save a bundle to travel with the family. Or pick your favourite kid and leave the rest at home with grandparents. (I am totally kidding. Leave all the kids at home with grandparents and travel like you did when you were first married. Still totally kidding.)
2) Traveling with kids is stressful. Did you pack everything? Will junior throw up on the plane or in the customs line-up? How will you keep the kids busy during your 4 hour layover? Don't worry, you will have time to relax, while they are asleep at night, or when you get home, or maybe never.
3) Traveling with kids is exhausting. You need to plan yourself a vacation for after your vacation. Seriously. You think I'm joking but I'm not. Send the kids back to school jet-lagged and take a day for yourself to sleep. You will need it.
4) Traveling with kids is hard. See all of the above, and then add in the judgements of strangers, trying to understand different cultures, dealing with injury or illness away from home, getting lost as a family, a child getting lost on their own, delayed flights, faulty rental vehicles, language barriers, etc, etc. They say it a test of a relationship if you can travel together. And your relationship is tested even further when you have children. Traveling together with your kids will push you to the breaking point. But if you can manage it...
5) Traveling with kids is fun! It is. Really. Seeing new things through their young, wide open eyes. Satisfying their curious minds with history, culture and events that they could have only heard or read about otherwise. Discovering places and experincing things together as a family. And overcoming all of the above through teamwork and patience. All of this will make you so glad you packed them all up and took them with you instead of leaving them at the grandparents'.
Traveling with kids. It is always worth it.