Does anyone really enjoy traveling with their kids? I think you know our answer. YES! Or why would we keep doing it? (You can learn more about our family's love of travel here and here). We've pulled together five quick tips for how to enjoy travel with your kids more:
1. Do your homework. Research and plan. If you aren't prepared, it is chaos and it's not fun. We recently spent a weekend in Dallas at the Texas State Fair. The fair was amazing but also very crowded and busy. Luckily, we had spent some time ahead of our visit to decide our highest priority activities and map them out so we avoided a lot of craziness.
2. Incorporate things you want to do and what your kids want to do so everyone has fun. This summer when we were in Paris I had a list of museums and sights I wanted to visit as a family. But, not everything we had planned seemed exciting to our kids. To compromise, most days we spent a few hours at a park or doing a kid-friendly activity and then we spent a few hours shopping or visiting a museum that I wanted to go to. It didn't always work out perfectly, but we managed to have a lot more fun than we would've if we had just dragged our kids around.
3. Try something hard or new so you can bond even more as a family. One of our all time favorite activities this summer in Haarlem was renting a bakfiets (Dutch cargo bike) to ride around town. I tried to drive my girls on the bike, but I ended up tipping it over. Luckily, my husband came to the rescue and drove the girls around while I followed on anotherbike. We were able to experience life like a traditional Dutch family and we all had a wonderful time.
4. Stop for treats. A lot. This is pretty self-explanatory. We always stop for treats. In Europe we probably had 2-3 treats per day because it was so hot and the kids had to walk so much. There is something about a treat that improves everyone's mood.
5. Appreciate the little things. A lot can go wrong, but you can focus on the good. Every once in a while on a plane all of my kids are happy and entertained for 5-10 minutes and it is pure bliss. When that happens I try to soak it all in and remember that feeling of peace amidst the chaos. When we choose to focus on the positive instead of the negative it can change our whole day.
And, when all else fails, anticipate the memories. It's not always easy to travel with kids, but it doesn't have to impossible or scary. And, a lot depends on your attitude.