If you love travel that won’t go away after having kids. The thrills of travel, seeing something with fresh eyes, lingering in the moment, pursuing curiosities, giving in to profound wonder, are a natural state of childhood. Many travelers are chasing that back to childhood sensation that exploring new places can invoke. That is to say, kids are natural travelers and travel can make you feel more like a kid.
A child beside you asking questions can often make you look at things differently. However, when that question is “Where is the potty?” and you are in the middle of nowhere it can break the spell somewhat.
So how do you balance the pure joy of showing your child the world and the predictably mundane challenge of everyday life that does not disappear at the border?
- Planning. The thrilling stress if arriving in a new city without a plan will surely be debilitating stress with a munchkin in tow. You can take an amazing trip to exotic locations but for safety and sanity you may need to spend some more time on trip planning and shell out a bit more cash for comfort. Logistics aside you are free to explore at a child’s pace.
- Pace. Speaking of pace. Set your sightseeing expectations aside. You will simply see less with a kid so you may want to stay longer. Rent an apartment and take it slow. Then fickle moods and weather can help plan the day. Kids are like current. Swim downstream and you’ll float along fine. Swim upstream and you will be exhausted and get nowhere. You are not a salmon, go with the flow.
- Packing. I recommend traveling with backpacks. That keeps your arms free for strollers and scooping up tired toddlers. Pack light. With the exception of a good first aid kit, anything you can get in your destination, buy as you go. This is another place where research will pay off. You can find juice boxes and diapers most anywhere. Cheerios, however, are hard to find. My backpack was basically filled with baggies of Cheerios.
It’s interesting. So many of my takeaways from traveling with a young kid flies in the face of my budgeting advice. It’s hard to adhere to the shoestring backpacking principles of spontaneity and sacrificing comfort when you’re responsible for a tiny human. But that’s the trade-off. Now go explore!