Travelling with kids can be fun and frustrating, rewarding and challenging all at the same time.
Being prepared helps, but even with the most advanced prep sometimes the unexpected happens (like getting stuck on the runway for six hours before your flight or your car breaking down in the middle of the Rockies).
It can be exhausting even at the best of times.
My husband always says he needs a vacation from his vacation when we return home.
Despite all of this, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
It’s hard work, but seeing my children’s faces light up at things I might have missed makes it all worthwhile.
That being said, I feel like I’ve learned a few things from travelling with two kids that I can pass along.
Take your time! Everyone including your kids will be more relaxed and happy if you give yourself more time to get to your destination whether it’s to the airport or on a long car trip.
My family drove to Calgary last summer and we took three days to get there. We camped in Revelstoke and Lake Louise and finally made our way to Calgary on the fourth day.
We got to enjoy all the sights along the way because we only spent a few hours driving each day.
Be prepared! The only way we survived our epic six-hour stint on the runway was by having tons of food, toys and books to amuse our then 18-month-old.
Have some surprise toys or activities that you can bring out when they start to get grumpy.
When we’re in the car I bring lots of audio books from the library (especially good if reading or watching movies makes your child carsick.)
We also play games from my childhood that I enjoyed playing, like “Perdiddle” and “I Spy”.
Less is more. With most airlines charging for bags, getting away with packing less is definitely a good option.
My family of four recently flew to Toronto for two weeks and we got everything into one checked bag that just squeaked in at 50 lbs.
I packed about four or five outfits for each of us.
We had to do a few loads of laundry when we were there, but I didn’t miss anything I didn’t bring.
In fact, there were even some clothes that we didn’t wear.
There are lots of great travel books at the library that offer great advice for all kinds of trips. “Travel with Kids” by William Gray explores different trips to take on every continent and includes a review by age of what each destination has to offer for your kids.
If you’re still not sure where to go on vacation Frommer’s has a great guide called “500 places to take your kids before they grow up”.
But really don’t sweat it. You’re making amazing memories that will last forever and of course the more you travel with your kids, the better you’ll get at it.
Crystal Fletcher is an Assistant Community Librarian at the Summerland Branch of the Okanagan Regional Library and loves to travel (light) with her kids!