Summer is the time of the year when we all start to think about vacations, trips and traveling in general. I believe that I have been born with wanderlust. It just never stops – the sweet craving for different places, countries, people to see, meet and explore.
The favorite sound for my ears is the baggage wheels on the road. The biggest dream I have had since I was a child is to travel the whole world. I am still hopeful that I will make it come true. I have visited 26 countries till now, mostly Europe and some of Africa. Every trip was an adventure, and it made me so happy that at times I can’t even recognize myself on the photos from those trips. Traveling has such an effect on you. It softens you and shapes you into a more happy and careless person.
When I got pregnant, there were remarks of the type:
- ”Now you will have to settle down”,
- ”You can’t travel a lot with a kid”,
- “It is such a torture to be on the road with a baby/toddler”…
Nothing of it stopped me, though. I was traveling when I was pregnant, and we are now traveling with our little boy. Of course it is different. The routine, the way of traveling, the sightseeing… Everything is changed and adjusted accordingly to the needs of our little one.
The only thing that remained the same is the happiness and that unique feeling of pure joy you get when you wake up in a foreign city that waits to be explored.
Traveling has a lot to do with discovering yourself, too. And finding new strengths and capabilities you weren’t aware of. In order to encourage you to travel with your toddlers, as much and as far as you can, I am sharing some advice to help you make it a pleasant and unforgettable experience.
- Be yourself!
If you get over excited and preoccupied of how it will be, your child will sense your uneasiness and most probably it will pass on him/her. If you are not a strictly organized mama, with a schedule and a plan for everything, don’t try to be one while traveling. Don’t get to much into details, remain spontaneous – stop when you see a fun place that is interesting for your munchkin and don’t set a precise time of arrival at the hotel. You will always be either late or too early.
Let your husband and your kid/kids be themselves. They won’t change just because the location has changed. If your kiddo is super active, plan for that. If it is calm and a sleeping beauty, plan for that too.
- Get rid of expectation – the fun will come in another version
I used to think that eating raw fish and sea food in a restaurant by the beach in some fishermen village is a definition of a fun evening on vacation. Now, dinner on the balcony of our hotel room with a twinkle, twinkle little star as a background music and my toddler napping in his stroller caressed by the sea breeze sounds as the most enjoyable evening ever. We are both scuba divers, my husband and I, and during our vacation being on the beach meant being under water, and that is definitely one of the most fun things to practice in water. And now? Splashing with my boy in the shallow waters and pretending to be a whale can’t be compared to anything.
- Keep their daily routine the same
Children are all about structure and routine. Whenever you change their routine, they change too, and for the worse. If you don’t want your little treasure to transform into a little monster throwing tantrums on the beach or anywhere, don’t make changes on their eating and nap time. You won’t be able to stay a whole day on the beach, therefore the best option is to stay at a hotel on the beach, so that you can get back in your room whenever your little one needs to lay down. When my boy was one year old, we went on a vacation in Greece. We were on the beach from 11 a.m to even 7 p.m but it was a camping beach with a tiny pine forest. He slept under the trees in his stroller. Since back then he was still breastfeeding, it was much easier when it came down to feeding him. He was so comfortable and happy there.
- Plan the road trips so that your child won’t get bored
Long road trips are not the same with a toddler or two in the back seat. Toddlers get bored easily, they need change of scenery, the pee stops can happen in a ridiculously short time gap and they need movement in order to calm. The best solution is to travel at night. That way you’ll win the distance while they are asleep, and they will wake up in a new destination, fresh, relaxed and ready to explore. If that is not an option, you will need to prepare for their entertainment. Invent games; get a bunch of stickers, figurine, travel activity box or bag. Wrap them separately, so that they can make a game unwrapping them. Another great idea is to make a road map for them to track. You can add a treasure component by rewarding checkpoints on your trip. The map is the best solution for the most repeated questions on the road: -” Are we there yet?” and -“When we will arrive?”
Don’t forget to pack a portable potty, the favorite teddy or the blankie your kiddo sleeps with.
- Enjoy it!
I wish we could travel all the time. We all get so much benefits of it. Just being in another country and getting to know another culture will teach your child that diversity is good. They learn so much with traveling: how to communicate, how to interact, how to find fun in every little activity. They learn history with actually seeing the landmarks and being there where history happened. That is the best way of learning. One of the most important benefits is that they get to understand and later even learn foreign languages. Whenever you have an opportunity, take the advantage and go somewhere you have never been. While being on vacation, you get to spend the whole time with your kids. Yes, it can be exhausting but it is also fun and it will give you great memories.
- Travel with their grandparents
The last one, in case I still haven’t convinced you, travel with one or both of your parents. You will appreciate those extra helping hands. Kids usually act better with grandparents.
I hope I have given you enough tips to make you start packing, or at least booking a flight.
I know, there is no place like home, but the best memories are almost always connected to another place at another city or country. By discovering the world, little by little, we are also discovering ourselves. Little by little.
Author: Daniela Miovska
My Quiet Spot
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