Travelling with children is like seeing the world with different eyes: their own. Wide-eyes, just as explorers, first time looks give you the opportunity to taste the most simple things, the one that adults often don’t see anymore. We have this sensation once we go back to a place we have seen before, after the pregnancy, but also when we go to discover new places.
1 From the historical cities of our beautiful country, the most challenging and far away ones, in order to travel with children, you need to take their rhythms into consideration and forget the city’s frenesy. This is the first advice to encourage you and allow you to travel. Doing everything calmly, you will enjoy a lot more the places, the people and the local culture. No need to drag them around with the stroller and force them to follow your planning. So, remember to bring calm into your trip, plan less stressful itineraries, you will see less but sharing the things you will have selected and seen with your family, it will give a lot more to the whole family.
2 It is important to leave your home with clear ideas. Take precise information and take time to create itineraries at their measure day by day, looking for reassurances on internet. Embark on a trip organized in every detail doesn’t mean to deprive yourself of the pleasure of discovery and adventure. You will still enjoy the surprise effect, as it is part of the observant traveler experience and the philosophy behind it.
3 Choose the right destination is another condition to follow. The destination needs to be decided analysing the tastes of the parents, but also keeping in mind the exigences of the youngests. Some countries and activities are better for children who are used to move and play, others for contemplative ones, or for the ones who love sports. It doesn’t have to be a trip where you stay at the same place all the time, but a trekking may be too much if your child is still in diapers.
4 If you choose together the destination of your next holidays, as soon as the child is old enough, will multiplicate the value of the trip. Go and visit a city or a country they have been studying at school or they have seen in one of their evening reading. It will be the best present ever. We all know that experience is much better than any lesson. Children need to see and touch to understand.
5 Food cannot be a problem but an opportunity to share. Of course it is a good idea to take information of the local cuisine and avoid spicy food or dangerous ingredients, if eaten raw. In general, tasting new meals is an habit to give to the youngests. You can relax, some whines take a different importance while we are in holidays and your children could surprise you.
6 Adults and children jet lags are pretty similar, but you will see after a long intercontinental flight that your children will be a lot more flexible on this point. If for adults, time zone is translated by a sense of tiredness, difficulties to sleep and confusion, your children will feel a sense of lack of appetite and will feel upset. But, they can sleep and take food anywhere. They can fell asleep in extreme conditions, sometimes standing up and as for the appetite, they have no timetable. The youngest they are, the more adaptable they are to new timetables!
7 Travel lightly. Because the moment when you need to take your children in your arms or when they are tired arrives, you need, mums, to work a lot on making the luggages as lights as possible and take with you only the essential. Easiest to say than to do when you need an army for the youngest ones. Here, mums, we have to sharpen our wits, because adaptability and fantasy always win! You don’t have to bring everything, stroller can be helpful for many other occasion such as lunch time, break time,… If you choose to rent a totally equipped apartment, you will be sure to have everything at disposal, without worries.
8 In the extra light luggage, do not forget some pocket games or the tablet. They will be helpful to calm anyone down during the train or flight changes. Technology helps a lot but we need to use it with moderation because children must learn how to manage their own feelings in full autonomy and a trip is a great experience to do so.
9 Give children the prestigious role of travel reporter can be a discovery just as magical and full of surprises. More than once, a kodak camera, the one you use and throw, was the best allie as my son was in charge of making the most beautiful pictures to bring back home. It proved to be a great trick to have great shots and unusual views.
10 Managing crying. Traveling is giving them at least twice the amount of attention we usually reserve them. Children are not in their environment, they lack reference points and may be more exposed to stress. A crying crisis can happen anywhere, but if it happens by train or plane, it seems to us a real tragedy also for the trouble that we give people around. Not everyone is willing to understand, but let me tell you, you have no idea how many persons came and offered to help me handle the situation.
Travelling with children is a great school of life, so do not be afraid, travel and continue to do so.