How to travel internationally with kids - Part 1 Mindset

Monday, September 12

Since getting back from a 17 day trip in Europe with 3 kids five years old and younger, the main question I've been getting is HOW DO YOU TRAVEL SO FAR WITH SUCH SMALL KIDS? 

I've been thinking about this question a lot, and thought I'd do a little series on how to travel with kids. As I was reflecting on our trip, I realized that a huge part of traveling with kids is mindset, and specifically our expectations. 

A lot of people will tell you to have LOW expectations when you travel with kids. I honestly don't like this mindset, because it almost stipulates that you will have a "bad" trip...there's a negative connotation with it. The other reason I don't like this advice is because when you are sitting with a screaming child on an airplane the broad swatch of "low expectations" doesn't help you  have a new perspective. 

Instead, I like to say that it's very important to have different expectations. 

And to actually think through some of those expectations before you go. 

Here are some expectations I like to keep...

1) This trip WILL BE DIFFERENT than when I used to travel with just my spouse or a girlfriend. The reality is, traveling with just adults allows you to do a million more things in your day. Adults are self sufficient, can get themselves up and dressed, can navigate a map, can read a guidebook, can use patience to stand in a line, etc etc etc. So when I travel with kids, I usually remind myself that we will get to experience about 1-2 things that day, and if we happen to do more, it's a win! 

2) My baby will cry, and will probably want to be nursed any time and any where! And guess what? My baby did cry on the airplane over to Europe, a lot. And instead of wanting to pull my hair out, I just accepted that he is a baby and babies need their mamas. So I gave him lots of cuddles and love, and told myself that it was my choice to take this trip and I could deal with the frustration of the situation because in the long run it would be so worth it. And it was. 

3) My toddlers will need to take a snack break every 30 minutes to an hour. My kids are constantly hungry, so we absolutely pack tons of snacks when we travel. Normally when I travel with just Kevin, we power through from one amazing site to the next, but with my kiddos, I had to remember that just because we aren't home anymore, doesn't mean they still won't want to have "snack time". In remembering this, it helped me be ok taking a break. And because we were always in such beautiful places, it was fun to sit and watch my kids soak in the sites and savor the local food. 

4) My kids will fight with each other, whine, and complain. They are kids. It happens. Crossing a time zone does not take that away, haha! In understanding my kids propensity towards these things, I was better able to just deal with it as it came up, and then move on. If I didn't go in with this expectation, I could easily get SO thrown off and want to blow up in frustration and think "you are ruining the trip!!!!". But the reality is, it's going to happen, so we just distract, redirect, deal with it, and move on! 

5) "It is what it is"....this phrase helped me temper my expectations from the idealized version of my trip, to the reality of it. The first 5 days of our trip in England, Ollie threw up. The first 3 days, he threw up and then was totally fine and happy and kept he rest of his food down so I just assumed it would pass shortly. By day 4 and 5 he was not as happy, so I ended up in the Emergency Room in Manchester England with him. I spent almost an entire night there, and it would have been so easy to say "IT SHOULDN'T BE LIKE THIS!!! WHAT A WASTE OF A DAY IN ENGLAND!" But the reality is, sickness happens, and it just is what it is. There's nothing you can do about it! Turns out he had a virus and of course the day after I spent the night in the ER he was TOTALLY fine and back to normal! But sometimes we just have to use a bit of mindfulness and accept that things are the way they are. 

If you are able to write down some expectations for your kids and your family before you leave, it can really be a game changer mentally. Often we don't even know we have expectations until a situation doesn't meet them and then we are sorely disappointed. 

So...before you go on your next trip, write down what you might expect from your kids, and then when it happens it won't be any big surprise to you, and you can just accept it! 

No comments :

Post a Comment

I LOVE hearing from you friend:) Your comment will make my day!