This is EXCLUSIVE content from our book, How To Travel With Kids (Without Losing Your Mind)
It took us a few months during our 9-month trip around the world with our 2-year-old son to brave a walking tour with him. We had been too nervous to try a walking tour, but after taking our first tour – and surviving – we discovered we had been missing out. From that moment on, at practically every new city we visited, from Buenos Aires to Rome to Lima to Barcelona, we signed up for walking tours with our son.
People often ask us to tell them about the vacation we took in 2017—and we often offer a gentle correction: When you’re traveling for eight and a half months, that’s not a vacation. It’s a sabbatical. And the difference is more than just semantic. It represents a totally different state of mind.
While the greatest gift you can give your child is the gift of travel together, we also know there are some gifts that can make traveling with kids easier. As the holiday season is upon us, we take a look at some unique gift ideas for your children before you take your next vacation. Plus, 9 of the 10 gift ideas are $60 or less!
Hello, everyone. It’s Natasha, flying solo for today’s post. I want to share with you some thoughts on a subject that’s near and dear to me—finding structure while you travel.
I’m an organized person, and I always have been. As a girl I polished my shoes and straightened my Catholic school uniform every night, packing my bag to make sure I was well-organized for the next day. And if my room was disheveled, I couldn’t study or do any of my homework until I got it cleaned up. Something about clutter and entropy just makes me anxious.
You can’t help but admire the parents who traveled long distances with their children back in the olden days—and by the olden days, we mean the era before smart phones, tablets, and other modern luxuries. How did they do it? How did they maintain their sanity? How did they cope?
Imagine this scenario: You have two weeks of vacation. It’s the only vacation time you have all year, and you want to make it count. You know you want to go to Europe, and you’re presented with the option to take a cruise—11-12 nights, departing from Barcelona and hitting ports all over the Mediterranean. You get to see some sites in France, Italy, Greece, and beyond. Your other option is to fly directly into a city—let’s say Athens—and see Santorini and Mykonos, spending a few nights in each place.
When people have kids, their life takes a major turn. Whereas they used to go out or travel, now they stay home. They tell themselves that they’ll start doing these things again when their kids are older or when this happens or that happens.
After our son was born, we didn’t want to get stuck in that vicious cycle of always having excuses for putting things off. We weren’t going to put our lives on hold; instead, we would bring our son with us and make him a part of the journey.
We love traveling by train, especially long distance. If we had to pick our favorite mode of getting around, we’d pick train travel in a heartbeat. We find it to be far more comfortable than plane, bus, or even car rides; there’s more space to get up and walk around, and no turbulence you have to deal with! Most trains get you where you need to go pretty fast, yet there’s also ample opportunity to look out your window and take in the scenery.
Do you remember what it was like in the olden (i.e. pre-iPad) days, when you would go to a nice restaurant with your family? You would spend about 60 percent of your time entertaining your child, 20 percent making apologetic looks to other diners, 15 percent wondering why you ever thought this was a good idea, and maybe 5 percent enjoying your time there. Well, multiply that by a 100 and that is what it can be like to travel with a child. But there is a cure: Technology. And we think it’s a pretty good cure!