Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Traveling with kiddos.

Out of country adventures with children.


Tips for flying is found HERE!

A little back story.

Three days before a weekend trip to Kyoto, Japan I decided to text the guy (airbnb) just to reassure the travel/direction plans. He tells me  he accidentally double booked our apartment with another family........ as my head about flew off I jumped right to what we know.

Booked a hotel room.

Looking back this was SUCH a blessing because the place ended up being NOT kid friendly. Bless our friends for trying to help us out. But, after Ian fell down these wicked steep (3 flights) of stairs we ended up moving to a hotel.

If there is one thing I think I am learning after taking more trips with kids is ideas/recommendations for others after we have major fails. 
My top 8 for traveling.

1. Itinerary

Do not set your standards too high for what you want to do/what you think you can do in one day. Then after you lowered them, be prepared for those to be even lower when it comes down to it. I put a tentative itinerary together highlighting the MUST SEE places, then we try our best to see the others but it doesn't always happen. I used to get really upset about it, but after Spain I realized I am just thankful to be there experiencing new things with my family in tow.

2. Kids and meals

Schedule your days around meals. Kids need 3 squares a day, and we all know when you miss one full meltdowns are on the horizon so, bring snacks. Trains/buses/subways get long, tiring and boring. Snacks help along the way. BUT, many times kids will not be held off just on snacks alone. Life was so much easier when we made sure we had lunch (although many times we didn't eat at the places I really wanted to go to because of the time crunch.) 

We have knocked full liters of sangria all over tables, had kids puke everywhere and much much more..... sometimes you just gotta roll with it. 

3. Take time to smell the flowers

Remember that the kids don't really care about the sights your looking at. I mean once you've seen one temple... you've seen them all. Let the kids run around in the grass and along the paths. Make games and play like,  I spy. This keeps them guessing and occupies their mind while hopefully giving you enough time to check out the sights you want. I did a lot of reading up prior to going, as well as listened to the information on my headphones during the trip. ALSO, make one day ALL about them... let them decide what to do, you'll be surprised how good they are when they're in control.

4. Pictures

I know we want pictures of them, I do, I beg and plead and argue and beg some more to get my family (husband included) to take the pictures that I want. Candid are always a good option. In Europe we really tried harder to just BE there, and not focus as much on the pictures.. this resulted in literally ONE selfie with all of us together, and many of different parts of the family. It's not going to go on your wall, but there were a lot less pouty faces and angry husbands. 

Also! Your kids watch you take pictures of everything... they want to do it too. Get them a little camera. Whether it be polaroid/digital/film/disposable, they want to take them with you and will enjoy walking around looking at boring old buildings if they are taking pictures along with you. ( If you get a polaroid it could be stressful because they'll take pictures of dumb stuff and run out of pictures real quick, so remember that ha).

5. Restaurants

Ask if they have a separate room, if they do it will lighten your stress level knowing your kids aren't driving everyone else crazy. Also, go during off times. In Europe many don't eat breakfast at all they just drink coffee and have a pastry, so hotels with breakfasts are smart as well as bringing oatmeal to the hotel to make in the room using the coffee makers hot water is always a good option, and budget friendly.

6. Hotels/ AirBnB

Read the reviews!!!! Many of the sites you can look for the family reviews settings. That will give you a better picture of the place you're going to instead of just someone doting because they want to be nice. Watch out for stairs, like our above disaster, and find a place your kids will be comfortable. If you're consistently forced to tell them no so they don't break something or hurt themselves they won't be able to relax and de-stress after a day full of sightseeing. It's always better when the kids are refreshed and happy.

7. Where to stay with kids what is a better option?

AirBnB can be great, when you're going with a ton of people and you know you'll cook a bunch of meals and need lots of space. With 3 kids we have realized that the prices are usually pretty similar staying AirBnB, to staying at a hotel (we are hiltonhonors members and love them). So, you need to weigh the options. In Europe like I said above about breakfast, it's worth it to get the free breakfasts that come along with a hotel stay. A family of 5 saves a lot on breakfast, and we all know kids NEED a good breakfast if we're going to have a good day.

8. Have fun!

Remember, it's called vacation for a reason. If you just want to spend a whole day lying around in the hotel eating room service and swimming at the pool it is okay. If you miss one castle the world will not end and I promise the kids/husbands and your feet will thank you for it.

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