Some people think that the adventure and fun of travel is over once you have a family. Well we want to let you know that the fun has just begun !
Don’t think that as a family your adventure days are over. To us, it’s much more wonderful to share your travels with your children. And in our case, that means 7 kids along for the ride !
A recent article written by a CNN reporter called ” 5 Rules of Traveling with Kids” made a few claims that we feel are not the truth. This is the article in question (
She listed her rules as:
#1 The Younger the Child, the Bigger the Suitcase…
Our experience proves the opposite ! We all pack the minimum amount possible. A few outfits per family member that are comfortable and worry free ( no dry cleaning or ironing needs) will suffice. Pack 5 changes of clothes if you must and clean them at the end of the wearing time. Some times, because there are nine of us traveling together, we end up shipping our clothes via Fedex. That way we can each just bring a carry on and not worry about luggage claim. Kids really don’t require that much stuff. Keep it simple and enjoy your travels with out so much baggage !
#2 The Younger the Child, the Harder it is to Get Over Jet Lag
How to cope with that one? We try and listen to our bodies. The crazy time change could really mess up a vacation from the beginning. Once arriving, we get settled into our hotel / cabin /friends or relatives home /tent, and regroup. Get the kids some basic needs ( healthy foods, water, family time to talk and explain your next activity, etc. ) Then we usually try and get some fresh air after all the time cramped on the airplane or in the vehicle. Run, stretch, play, take a walk, swim ! That is a big help when it comes to trying to adjust to a time change. If applicable, we head to the nearest beach for some sun, surf and sand to restore our spirits !
#3 Travel to a Destination that Serves French Fries
No Way ! When you are in a new local, you should eat indigenously ! And that includes your kids. Besides the fact that all that junk food ( especially if those French Fries are from a fast food joint ) is so bad for them , they won’t learn how to eat like a local. We really believe in feeding our kids authentic and real food. You know, when in Rome.. On a trip to Cajun Country, Louisiana we ate fresh crawfish out of the bayou , frogs legs, gumbo, cafe au lait and beniets. At a TexMex restaurant in San Antonio, we all had fresh made burritos, yellow rice, beans and salsas in some ladies dining room. In San Fran, we ate Italian , Chinese, sour dough bread and Ghirardelli chocolate . No chicken tenders, french fries, fake grilled cheese or hotdogs ! And we never make up a cutesy sounding name for foods they don’t recognize or have never tried. Call it what it is and they will learn. If I serve them kombucha, braised Brussel sprouts, lamb kabobs and Kimchi, I tell them exactly what they are eating. Why sugar coat a food ( figuratively or literally) ? Let them know what wonderful arrays of foods this world has to offer. We love to eat all the specialties of a region, listen mostly to their music and get the full experience through all the senses. It will be beneficial to them in the future for their health and for their broader understanding.
#4 You Can’t Have too Much in Flight Entertainment for Young Children.
Actually, you really don’t need to bring much ! Our kids will take one backpack each and fill it with the bare necessities. Depending on the age ; a Bible and a favorite book , a sketch pad, drawing pens and pencils, a camera, ipod and earphones, a stuffed animal or little character toy and some snacks. Just what fits in their own sack. Plus they should save room for any items they may like to pick up on your travels to bring back. Mom and Dad can carry the diaper bag and please..breast milk is free ! Natures perfect food for babies ! I nursed all our seven kids..so easy and wonderful for all of us!
Other forms of inflight entertainment? Look out the window, go and talk to the pilot before and after the flight ( we used to be able to watch them fly the plane while up at 20,000 feet, but no more these days), read the ubiquitous maps inside the airlines magazine that show all the flight routes ( where I dream about our next destination ), see a film, take a nap or talk to the person next to you ( if they don’t mind )! Before you know it, your plane has landed. Please always thank the pilot and crew. We teach our kids to be thankful for them getting us safely to and from our vacations.
#5 Strollers, bane or boon ?
It’s really no big deal. Get a good one that is easy to open and close at a moments notice. The airlines are pretty good about having it ready for you when you need it. If not, carry the kids for a while
We have been flying and traveling with the kids since our oldest ( now 21 ! ) was a newborn. We had 7 kids in 11 years and have always managed to travel with them. If we can do it, so can you. Yes, it is possible ! It takes some planning ahead of course, but serendipity is always welcome. Some times when our kids ask where we are going , I say “where ever the road or sky take us ” And above all, be flexible and gracious in your travels!
For more great travel tips and a debunking on that CNN Go article, read on with these family travel writers!