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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.

Brazos Bend State Park, Texas

Taking a stroll amongst the wild alligators while 6 months pregnant

Happy and Free on the Pacific Coast

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 (http://www.cnngo.com/singapore/life/tell-me-about-it/elaine-ee-hard-truth-about-traveling-kids-its-hell-704511). 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!

Yes, we did Disney

Sleepy Kid

#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. 

Grab that Vitamin D and Iodine. Sun and Salt Surf

Sand+ Sun+ Surf = Happy Kids

#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 hot-dogs. 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.

When in Rome, Eat as a Roman

Curry in a Hurry

#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 favorite 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. 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.

Kids Play While Waiting for a Flight

Perfect Spot for a Baby

Flying Lessons

#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.                                                                             

That Trusty Double Stroller

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.

Always Be Flexible

For more great travel tips and a debunking on that CNN Go article, read on with these family travel writers! http://www.akingslife.com/2012/02/the-surprisingly-easy-truth-of-traveling-with-kids http://familytravelbucketlist.com/the-secret-to-traveling-with-children http://www.bohemiantravelers.com/2012/02/debunking-cnns-rules-for-traveling-with.html http://livingoutsideofthebox.com/2012/02/15/how-do-you-travel-with-children/ http://edventureproject.com/5-rules-of-traveling-with-kids-a-traveling-child-responds/ http://havebabywilltravel.com/2012/02/06/cnns-ridiculous-rules-about-travel-with-kids/ http://travelwritingpro.com/shocking-tips-traveling-kids-unnoticedit-time-demystify-rules-traveling-kids/ http://travelexperta.com/2012/02/5-reasons-family-travel-is-a-must.html http://familyonbikes.org/blog/2012/02/the-worlds-worst-family-travel-advice http://aroundtheworldineasyways.com/2012/02/more-than-french-fries/ http://www.suitcasesandsippycups.com/2012/02/rules http://familyrambling.com/family-travel-tips-5-rules/travel-resources/ http://www.newlifeontheroad.com/-five-rules-of-travelling-with-kids/ http://experientialfamily.com/myths-not-rules-of-traveling-with-kids/ http://walkingontravels.com/2012/02/15/my-reality-not-rules-when-traveling-with-kids/ http://albanykid.com/2012/02/15/yellowstone-national-park-backpacking-with-kids

http://www.thenomadicfamily.com/2012/02/worse-family-travel-advice-ive-ever.html#more

Yes, You Can! It is Possible to Travel With Kids of All Ages

23 responses »

  1. Seven is a GREAT number of kids!! Way to go! We’ve just got four but we travel tons too and you’re so right: Less is more and simple is better. I love your mantra: “Above all, be flexible and gracious in your travels.”

  2. I actually had issues with breastfeeding and we had to carry formula with us and bottles, but even with those we still just carried a tiny diaper bag. Babies are small. Their stuff is small. Heck my water bottle can take up more room than an infant can. You just make it work. If you don’t want to carry a 20lb bag, then just figure out what you don’t HAVE to have and keep on traveling!

    • I was lucky to be able to nurse ( even though I thought I would not have enough milk due to my not being very gifted in that part of the anatomy : ) well I had plenty to go around !
      We did bring a bottle for water ,too just in case. And yes, we all can figure out the best ways to make it all work. Some times it’s just a matter of having the experience first and knowing what to do the next time. When I was in my early twenties and traveled I would pack so many outfits, shoes and toiletries ! I don’t know what I was thinking. I barely touched anything but the basics on my trips. Live and learn !

    • We are in 7 th heaven with them all Corinne ! We love traveling so much that we make a way for it to happen. So far it’s just been in America with the kids..but our passports are ready and we are waiting for the opportunity and signal to GO !

  3. Ugh…you had to mention burritos in San Antonio while I was hungry! 😉 It truly would be a disservice to your children to not eat locally, especially when there are so many delicious foods to try. I think the author of the CNNGo article also forgot about those magazines and catalogs and even the flight safety cards in the seat back pockets. Those have provided lots of entertainment for our crew. The oldest children (and their mom!) love looking at the crazy gadgets in the SkyMall magazines and, on our last flight, our then 2 yr old had fun “reading” the safety brochure. It was quite comical to see how interested he was, but it was great for him. Basic colors and simple pictures…just like simple books for kids his age.

    Loved all the pics, Susan. I know your family will inspire others to travel with their children and enjoy it!

    • : ) It was really funny about that house/restaurant in San Antone. After we ate that delicious ( and really cheap meal ) we asked her to recommend a hotel . She said ” oh, you all can sleep here for free” !!!! This lady just met us ! It was a really encouraging that there are people out there like that ( plus, we had all the kids and grandma and grandpa with us..safe : )
      We like reading all the skymall mags too ! That is cute that your little one likes the airplane safety guide : )

  4. How simple life is! Travelling with seven children, and still enjoying it – I love reading about how you enjoy your family and travelling.
    Especially liked how you were able to see the pilot and thank them for landing safely.
    We have five boys, and are travelling with four of them. Its such fun – wished we had done it sooner 🙂
    The CNNGO article was so not good – she sure had a lot of crazy ideas!
    Its so true – that travelling with Children does not mean a lot of Bags/stuff. The basics is all they need!
    Cheers
    Lisa

    • As you know then, traveling with a large family can be a blessing and a challenge ! Some times in crowded places I get panicky and am on constant life guard duty ! My kids are good at staying close by though ( it’s my husband who keeps wandering off ! : )
      I have learned through out the years that less is best. And with the way things are at airports these days, you need to prepare well in advance on what you can’t bring on board or wear ! So even simple travel dress is easier.
      Happy Trails to you !

  5. 7 is amazing! 3 is fabulous but when it comes to kids the more the merrier. The only downside i would imagine would have to be cost?! Hmm, I am sniffing out a new group writing project I think:)

    • You know the saying ” where there’s the will there’s a way”..we really strive to make it happen. I need to be very resourceful to make it affordable. We use no credit cards and carefully live within our means ( and we are not millionaires)! Due to my husbands career, we get some great perks ( airline deals ! ) and we travel to places where we can stay with family or friends, or friends of friends…Yes, I think it could be a good group project. “How to Be in Brazil with a Big Brood on a Budget” : )

  6. Pingback: The Worse Family Travel Advice I’ve Ever Read | The Nomadic Family

  7. seven kids! wow, i’m bowing down to you. that is just wonderful. what a magical childhood. thanks for including us dear. (not sure why but the font for my link is like size 5, or maybe it’s just on my computer).. good for you. hope to hear more of your adventures. gabi (the nomadic family)

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