Listen to me retell my previous blog Traveling With Kids.
So begins the strategic planning of how much stuff can I stuff into my kids travel bags ( hoping there is enough room to shove my overflow). The night before is always a little bit of ” oh yeah, I might need that” and then no matter how much you put together you always forget something. Well we are finally going on a family vacation. We took some time off but we are back to our lots of travel and crazy fun family time. I homeschool my kids so I get lets of time with them , but there is something to be said about maintaining the status quote and then quality time. Quality time of enjoying the small moments and actually being in the moment. So after two weeks of planning everything we will be taking. I am now sitting on my bedroom floor to take a mental moment and type this up ( oh I am also playing technical support to my son’s Kindle). Yes we allow screen time especially when travel days are long. This trip was planned exactly 11 months ago. It is a nail biting experience of waiting on an online queue for the dates you want to be released. So here I am packing all the things that had forgotten about the last two weeks.
The joys of traveling with kids. I love being able to allow time out of our schedule and to budget so that these moments can happen. It can be very stressful preparing for the big day but it is 100% worth it because I have so many great memories of traveling the world with my family as a child. I am happy that our kids can experience the same. My husband and I are a frugal budgeting family. We save every spare penny to go into our travel funds. Instead of getting big toys we spend them on experiences.
My tips for traveling with kids even though I am no expert is to be as calm as possible. Get that extra coffee and enjoy. I always try to make a list of things that must go with my kids. Enough outfits, toiletry items and those extra socks . Then I see the bag situation and revamp my plan. Ok what else can I fit in that 5X7 pocket. I am notorious for taking my kids luggage real estate. Each one of my kids will have a random mommy item in them (if there is extra space). Give yourself lots of patience you can plan all you want but the day is going to go how it is going to go. Make sure you have everything confirmed, reservations, plane tickets, car rentals etc. If something is going to be wrong I rather it be wrong from the comfort of my home before heading out. Always make sure you have that comfort item you toddler loves. His old teddy bear etc. kids need that when they are in an unfamiliar environment. Always pack a spare outfit in your carryon incase your luggage decides to take a different vacation. My last piece of advice is have fun. The best memories are the ones not planned, yeah the airport lost your luggage ( that is always why you pack a spare in your carry on), your child had a complete end of the world meltdown in the lobby or you loose your passport. Guess what, a year or so after you are going to look back and most likely laugh at that instead of having a mommy time out to cry.
When I was a child one of the many trips I took growing up was to the Caribbean. We used to stay at St Johns National Park. We would rent this little primal cottage that was maybe 20 feet from the beach. The cottage had 4 twin beds, a ice chest , no running water or a bathroom, a hot plate, and a broom. It had two cement walls and two screen walls to give you a cross breeze. There were an abundance of wild donkeys brought in for the sugar cane trade and endless lizards and mongoose. You would walk 1/2 mile down to a hand pump to get water and there was an outdoor restroom with showers and toilets. Every morning we would wake up gather water and then go snorkeling ( I swear I was a fish in my past life). We would snorkel for hours. The water there is this vibrant aqua. You can see for miles when snorkeling. I remember taking these disposable underwater cameras and taking hundreds of pictures of fish and coral reefs. My sister and I would swim all day until sundown. Anyhow we needed to head into main town to gather some more food items ( we had packed all our food in luggage bags this was back when they didn’t charge you per ounce for your luggage). We had this loaf of bread. Oh bread did I mention nothing beats an amazing bread. That perfect bread with an amazing hard crust and soft inside…. yum. Well to get to town you had to take a “safari truck” which was basically a truck that you would all pile in the back open cab ( thank god because it was so hot). Well my mother , sister and I we all set out to town to pick up grocery items and of course….. butter. Yummy amazing butter to go with our bread. We arrive at the grocery store in our safari truck. We asked the driver to wait for us that we would only be a few minutes. We got our small grocery list of fresh fruits and vegetables. When we get to the butter section, we had a choice of Danish or Irish butter. We chose the Irish ( so good) and head back to our truck. Almost instantly our perfect decadent butter starts to melt. The sure panic of knowing at this moment that this butter had become our only mission. That all we would dream of was having that bread with some butter on it. We quickly thought ok maybe get it out of the sun. Nope, doesn’t matter because it still feels like over 100 degrees. Maybe if we wrap our hat around it. Nope, now we just have a butter flavored hat. Our cab driver just couldn’t stop laughing at our problem solving skills getting us no where. Who can blame him, three people scrambling to figure out how we were going to get this butter back to our cottage. Finally we came up with the idea of holding it up and off the side of the truck with the wind blowing. In hindsight that isn’t how science works, but it made us think it was working. Our cab driver dropped us off at the park where we still had a three mile walk to our cottage. We gave him a good laugh for the day. On our way to our cottage, did I forget to mention wild donkeys, yeah they like butter too. Now we have dripping butter down our arms and a herd of wild donkeys hoping that we would drop it so they could have it. We get to our cottage put the butter in our small little ice chest. All that was left was just enough for a few slices of bread. Guess what though that story never gets old. I was just 9 years old when we took that trip. I remember that story though like it just happened. I always say its the little moments that make the best memories. Yes I know this was on a vacation trip, but it still makes a great family story.