This world is full of amazing, spectacular wonders to experience. As adults, we invest in the experience of seeing The Great Wall of China or Macchu Pichu. We work for months and years to plan the trip of a lifetime. You may have taken that sophomore summer and backpacked across Europe without a care in the world, have wonderful memories of your honeymoon in Hawaii, or that high school band trip to Hershey Park when you roomed with your BFF and laughed until it hurt. Wherever you went, the trip focused around your wants and your interests. Before traveling with kids.
Traveling kids are nothing like that. When you make the decision to travel with kids, you need to leave your inhibitions and your interests at the door. Suddenly, a lounge chair and a Mai Tai are taking a back seat to floaties and chocolate milk. Our family motto has always been ” just don’t cause an international incident”. In short, keep the expectations simple. No matter where you are in the world, kids are going to be kids. Especially in this society of “late starting” families, many first time parents are well seasoned, adult travelers. Taking kids along for the ride, however is a whole new world…pardon the pun.
Creating a kid with a gypsy heart….
So, let’s be realistic, unless your taking a nanny with you, travel is ALL work on the adult caretakers. It’s not fun. Nope, it’s not. It’s so much work in fact, that many loathe and dread the idea. But we parents suck it up so that the kids will “have fun”. This is the myth that lets everything spiral out of control. The simple truth is, if you want kids to have fun, then you need to have fun and you will have fun if your kids are happy. Can this circle be unbroken?
So, I’m a new parent, I’ve traveled a little, but I want to enjoy a vacation with my young, diaper clad kids. Any ideas how to make my little ones traveling kids?
Yes. Reputable, nationally known theme parks with lots of sit down shows and animals. Oh for heaven’s sake! Just go to Disney! Make your life easy. Every airline flies there, there are tons to do and once you unpack, you have a home base. Every travel expert has written a book on it and the kids will LOVE it. Period. So what makes Disney such a great choice? Here’s the deal: Disney offers you a controlled space to teach your children how to behave and react to strangers and crowds.
Even pointing out the unruly kid having a fit is a good lesson. Ride lines teach persistence and patience. It also gives kids a chance to learn how to entertain themselves during a long wait- something that is bound to happen when you visit the Vatican in years to come. By far, the most important thing to keep in mind is that these kiddos are NOT going to remember any of this. In fact, their only knowledge of it will come from you and the pictures you take. So take this time to figure out the logistics of your family. What to pack, what’s not needed, to laundry or not to laundry. Chalk up the weak points to life lessons and the highlights to happy mistakes!
My 5 Disney tips:
5. Don’t bring a stroller, rent, no one will steal theirs.
4. Go to Tom Sawyer Island to run off some steam.
3. Ride, show, ride, show, ride, show.
2. Stay on the property. Just do it.
1. Avoid EPCOT with the young ones, they won’t get it.
Everything else you need to know has been answered by multiple travel books found absolutely everywhere.
Here’s a sample day at Disney for the younger set:
8:00 swim in the pool
9:00 go to downtown Disney and get used to the crowds
11:00 extra long nap time
1:00 hit the park!
See the bear show
Ride the pirates or jungle cruise
Hit the princesses up for some girl time
Ride the tea cups
Eat late lunch (Eat during the parade)
Check out monsters inc
Have run at Tom Sawyer Island
Settle in with a turkey leg or corn dog for the night parade
Buy a souvenir on main street
Head on back as the fireworks bloom