When I was young going on holiday was an annual event. Usually in the first two weeks of September, as this was a cheaper time to go for my parents. My first couple of holidays, which began when I was around four years old, were to Cornwall, which I have very fond memories of to this day.
I am now a parent to two beautiful munchkins, a very unreserved girl of three and a smiley baby boy of 8 months, and I am completely enamoured with the way they are so curious about everything. Whether it’s putting it in their mouths, regardless of whether it belongs in there or not or asking, “yeah, buuuuut, why does it do that?” I love to watch them discover and wonder at the world and all the amazing things it does and has to offer for them. I guess it’s the teacher in me, but I really enjoy watching them learn and problem solve about their environment on their own terms, which is a tricky thing to balance because sometimes life demands that you speed everything up.
If you have read my introduction you will know my husband and I love to travel and going on our holidays or travelling the world a little bit more when school is out is the one thing we will not compromise on. Instead of travelling or holidaying being an annual event, we are away up to five or six times a year and whilst we know we are incredibly lucky to be able to do this, we make sure its a part of who we are. We are happy to get a cheaper car, to have the occasional dinner in Ikea rather than Burger and Lobster, to shop supermarket own brands, and buy our clothes in Tesco, which is so convenient because I can literally do ALL my shopping in one place, if it means we can live the lifestyle we want. We can’t pack up our lives and become nomads, even though secretly we would, however, this is the next best thing for us.
So term times can be quite hectic and fast paced in our house: going to work and my mum coming to stay for childcare, the kids always on the go, and my husband working long hours in the week and spending weekends doing maintenance jobs around the house feeling that he is somehow making our lives a little bit better every time he gets another job completed. This is great; this is the hustle and bustle of life. However, it can really eat into our family time, which is something I am always engineering into our time off together.
Since having kids this is a new concept for me, the engineering of time. When it was the two of us, it seemed to happen naturally, organically. We seemed to fall into each others laps and we got the quality time we needed. Now, put two children into the mix and somehow time vanishes! I feel I am constantly pulling at it like I am single handedly trying to pull a cruise ship into port and its just not doing what I want it to! And this is the biggest change I have noticed in how we holiday. It’s now not just about ticking another place off of our bucket list so to speak. The places we visit aren’t always as far flung, we don’t always get on an aeroplane and the currency isn’t always one we have never seen before. It has now, more than anything else for me, become an occasion where time calms down and we get to spend uninterrupted quality time together as a family and that is so much more important.
The way we travel has changed because we have had kids, this is true, but not entirely in the ways I thought it would. Yes, we might think twice about going somewhere because there are four of us and it’s working out a little bit too expensive, and we might choose not to go somewhere as the kids wouldn’t enjoy it as their probably a bit too young for it.
However, overall, the way we travel has changed because other things have become more important. We want to see our kids thrive and continue to enjoy learning about the world we live in. We want everyone to enjoy the time we have away, which might mean spending more time in fewer places, a Disney trip (or two), a package holiday on the beach or getting in the car and hitting the road with a tent for five weeks, albeit pregnant or with a six month old weaning baby. Yes, we have done both.
I want this blog to be about how to travel or holiday with children, to make it fun and exciting, meaningful and special, relaxed and hassle free (for the most part – I mean they are kids after all) and even take out the perceived scariness of travelling with our little munchkins. Whether it be long haul flying, activities when in the car on a road trip, how to arrange a day for the whole family, how to make a trip as cheap as possible and must have items in your suitcase / back pack, i’m hoping this blog will give you ideas and get you thinking about your next trip with your little, medium sized or big munchkins!