Traveling is a truly incredible experience - you get to experience a new place, and all that goes with that! New smells, sights, sensations, interactions, getting uncomfortable and not minding. It is thrilling, life-affirming and inspiring. Traveling with your children is all of this but even better. Somehow, seeing a new part of the world with your child, exponentially increases your own travel joy. Bearing witness to your child’s horizons broadening is pretty much as cool as it gets.
BUT, all this family travel magic stuff requires the teeniest of travel trade offs: slowing down your travel pace.
Simply put, exploring the globe with your family, means you have to do it slower than you would without kids which means you just can’t see everything. You absolutely should still travel with your tribe but be sure to have realistic expectations about how much you can do.
LEARN FROM MY MISTAKE
My family visited Dublin in August of 2017 when our son Carmine was 11 months old. We had originally planned our trip for May of 2016 but cancelled it when I found out I was pregnant because there was no way I was going to go to Ireland and not drink whisky. By the time our trip came around I had nearly 2 years of excitement built up and I wanted to do as much and see as much as possible in our 5 days in the city. The result was disastrous.
First off, I had over-scheduled us. This was apparent within hours of stepping off our red eye flight that our ridiculous itinerary was totally shot. By day 2 I realized I had severely overbooked us and I felt awful. I cried. I felt terrible. I apologized to my amazing travel partners. I am still so thankful they didn't give a fig that we missed two scheduled items on day two.
EVERYTHING TAKES LONGER WITH A CHILD
What I learned, the very hard way, is that everything takes a lot longer with a child. Getting ready for the day, bathroom breaks, getting from point A to B because you have to stop for a feeding on the way, etc. It all takes time and staying on top of feedings and naps is exhausting for you as the parent.
Keep harmony in your group and prevent any mental breakdowns by adjusting your expectations for how much you are going to be able to do and see. You will miss some stuff, and it won't even matter. The important thing is you will get to experience the joys and thrills of seeing a new place with your family.