Pete and I are adventurous by nature. We love to venture forth and have new experiences. It gives us great joy to travel with our monkeys and see their horizons expanded. They are always game to meet new people, taste different foods, and enjoy taking in the sights and sounds of other cities and countries.
We have found that traveling with kids can be a bit tricky though. There is a delicate balance that has to be respected. Kids can go from "having fun" to "being done" in no time at all. Fickle little pickles that they are. It is hard to achieve homeostasis while away from home. So, what is a family to do?
Well, we are no experts on this, but we have found some tried and true ways to travel with kids and stay sane (sort of).
1. When packing, less is more. Pack the bare necessities. If you can, stay in a place that has laundry facilities. Our rule of thumb here is to divide the number of days you are traveling in half and then pack that many outfits. It seems to work for us as long as we can do laundry at least once per week.
2. Play it safe. With all the distractions we encounter while traveling, there is great potential for someone to get injured or lost. We have had a couple of heart stopping moments over the years. We have our kids "buddy up"on trips.
3. Feed their faces. While we are traveling, our monkeys like to graze along the way. Small, frequent meals seem to keep their spirits (and blood sugar) up. It adds another dimension to our travel too, because they get to taste the local flavors.
4. Keep 'em hydrated. This one is a biggie. We usually bring along refillable water bottles, but popsicles and chunks of fruit like watermelon count too.
5. Wheels are wonderful. For littles, a lightweight stroller and decent backpack for supplies make all the difference in the world.
6. Do not disturb. Our kids seem to be much happier humans when they get enough sleep. If we are going to be out late one evening, we make sure that they have time to sleep in the next day and vice versa.
7. Keep it simple. Sometimes, it's the simple things the monkeys love the most, like looking out the window as we travel along on a subway.
8. Run, jump, climb, frolic, etc.... Our kids are happier when they have had some fresh air and exercise built into their day.
9. Unplug each day. Like seriously. It is amazing what happens when electronic devices take a back seat for awhile. Our kids start drawing, and playing, and communicating. It's a beautiful thing.
10. Switch it up. Since we have a wide range of ages represented in our family unit, it is not always easy to choose activities that all parties involved will enjoy. For instance, our middle monkey boy, was not down with going to the children's museum. He was, however, down with going to visit some potential film schools and with rowing our boat to the beat of some funky fresh tunes in Central Park.
11. Expect the unexpected. We woke up one morning and it was actually chilly outside in New York City. Like goose bump chilly. Thankfully, we had packed a few versatile "just in case" items like scarves and jeans.
12. Random acts of kindness always win whether we are on vacation or not. Our monkeys enjoyed feeding the ducks and turtles in the park, giving a cab driver a cookie, holding doors for others, or packing up leftovers to give out to homeless people on our journeys.
13. Above all, enjoy the journey. They are only monkeys for a very short time.
How about you, friends? What traveling tips and tricks do you have to share? Do tell.
P.S. This little ride on suitcase thingy was a total hit with Little Monkey. It's called Trunki. And it rocks!