Mistakes We Made When Traveling with Kids
I had been warned that traveling with kids would be difficult but that didn’t ring true until I lived it.
Shortly after my twins’ second birthday my husband and I packed up our car and drove seven hours to Northern Maine for a family reunion. Would a 7-hour drive with two crazy toddlers be difficult? Obviously!! But boy was I in for it! I look back on my naive former self, so consumed with the drive, and laugh. Little did I realize the drive would be the easiest part of our 5-day adventure! In hindsight, there are many things we should have done differently when approaching this trip.
What not to do when traveling with kids…let others plan your trip! Our summer had been jam packed. Between juggling multiple jobs, scheduling childcare, potty training, random illnesses, and house renovations our brains were scattered. I am a planner and in the past, had planned every minute of every trip. This time around the planning was in someone else’s hands. And being so busy all summer I had no time to do any research of my own.
The drive was LONG and upon arrival we quickly realized there was little to do there for toddlers. All four of us were squeezed into one small hotel room which meant no sleep for anyone. The hotel did supply cribs which were much smaller then the ones at home. The twins jumped out at every chance and naps were non existent. The icing on the cake was that our block of rooms was on a literal cliff! Yes, the view was amazing, but our kids are runners so my heart was constantly in my throat. (I now see the appeal of toddler leashes!). Our next vacation we’ll be renting a house, preferably one with a fenced in back yard.
Consider Bringing Help
I had never considered bringing a sitter on a trip until, well, we needed one! Of course, it is nice having family around but I think we can all agree that there are varying degrees of family “help.” Some relatives may take your children for an hour or two while others will simply look at you and say, “Man you look tired!” Not to mention that our relatives were trying to relax and enjoy themselves as well. An extra pair of hands solely devoted to the twins would have been invaluable.
Pack Food, Lots of Food!
I packed snacks for the drive but while in Maine we relied heavily on restaurant meals. Anyone who knows a two-year-old can probably guess how well that went! There is a reason we never eat out at home! It’s pure torture! My husband is against tablets (a topic for another post) so getting the twins to sit still for an extended period was impossible.
Learn to Say No
I am a people pleaser. I hate to say no and leave someone feeling disappointed. In hindsight, our vacation budget would have been better spent on a trip for just the four of us, somewhere toddler friendly. Don’t be afraid to say no to a trip if the location is not a great fit for your kids! Your relatives will understand or at the very least get over it!
The approach I take to planning our next family vacation will be much different! It is truly our twins’ world and we are simply living in it. Any trip we take needs to be tailored to their needs or else we are just setting ourselves up for failure!