The mere thought of travelling with kids is enough to incite a torrent of anxiety in even the most easy-going people. There are holidays you take before kids. And there are holidays you take after kids and the two experiences are worlds apart.
People often say that travelling with young kids is not really a “holiday” – certainly not the relaxing kind. A good friend of mine returned from a holiday with two young kids only to say that the highlight was arriving home at Melbourne airport. In fact if I remember correctly she declared it the “shittest holiday ever!”
She’s not alone. Another mum I know described her recent holiday in a few simple but telling words: “Same shit, different place”. It may have been a change of scene, but it was not a change of pace. She said she came home for a break. This is not an uncommon experience.
I’ve heard of parents cutting trips short because the so-called holiday was simply too much work. Fed up they came home because the kids were bored and ungrateful and without access to their usual collection of toys it was all just too much “work.” Perhaps it can never be a true break unless you go to a place where kiddies clubs and cheap nannies are all part of the alluring package.
It makes you wonder, can it ever be a relaxing holiday with kids? I am about to put this theory to the test and I hope I don’t consider coming home as the highpoint of our trip. I’ve had a busy year and I am out of love with my 4 walls and daily routine.
We haven’t had a holiday since I was pregnant with Miss H, about two years ago. During that trip I learnt a few valuable lessons about travelling with a 2-year-old and a 10-month-old. Lesson number one: Don’t stay in a high rise apartment on the 22nd floor and have to cross a major highway with a stroller, 5 bags and two kids in order to get to the beach where your kids are terrified of sand. There were other lessons but there’s no benefit in reliving past traumas!
So, the NASD family is heading to Noosa. Now I know this hardly classifies as long-haul travel (the seasoned travellers amongst you will be shaking your head at the ease of a two-hour flight) but it’s still challenging.
Major challenges of air travel have been identified as follows:
Miss A: Biggest concern is motion sickness. She vomits even on a short car trips.
Miss J: Major pressure points include her extreme sensitivity to sound and crowds. She is also prone to earaches, and has confinement issues.
Miss H: Biggest issue is seatbelt distress. She will be on a lap, is restless and irritated by confinement, requires constant change and stimulation, and loathes being constrained by seatbelts.
Once we survive the flight, I am counting on this holiday being a true break. I’ve set the following family aspirations.
- Survive the plane trip (refer challenges above)
- Enjoy a morning coffee by the pool
- Swim every day
- Read (and actually finish an entire book)
- Cook infrequently
- Clean rarely
- Strictly no AFD’s (daily poolside G&T essential)
- Eat lots of ice cream
- Have fish n’ chips on the beach
- Swim every day
- Make sandcastles, collect shells and get sandy
- Sleep in past 5am (correction, that’s my goal for them)
- All of the above plus one more. I think he’s hoping if I reach my goals, he’ll have half a chance at reaching his…
Everything is in place. Final Checklist:
Kids excited – Check. Deliriously so.
Bags packed – Check. Suitcases contain half the house!
Plane bags ready – Check. Bribes, sweets, surprises included.
Happy parents – Check!
Warm weather – Check.
See you on the other side ….
Have you taken a trip with kids? Did you consider it a holiday? I want to write a bigger piece about this topic so I’d love your input. Advice and lessons learned please!