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Planning your trip

Taking the show on the road

For travellers without kids (and this includes parents who leave their kids at home), a vacation is a time to relax, to forget about timetables and schedules and to live each day as it comes. You can choose to stay up until 2am partying because you can sleep in the next morning - your only restriction is the time that they stop serving breakfast. But if you have your kids with you then it’s a totally different story - especially if you have a baby or toddler.

Before I had kids I had visions of travelling to Europe with my well dressed and well behaved baby. We would spend days visiting museums and other sites, stopping for lunch in cafes and dinner in restaurants. Nowhere in these daydreams do the logistics of such travel figure - I assumed that we could travel lightly, the baby being transported in a baby backpack carrier. In one of my wackier moments I even thought that we could use a suitcase to double as a travel cot/crib.

Then I had a baby and realised that my plans weren’t going to work and that it is a truth universally acknowledged that the smaller the person, the more “stuff” you need to pack. And I came to see that the days of throwing a pair of jeans in a rucksack were gone and packing took much longer.

Travelling with kids is different to travelling without them. Apart from the obvious difference of having an extra small person (or more) with you, having the kids along can change your holiday routine and structure.

Older children may realise the difference between regular routines and vacation time and sleep in, or entertain themselves while you do, but a baby or toddler rarely does. If they wake at 6am at home then chances are that they will on vacation too. What’s more, being in a different environment could cause them to wake during the night meaning that you all get less sleep than normal.

Holiday activities may have to be compromised to fit in with a baby’s schedule. Dinners in restaurants may be hurried and early and if you are all sleeping in one small hotel room with a baby who likes a darkened room then you may find your bedtime comes around a little early.

But the main difference between travelling with and without kids is the fact that you can just switch off if you have your kids with you. Things like bedtime and bathtimes need to be done regardless of whether you are at home or in the South of France - it’s just a different location. Going on vacation is just like “taking the show on the road”.


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