In honor of summer in the US of A, our blog network is doing a traveling with kids tip day. Appropriately enough – after a year of staying home, hardly putting on nice clothes, rarely doing my hair, laughing at the barely used makeup I wear only on Sundays for church, and wishing I could just get away and see the world again like in my previous life – we are in the tip-top of Australia boating, snorkeling, sandcastle building, and making family memories at the Great Barrier Reef.
I’ve written quite a few posts before on traveling and since I still stand by those tips I won’t reinvent the wheel. Instead I’m linking to my travel posts below along with new ideas I’ve discovered since. Traveling with children constantly morphs as their personalities change, they age, and you learn new tried and true methods.
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#1. Order groceries online to be delivered.
If you are going to stay at a self-catering accommodation when you don’t need to rent a car (ie, beachside resort or city center), get your groceries ordered. We called ahead and asked our resort for the nearest grocery store that delivered, and we got a name. She said it’s a common practice, and it is such a godsend. You can schedule a delivery in advance for a time when you will be sure to have arrived, and forget the hassle of carrying back 12 flimsy plastic bags full of your necessities.
#2. Don’t forget the sunscreen.
Clothes that don’t match? Whatever. Forget a pacifier? Ah well, buy another or wean them. Don’t forget the sunscreen. If you are going to be out and about any time during the summer – unless your kids are wearing full body rashers – you will feel stressed all day without this.
#3. Don’t look apologetic to nearby airplane passengers.
I recently read a post by Adriel on why you shouldn’t make goodie bags for nearby airline passengers and, I must admit, I had never heard of this phenomenon. No offense if your love language is a gift giver, but I think this goodie bag attitude starts the whole trip out on the wrong foot. I no longer apologize for having my children with me. I no longer give the “it’ll be over soon” or “they really are good, I promise” face. I just bring the kids on the plane and play it cool. I look confident, in charge, and prepared for all eventualities. This isn’t to say I always feel these things, but this is the goal.
Why? Your seat mates don’t envision hours of misery since you appear okay. Passengers feel less inclined to have an attitude with you since you have a brave face, and you feel ready to make the trip. I’ve taken too many flights to count with my little ones, and I’ve only had one bad flight. But, even then, it was soon over. Flight attendants will carry a crying baby, and most people tell you that you’re brave and admirable. Just soldier on and don’t feel bad that you have children you didn’t leave at home.
#4. Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure.
I know I’ve been blessed with an adventurer attitude. When I’m in storytelling mode, I can tell by others’ reactions that situations I’ve viewed with an adventuresome spirit, they would have felt stressed and angry. I can almost remember when it happened, as a teenager I think. I determined that how we viewed a particular situation made all the difference, and this is essential with travel. If you are traveling with kids you will inevitably come into some sticky situations. You can either think – as they are happening – “what a great story this will be someday” or you can get in a sour mood. Your choice.