Tired, sleepy, frustrated, irritated, grumpy, angry, anxious – anyone who has ever taken a journey with kids will have experienced all of these emotions. But there’s another side to it as well.
As a mother myself, I’ve travelled quite a bit with my son, and each of those experiences was enriching, to say the least. Here’s why I think that travelling with young kids is unlike anything else:
1) It completely changes your outlook
You’ll find pleasure in the simplest things – collecting shells from the beach, making a bouquet with wild flowers, jumping into pools, and even finding worms and watching them wiggle on your palm, for instance. Through their eyes, you’ll see the world as a more exciting, fascinating place.
2) It teaches flexibility
Travel teaches both adults and children the art of flexibility, because while adults are attuned to having a structure for everything and the children following suit, trust me when I say events are definitely not going to go as planned. So, you learn to take things in your stride. For instance, on a recent trip, I was keen on visiting a famous cathedral that I’d always wanted to visit, and although I arrived with great anticipation, I spent most of my time playing a game of catch with my son rather than admiring the frescoes. So, what could I do but sport a smile and tell myself that I could always come back another time.
3) It makes you more open-minded
Children take to new cultures and situations quite easily, make friends effortlessly and are in general, quite a curious bunch. This means that you get caught up in their zeal, learning more and connecting with locals (everyone from cab drivers to street vendors love talking with children) and appreciating the essential similarities that everyone in the world shares.
4) It helps to cut down costs
It can be remarkably cheap to travel with the young brats. Kids can sleep in a crib or share the bed with you and entry to many attractions is free. Travel package costs usually include the price for the mom and the kid. Plus, airlines treat you like royalty. For instance, when I travelled to Belfast for the first time, my son was around 5 years old and quite energetic; consequently, he kept jumping on his seat and chattering away, causing some passengers to complain. I simply spoke to the air hostess about the situation, and she instantly upgraded me to business class.
5) It makes the bond with your child stronger
As a parent, you are always wondering when is the right age for your kids to travel. You’ll come across people who will tell you things like “Why bother travelling with young children? They won’t remember anything!” or “It’s too much hassle to travel with kids, and they won’t even appreciate it!” Don’t listen to them. There’s no better way to connect with them than sharing adventures and experiences together that they’ll remember for years to come.
Believe me, you don’t have to put your life on hold while you raise your kids – you can still travel the world like you want to, just with the children in tow. And you’ll discover that in the end, the best memories won’t be doing all the things marked down in your itinerary, it’ll be the smaller, unexpected moments – eating icecream, riding camels, racing each other down a waterslide, screaming and laughing loudly on a rollercoaster, that really make it worthwhile.
Lakshmi is a freelance travel writer who loves to explore new places and try out new things. Her dream is to travel around the world with just a backpack and an SLR. She is also passionate about dance, photography, and cooking. She is a proud mother of Dhruv, a 6-year-old karate champion, and dance enthusiast. Dhruv is very adventurous and loves to make new friends.