June 06, 2019

Planning an International Trip with Kids, Take the Leap

For those who have never traveled internationally with their children, the thought alone can be sweat-inducing. Some days, it seems like you can hardly manage a grocery store trip without losing every last shred of dignity and sanity, let alone dragging them across borders and into cultures, languages, and landscapes completely foreign to you.

But as the mama of three kids under the age of four, I'm here to tell you that it can be done. You can not only survive traveling internationally with your kids, but you can thrive! And they will, too.

What follows is part one of three steps on how I encourage others to travel internationally with their kids and walk through our methods for preparing mentally, deciding upon the destination, and packing light but smart.

Planning an International Trip with Kids, Three Part Series
Take the Leap!   |   How Do I Make This Happen?   |   Don't Pack the Kitchen Sink

World class cities like Paris offer a wide variety of activities not just for the solo or kid-free travelers, but for parents of children (even the young ones), too. Simply walking about the city can be fascinating for kids, and it's easy to find beautiful parks to explore.

Step 1 - Get Out of Your Head & Take the Leap
I mean this in the most loving way possible: stop daydreaming, stop worrying, and take the leap. Unless your child(ren) have chronic illnesses which really can't be managed well during travel or unless you legitimately can't afford it, stop borrowing trouble and start planning.*

Kids are so flexible, and parenting your kids in Spain or Thailand is not much different than parenting at home, just with a cooler backdrop. If anything, I've found some aspects of parenting to be easier on the road as they are distracted by the new surroundings.

Your mental perspective of traveling can positively or negatively impact the trip, long before you leave home or even start planning. Rather than focusing on reasons why traveling with kids is hard, concentrate on why traveling with kids is so beneficial. Here are a few of my motivating thoughts:
Trying apfelsaft in Pappenheim
  • Kids have "increased tolerance and respectfulness, willingness to learn and a willingness to try new things" according to 74% of 1,500 educators surveyed by the Student and Youth Travel Association (SYTA) and reported by Travel+Leisure magazine.
  • Exposure to other cultures, foods, and languages can help your kids learn to say "yes" to more things when they observe children in other cultures doing those things.
  • Even when they are "too young to remember," traveling develops their curiosity and can help them become adaptable and flexible (Huffpost).
  • Travel makes world maps and geography come to life; looking at a country on a globe carries deeper meaning when it's tied to memories of enjoying an activity in that location.
  • Travel helps our family work together as a team and gives us the opportunity to bond over new, shared experiences.
Yes, traveling with infants, toddlers, and even older children will never be as "care-free" as solo or couple travel. Once you become a mama or a papa, your entire life changed, including the definition of fun. It's a different kind of fun now. A more tired, sometimes cranky, but mostly exhilarating kind of fun where you get to rediscover the world through the eyes of your enraptured child. So, grab those little hands, go out, and explore!

See:  Hey Americans! Get Traveling!  |  Turning Pennies Into Memories  |  Saving Money (And Time) When Sightseeing  |  Europe 101: Tips, Tricks & Being Thrifty
*I will never endorse funding your travels with debt.

Stay tuned for the next step in our travel planning process: how to figure out the nuts and bolts of the trip, from budgeting to selecting accommodations to deciding what to do once you're there!

What mental blocks do you have about traveling with kids or what encouraging advice would you give to someone hesitant about doing so?

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1 comment:

  1. We did a family trip with pre teens and 10 people. It was a blast!


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