Well we did it, and I feel like we nailed it. As in, wow, we went we ventured, and thrived. I traveled solo with two kids to the other side of the world. We went from Kelowna, Canada to Bali, Indonesia. And we all came back with a new world perspective. I agree that statement is subjective for my 10 month old and a 3 and a half year old. How can I say my 10 month old thrived travelling? Well, he didn’t cry on the trip. He perfected the skill of getting attention with a sweet smile and by batting his eye lashes. His skill set was so good that he managed to quadruple his attention while we traveled. Plus he grew two teeth and put on a pound in two weeks. For my three year old it was less subjective. Before we left on our trip her self-talk was slightly negative. She had started a lot of no I can’t do it; it’s too hard. After the trip her vocabulary changed to: I am so strong, I am so happy, I am wonderful, and I am beautiful. I am now completely convinced kids need vacations too! Back in the real world we create a lot of play time for her, and time for creative and physical outlets. However, both kids also come with me when I need to do errands and need to wait while I cook and clean ect. The difference on vacation is I was all theirs! And every experience was new!
So should you travel with kids?
The bonding experience was incredible. My daughter listens way better. She eats better. She is more confident after rocking out an incredible journey. I can appreciate her strengths and feel compassion faster for her weaknesses. She is kinder and has learned to play with her little brother better. He continues to stares at her like she is the bestest thing in the world. Will she remember the trip after all she is 3 and he is 10 months? Probably not; however, those bonds will remain and the confidence will also continue as long as I continue to challenge them with new experiences while ensuring their safety. And who knows with the pictures I took and if I tell them the stories she might remember some of it.
Did I miss out on doing things because I went with the kids? Yes, of course I did. I didn’t get to go dancing late into the night or go to all the attractions I wanted to go see because little peoples legs can’t walk as far. I am sure I didn’t meet a lot of people that I would have met if I had traveled sans babies. However, what I lost out on I gained in other areas. The kids made friends and we ended up in the homes of Balinsian families while the kids played. I would probably not get to spend so much time out of the touristy areas with the families that live there without the connect of the kids. The doors to the houses opened because of the kids, literally.
Was I worried about the risk of traveling with kids? Of course; however, I believe that the country I picked, Bali, is kid friendly, and an easy place to travel. I feel that kids survive everywhere around the world and most of what I perceive as dangerous is just because it is a system, I don’t already understand. However, if we had needed the support of a doctor we would have been able to find one and receive at least decent care if not good care. With all the craziness in the world today I feel that there is danger everywhere and I chose to not bend in to fear. I am definitely cautious with them. For example, when the risk of a volcano arrived we chose to travel home early as a pre-caution to avoid exposing them to toxic ash.
My Top 5 Tips For Travelling With Kids
1) Book a home base to get grounded and recover from jet lag. Then book additional days if you feel good at that place and based on what activities you want to do. If you enjoy a place then stay more days. If you don’t love your home base then change either locations or resorts. Once you are “there” it’s easy to see where is going to be the best fit for you and your family. For me I booked a beautiful villa that was close to the beach as a homebase. It was nice with a great pool but walking to the beach and back and forth was too much work. So we moved to a place that wasn’t as nice but that was right on the beach and that had a nanny. This was a way better fit for us.
2) Plan to do less- a lot less. Little legs don’t like to walk too far. I say that a bit in jest because the kids never walked. I had the baby in the carrier and my 3 year old I either carried or had in the stroller. However, by keeping our radius small my 3 year old was able to have a lot of confidence in her surroundings and was never overwhelmed with too much during the day. We had lots of time to play and lots of time to rest. You will miss out on seeing attractions and on some activities, but you will enjoy deeply the things you do get to see.
3) Ideally go to places and countries you are familiar with. In our case we went to places that were recommended by friends and we used a travel agent to coordinate most of our travel plans. As a result we were totally happy with where we went and with our travel plans. However, we used Airbnb for our first home base and the actual place did not exist. It was fixable we found another villa but it would have been better to not have happened. Side note: Airbnb refused to fix this issue after we advised them of it so future travelers will face the same issue.
4) Know your kids and respect them for who they are. Some kids would not enjoy long journeys and feel uncomfortable staying a long time outside of their schedule and comfort zones. You can still travel but don’t go as far, or as long.
5) Travel to safe places. In this time that is almost impossible to know. However, some countries when I asked locals are just not safe to travel with kids. Good options might be our home base La Ventana, Mexico, Hawaii, Thailand, and Bali. That is my go to for now and it will grow as I also learn more about other places in the world that are kid friendly.