After being bit by the travel bug a few years ago, we decided to embark on at least one family vacation each year while our kids were young. Travel can be so good for the soul, but it can also bring a wealth of experience about the world around us. Real life experience at its very best.
We have opted to make travel a priority in our family – aiming to get away when we can to enjoy the world around us. This year – we were so abundantly blessed to head to Disney World in April (LOVE visiting the Mouse), traveling cross country in June and early July, and after recent super low Southwest air fares, opting to jump on a deal to visit South Carolina.
Having never really gone through Charleston, we figured now was as good a time as any. And we hardly had reservations about taking the boys out of school. To us, life experience is just as valuable and sometimes, when the opportunity presents itself, it is the best way to head somewhere new.
We opted long ago to not limit ourselves to the summer and winter breaks knowing that it is a short-term sacrifice for a long-term gain. The boys have learned to go with the flow and while sometimes our trips are planned to the minute, others are much more fly by the seat of our pants. They are learning at a young age to be flexible and embrace the world around them to the fullest.
Here are a few of the things we’ve learned over the years that help to make traveling a bit more simplified with kids in tow:
- BE FLEXIBLE. They will follow your lead. Even the best laid plans are just that and better left to trying something else on a different day. Try your hardest not to show your stress (it’s TOUGH! Believe you me) and they will be just as easy breezy as you make it.
- Don’t be afraid to try somewhere new! For our trip this fall, we literally picked three places and left it to a Facebook vote and our budget. Charleston fit both the bills and alas, we are on our way! I’m excited to experience all the history it has to offer and share that with my kiddos too.
- Consider renting! One of the ways that we save on costs is to use a service like HomeAway or VRBO and rent a home along the way. This enables us to feel more like “home,” make ourselves comfortable and live out of more than suitcases and one room. We can also save money by cooking meals ourselves rather than eating out for every one.
- Don’t major in the minors. You WILL forget something. You will inevitably need something while you are away – that’s what they made stores for! Don’t worry about packing your entire medicine cabinet – bring the essentials and buy the rest! We have bought our fair share of children’s tylenol while on the go over the years
- Shop around! The best vacations don’t always mean first class to another country, but instead can be found in even the smallest of jaunts. One of our most memorable vacations was heading up to Mackinac Island and riding bicycles around the island. To this day – one of our absolute favorites – and one that I look forward to recreating again soon.
Overall, the decision to travel with young kids isn’t always the most stress-free, but it is a gift we can give to our children that will give them memories to last a lifetime. We have a small window of time in their lives where they will find even the most mundane of task to be the most special and it’s the perfect time to capitalize on it when you get to see the world through their lens.
What are your thoughts on traveling with kids – big priority or secondary to your family?
O the Places We Went
Knick knacks, treasures, and ALL the souvenirs
Handmade, homemade, delicious fluffiness
Historical tour and city history
Gorgeous views and stunning walkways
Chicago-themed sips and eats
Handcrafted market trinkets and more
Traditional candies and treats with an old-fashioned soda fountain style
Cool vibes, hot drinks, and sleek atmosphere