There is a past-due date for travel – especially when you’re under ten. Although frankly, my expiration date for being on the road came shortly after the kids, especially as the mommy in a completely different place. “Mommy, can you hold this?” (What!? There isn’t a garbage can in sight!) “Mommy, I have to pee. Now!” (Um, what about ten minutes ago when I told you this was the last potty stop for miles and you said, ‘I don’t have-ta go!’.) “Mommy, can we just go home now?” (No, we have six days left on this trip. But I will have this glass of wine and pretend we’re home.)
It’s exhausting travelling, and when you add little ones and their needs and wants for consistency and routine; it’s tricky. We did a few things to make our lives easier since we knew the kids might get homesick before our return trip tickets.
A little bit of home – we brought some macaroni that they love and I knew they wouldn’t be able to get anywhere on our travels. We also sacrificed travel weight and space for a couple of small toys from home, their blankies, and for my youngest – her little pillow. They were both grateful for their familiar pieces of home to reassure them.
Days off – make sure you know ahead of time: if you have kids with you, plan down days. By this I mean, two days of sight-seeing and travelling, then one day off. If you don’t take that one day off in between, to just let them play and relax, and do what they want? Oh, you’ll pay for it, my friend (at least we did!)
Kid fun – nearly every place we went to, including palaces and estate homes, had something fun for the kids. Chatsworth even had a huge play structure in the back of the gardens, with animals to see, and swings, and a creek to play and cool your feet in. Not to mention, their garden tours had a waterfall to play in, rocks to climb on, and ice cream booths for the “MomI’mhungreees”. Hallelujah!
If you make this room for the kids’ time, they’re much more inclined to wander aimlessly through the estate home portions, without trying to touch everything and run through million-dollar hallways. (Read: at this point, they’re too tired to fight you on the “boring stuff” and will walk aimlessly for at least an hour without complaining.)
The biggest challenge is the tireds and the hungrees, which we were constantly realizing how important it is to bring a few things in your huge, burgeoning mommy purse or daddy-backpack to make your trip more pleasant.
Hand wipes – good lord, between all the ice cream, chocolate, and playground dirt you’ll experience on the go – be sure to have these handy at all times.
Snacks – find out what is good in the country you’re in – and stuff extras in your purse. Nuts are the most transportable, but I often found that crisps (chips) were a safe bet for kids, too.
Water bottles – thankfully, my kids will drink water. And so will yours, if that’s all you have (trust me). But make sure to bring a water bottle (empty before plane security) with you on your trip, so that you’ll have something they recognize as theirs and don’t have to share. It’ll save you many dollars and multiple whines on the road!
All in all, the kids did a phenomenal job travelling. But home is home, and they were looking forward to getting back. Mommy and daddy were too … but at least we had some whine-fighting tools in our belt for the home stretch.