I have the hugest honour of having a guest post by the lovely Juanne who is a South African Expat currently living in Germany with her husband and kids. She is writing this post for the #RealMomsWhoTravel series. Here is her post about “Why We Travel With Kids”.
Why We Travel With Kids
Travelling with kids! For some people, these three words might send shivers down their spine.
Is it difficult travelling with kids? To a degree.
Is it expensive? It depends on what kind of vacation you are planning.
Is it stressful? Sometimes.
Our kids are currently 4 and 6-years-old. How we travelled before having our kids is definitely different to how we travel now. Before kids, I sat on a beach in Mauritius sipping a cocktail watching my husband windsurf. Now I sit on a beach and we build sandcastles together. Before kids, we went off-roading through Botswana and Namibia. Now we drive a station wagon! While we don’t necessarily return home relaxed and rejuvenated, travelling with kids in tow is rewarding for kids and parents alike. There are many reasons why people choose not to travel with their children. So why do we continue to travel with our young children?
Quality family time
We often get stuck in our daily routines and weekdays are a rush to get kids to school and a rush to get them to bed so we can have mommy and daddy time for about 45 minutes.
Travelling, whether near or far from home, enables you to leave that routine behind. You don’t have to fix that broken lamp, do that load of laundry, or pack those school lunches. It enables you to have quality family time. Often our children just want us to play with them. So, don’t forget to pack that board game on your next trip, unplug from social media, and live in the moment.
Experiencing something new and learning values
Recently on a campsite in France, I took note of all the different number plates around us. There were families from Spain, Belgium, Holland, Germany and France. Our children were at the campsite playground playing football or catch with children who didn’t speak the same language as them. But this didn’t matter. ‘Play’ is a universal language.
Now I know this particular situation is unique to the EU, but travel broadens their horizons. Being in a new and different environment gets your kids asking, ‘WHY?’ They learn so much about other people and their cultures, their food, their beliefs. We are able to show our children first hand that the world is big and filled with so many diverse people, but that in the end, we are all the same. No matter what we look like, what and how we eat, and what we believe in we are all striving for the same thing. Happiness! I believe this teaches children acceptance and tolerance.
Tips for your next vacation: be adventurous and curious, try new foods and activities, appreciate other cultures and beliefs, and make friends with strangers. You will all return home so much richer for the experience.
Learning to expect the unexpected
On a flight from Germany to South Africa with our then 15-month-old son, we had POOP-Gate! As in, there was poop everywhere! His diaper exploded during landing and I just started gagging. My husband was urgently asking me to get wet wipes but I knew if I moved I was going to add vomit to all the poop. The dad next to us stepped in and grabbed a packet of his own wet wipes from the overhead compartment and handed them to my husband. And you know what he said to us? He said the exact same thing happened to them not too long ago! In the moment I was so embarrassed. But almost five years after poop-gate I find this story hilarious. My husband still needs some time to recover.
It has taught us to expect the unexpected and that, well, shit happens! Travelling with kids will always bring something unexpected your way even if you plan everything to the last detail. You might plan to go to the most beautiful beach with your kids in Portugal only to find when you get there that it’s a nudist beach (true story!). Sometimes something beautifully unexpected happens. An airport security official in Cape Town might stop to tie your kid’s shoe laces or push them on a trolley through the airport because you have your hands full (also true stories!). Look to the kindness of strangers and don’t sweat the small stuff – or the giant pile of poop.
A lot of people may argue that travelling with young kids may be a waste of money because they won’t remember any of it. It is true that they won’t remember every moment but travelling with kids is so much more than just creating memories. You’re building family values, you’re teaching them qualities such as acceptance and curiosity, and so much more. You will have wonderful experiences together and beautiful pictures to look back on, and perhaps a funny or embarrassing story to tell for years to come. In the end, seeing them experience the world brings me joy.
Is travelling with kids worth all the money and hassle? Definitely!
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Thanks so much, Juanne. I really loved this post. These are all the exact same reasons why we travel with kids. It is definitely worth the money, stress and hassle.
If you want to keep up with all their lovely adventures, please go check out Juanne’s Instagram account – @4_Sticks_In_A_Bundle .