12 June 2017

Is it worth it to travel overseas with kids?

Playing at the beach, surrounded by French families on a Friday night

As we were flying out Saturday morning over the Côte d'Azur, I asked Dan, "Do you think it's worth it to fly all this way for a vacation?"

International terminal at SLC - Kiki and Nora ready to board their flight

Ten hours over the Atlantic gives you plenty of time to begin digesting your vacation. I always pour thru photos, take notes and try to think about how to continually learn from our travel. As any parent of a young child, you know that they change quickly and no season is the same...from one trip to the next, some things seem easier while other things get harder. So while I can never fully predict what vacation will look like, each time we go, I feel more confident in our ability to be adaptable. I learn something from each adventure and take it with me (or write about it). 

So nice that she can sit and eat her meal, while I sit and eat mine. Headphones and in-flight entertainment is a treat

I feel like we've reached a sweet spot with airplane travel. I think I'd fly almost anywhere with our seasoned little traveler. At 4 years old, she's made four overseas trips and knows how to navigate an airport, get stamps in her passport, run to gates and listen for directions. It's not without its challenges, but it is certainly simpler and easier in many ways each time we go. If you're committed to traveling with your children, no matter by plane, train or automobile, start early and do it often. It was a priority for our family and we did it, even when the challenge seemed too great. But it sure has paid off and given us all many rich experiences while paving the way for so many more. 

Sight-seeing and enjoying the little things

The experience is different when traveling with children which cannot be ignored. But different does not mean worse. I find that traveling with children forces us to slow down, pick activities thoughtfully and know when enough is enough. It also allows you to witness a culture in ways you never would have before - you're more apt to visit a park or play at the beach with other families. Your children will hear other children speaking different language or playing new games. You'll probably be visiting a grocery store, navigating unknown aisles and checkouts lines, because not every meal will be in a restaurant. I also find that we spend more time observing, not rushing from one place to the next. I do miss those days of late nights in street-side restaurants with carafes of wine, long strolls thru the labyrinth of tiny old town streets and hours of window shopping. But I know that we are instilling this love of travel into our daughter so she will someday sit in those cafes and wander streets and make friends from all across the world. 

The beach is always a good idea with kids

So, is it worth travel across the world for a week to play at the beach, eat gelato and walk through old villages? Yes, I (most definitely) think so. We grow as citizens and fuel our passion for travel. The small hiccups are easily forgotten while the bigger triumphs will stay with us forever.

Here is our group of travels - kids range in age from 11 months to 7 years! 

I can't wait to show you more from our travels! In the meantime, we will be recovering from the 3am jet lag wake-ups!