Wise people often try to provide focus and context with the quote “it’s about the journey not the destination”. Nowhere is that quote more relevant than when travelling with kids.
Granted some of you may be looking forward to drinks at the destination but the most stressful part of holidays as a parent is inevitably the getting-there part of the equation. Like the fact you can fight all day to get a child to go the toilet at home but put them in a car or plane and they will need to go approximately 17 times. And that no matter how many games, movies and television shows they have access to, they will be bored around 15 minutes after takeoff/leaving the driveway.
Realistically it’s all about planning and preparation. Work out where you want to go and how best to achieve that. Then ask yourself why? If the latter answer doesn’t involve kids club and/or alcohol then repeat the question.
Now a lot of people recommend overseas travel to destinations such as Disneyland (Latin for “we have all your kids’ dreams here and we will charge you exorbitant prices to view them”) but I think too many people overlook what is available much closer to home. I say this partly because Australia and New Zealand are amazing and spectacular countries featuring exotic locales, animals and adventures. But mostly because closer is better when it comes to travelling with children and the thought of another international flight with the twins brings tears to my eyes. But if you do go to the major international theme parks, make sure you do your research beforehand. For example, I spent hours working out the optimal time for our Disney trip. I took into account local holidays, more popular months and seasons, commuter traffic, line sizes and available bathrooms – and I came to the conclusion that the best time to visit was 1986.
An often-overlooked bit of advice is parental expectations. I know we’re trying to broaden the horizons of our children but we need to remember that our kids see things differently. And that they’re not old enough for context sometimes. You may be incredibly excited to travel a thousand kilometres to show them an animal that is rarely seen in the wild but they will frequently reply with a cursory nod before going back to their iPad to catch Snorlax on Pokemon Go.
You know what? I think Sandra actually enjoys holidays with the kids just so working full-time doesn’t look so bad.