When providing tips and tricks for making the most of holiday travel with children, we have learned a thing or two in our last six years. We have experienced incredible highs and remarkable lows. We have embarked on trips we swore we would NEVER do again, and we have visited places we vowed to quickly return, but through it all one thing remains constant – traveling in nature trumps city travel any day…especially with children.
Our baby exploded blueberries and milk on pristine white linens leaving us in a wet, heaping, humbled mess. We hiked up mountains with two children strapped to our backs for hours only to fall apart and come completely undone when we returned to our hotel room. My amazing husband has fixed flat tires on desolate roads with no assistance and through it all, we are still in love with traveling. The saying is ever so true, adventure is what happens when all of your plans fall apart.
We have experienced our fair share of carsickness, sleepless nights, plane mishaps and humbling moments, but through it all, we continue to travel and we have now seemed to iron out some of the travel wrinkles that leave us grouchy and longing for an island alone (sans kids) to recover from the holiday that was just spent.
Here’s the low down on city travel from our perspective. We live in a city, not a particularly big city, but a city nonetheless, so when we think of travel, we don’t typically run into what we already know.
City trips are ideal for:
Short term stays
Enjoying culinary experiences in child-friendly establishments
Shopping (not our passion, but we know it might be for some)
City trips are stressful because:
Chaos of the city
Stroller troubles, emerging walkers to run after that seem to fumble and stumble over every cobblestone
Being on guard
Favorite city trips:
While city escapes can be stimulating and offer many cultural opportunities, for us, after days of city chaos, crowds and endless noise, we all feel stressed out. Having to keep a watchful eye on our children, personal belongings, all the while trying to study maps and navigate our way through avenues, boulevards and alleyways, we emerge a bundle of nerves. Nope, not relaxing for this family of four, and that is why nature trumps city escapes any day.
That is not to say that we hike from sun up until sun down only to then retreat to our tents for a night of fire making, food foraging and sleeping under the stars. We stay in modest mountain houses or hotels. We have found, that having access to running water, a shower or bath, and a meal goes a long way when traveling with little people.
We elect to stay in locations that are relatively child – friendly. When planning nature escapes we typically look for a playground near by, theme trails, water of some sort to splash in and hiking opportunities. With one or more of these elements in tact, we can all enjoy a nice time. We are also sure to mix down time and free play with hikes. When hiking, we typically walk in the morning and spend the tired afternoons lazing around by lakes, or at playgrounds. This seems to be a nice mix that keeps everyone happy.
Nature trips are ideal for:
Allowing children to be children
Favorite Nature Trips:
Most beaches are incredible for children
When we are in nature as a family something magical happens. The intensity of living in a city seems to dissipate, as we allow the rhythm of nature to take over. We move a bit slower, we are reminded – thanks to our children, to take the time to watch a butterfly in flight, spot a unique bug on a leaf, or smell a lone flower in a waist high meadow of grass. We all move at a quieter, simpler pace and we need that. We, as parents are happy to feel the wind in our hair, and the sun at our backs. We hike, watch storms blow in over snow covered mountain peaks, smile when our children witness tranquil lake water and feel right at home. Nature, we tell you…it is the way to go, but pack a couple extra outfits because if you do it right, you will get dirty!