What It's Really Like to Travel With Children
Chal Lontoc del Rosario has always had a taste for adventure. While she was still single, she'll go on these backpacking adventures, hopping from one province to the next, one country after another. It didn't matter whether she'd find herself in Vigan or Venice as it was the idea of exploring a new place excited her. It wasn't at all surprising then that the adventurous lady would become a traveling momma. The fact that her family runs a travel agency only made her passion for travel all the more alluring. With her husband and two children in tow, Chal has gone to different points of the world, both near and far. Most recently, she and her family took a trip to South Africa, giving them a taste of the “wild” life.
Needless to say that Chal has a couple of useful insights when it comes to traveling with children. Here are but some of them:
#1 Prepare for anything and everything. If you're going to be traveling with small children, for example, Chal says that you better be ready to deal with a lot of “potty stuff.” You'll never know when the little ones would have to go. You have to get used to the noise as well. Children would chitchat and ask questions. Because you'll be with them 24/7, be prepared. This is a good way of practicing your patience.
#2 Food will be an issue, says Chal. Tasting the cuisine of the locale you're visiting might prove to be challenging with little tots in tow. They might not necessarily want to try something that looks icky or smells weird. Of course, go ahead and order what you like. But for the kids, get something familiar to their palate.
#3 Bring sanity-saving products. There have been countless times, Chal says, that something as simple and basic as an insect repellent can save traveling families from bad memories. After all, where's the fun in an outdoor trip when you've all been bitten by pesky insects? Of course, do not ever forget to bring along plenty of wipes. These are truly lifesavers specially when you have young children.
#4 Prep the kids. Chal says, “Explain the itinerary to your kids. Let them know exactly what's going to happen.” This way, they are mentally prepared to say, for example, walk all afternoon or taste something new.
#5 Keep to a schedule. At home, you work hard to get your children into a routine. When you travel, Chal suggests that you try to stick to familiar routines as well. Children's sleeping time, for example, should not be compromised.
#6 The children call the shots. At the end of the day, Chal says that it is the children who'll call the shots as to where you'll go, what you can do, or where you'll eat during trips. If you and your hubby want to visit a destination where you can do all the sightseeing or eating you want, then it's best to take another trip.
Bringing children along on trips, specially long haul ones, definitely take a lot of time, patience, and effort. It's very likely that you'll want to take a staycation after your family vacation just so you can catch up on your sleep. So why take them in the first place?
Chal contends that letting children experience life through travel is the one of the best kinds of education that they could ever get. They learn about history in a way that may even be better than reading a book, she says, as they get to be up close and personal with historical sites and artifacts. They learn about a particular language and its many nuances. They get to appreciate the art and architecture of different cultures. They also develop a love of nature, she adds, as they see for themselves the beauty inherent in each destination's natural resource.
Travelling, Chal observes, also helps develop a child's social intelligence. She says, “They learn to successfully build relationships and navigate social environments. They know how to connect and be with other people.”
They also learn to adapt to different situations and be patient when faced with circumstances beyond their control, she adds.
But more than all these, traveling with children is awesome as families get to build wonderful memories together. It is quality time at its best, and Chal would not exchange her travel experience with her family for anything else in the world.