I wanted to write this post for about a month now. But were too busy with the holidays. Or recovering from it. That pretty much sums up what holidays with small children are like… Yes, it is hard and stressful work that requires holidays afterwards. I know many that argue otherwise. I think they misunderstand me. Holidays with children are definitely possible. You CAN do any type of travelling (beach/hiking/city/across the world/you name it…). You will have many precious moments. It just won’t be the same resting, egoistic, savouring experience it used to be…
- Transit. This is one of the worst. If before you enjoyed long car rides, eclectic mood in the airports or dreamy cloud views through the airplane windows, then that is gone. Children hate being stuck in a confined space, determined by thousands of rules for safety and that is what any type of travelling (except walking, but that will not get you far) offers. You can make it easier, you can make it safe and bearable, but it will not be pleasure. Period.
- Accommodation. Before: whatever is cosy, central, cheap or whatever YOUR preference is. Now: children friendly, which probably means NOT cosy, NOT very well placed and most likely, NOT cheap. Also, moving from one place to another is not so easy anymore, thus visiting 10 cities in 10 days is probably not likely.
- Eating out. Before: tasting local cuisine. Trying new things. Long, relaxed, late dining as a reward of travelling far and spending the whole day running around and seeing new things. Now: children friendly, which means eating early, being messy, ordering predictably and eating as fast as you can, which is always slower than your children getting bored and tired with the experience. Sometime they will surprise you and eat everything that is served with pleasure and smiles, but you can NEVER count on it.
- Experiences. No matter what fun for all activities you have planned (e.g. art museum, full of beautiful paintings or amazing aquarium, full of colourful fish), it is very high chance you will end up in a super boring playground for hours. Or listen for hours of whining. Whatever your preference. The thing is, children like stuff that is simple and as close to their home as possible. Which is usually exactly what you are trying to escape from during your holidays as an adult. Good luck with that.
- Relaxation. Usually, holiday means resting from work. No deadlines, customers, getting up early to make the first meeting of the day, bosses, caring about anybody else… That is not the case when you have small children. There is never time to really relax (unless you have trusted babysitters, of course). You are always watching, making sure these little beings are not getting their fingers stuck in some crazy non/baby proof furniture in the hotel, falling into a fountain or getting food poisoning from some strange street food. If they are not danger to themselves, then they are most likely bored and whiny. Or just caught a nasty virus and are about getting sick.
Or maybe… maybe you are just experience that rare happy moment that makes it all worth it.