Family Travel frustrations.
Family travel, I love traveling with my kids, I love what it brings to them in life experience, knowledge and acceptance of other cultures. Memories of strolling La Rambla with Willow early in the morning, as we headed to Starbucks chatting over a hot chocolate and a muffin. Marley and I riding Rollercoasters at Europa Park, seeing the excitement and joy on her face. Marley feeling so proud because her older sister was too scared to go the ride. The two of them listening intently to the tour guide as we walked the Colosseum. For my wife it is special occasions like Willow’s birthday (Willow is 10), we celebrated it at Oktoberfest and Marley’s (Marley is 8) where we spent the day exploring Porto. Willow proudly tells everyone she spent her birthday at Oktoberfest, she wears it like a badge. Family travel… it is not all smiles and happiness every day.
I read plenty of these articles talking up how great it is to travel with your kids and as I have stated it’s an amazing experience for both parents and children. What I don’t see expressed very often is the downside to traveling with your kids. It’s no easy feet spending 6-10 weeks with your children 24/7 without a break. There are no Aunties, Grandparents, play dates, school or sports to give you a break. It’s day in day ou,t in your face. Some days are very hard, hard to the point where you may find yourself on the streets of Porto yelling at your children in a very loud voice and noticing everyone looking at you! The hassle and the frustrations of traveling with kids needs balancing out with positive aspects of it. We are all looking for a happy medium, we all want the graph to be on the positive side when it comes to kids and frustration. What frustrates me is:
Family travel: Aeroplanes
I am talking 8+ hour flights here. You can nearly bet that as soon as you fall asleep one of your children will need to go to the toilet. You could have just asked them 10 minutes ago with the response of “no dad I don’t need to go”. I then think its safe to even consider sleep time and the dreaded question comes, it kills me. Then there is Aeroplane food. Well there is just no real point is there? Why on earth would you eat the stuff they are giving you while stuck on an airplane? Isn’t there something else, like just down the road?
Family travel: Food
Our kids are fussy eaters. The amount of times we have ordered them a meal ( with their consultation) where they take one bite and say I don’t like that dad, mum can we have something else. I may as well just throw the money down the drain. It is, even more, heartbreaking when they suddenly decide that whatever you are enjoying looks fab too…and proceed to demolish it right in front of you while you think of the ‘could have been’s’.
Family travel: Suitcases and luggage
It seems like we can be somewhere for as little as 5 minutes and they have their cases open and clothes, books, and toys spread across the room. The Wyld children can create their own little hurricane’s of messiness. You can also bet that you will end up pulling and pushing their suitcases through the airports or streets.
Family travel: The epic meltdown moments.
We have had only a handful of incidents where it has been classed an Epic Episode but the girls have really made sure they did a good job. Crying, screaming and yelling are sometimes featured, with sometimes a side of ‘attitude’ thrown in for good measure. Willow is very placid and not prone to many meltdowns at all. The other one, yes the youngest one, can be a right royal pain when it becomes indignant. Marley gets on her high horse and just plain whines and complains. Even my wife is prone to these moments. The kids and I scatter like birds in the wind when this happens, ducking the incoming mortar fire. *In wife’s defence, family can sometimes push ALL the right buttons all at once!
We all do it, it can be hard to do staying in budget accommodation. The rooms can be small and the walls are thin. It’s a job that can need to be done in a hurry. It can take some imagination. We would love to go out at night by ourselves to have a nice kid-free dinner but alas not so. Why ruin a good night out with just the two of us when we can enjoy listening to our kids fight and complain that they don’t have chicken nuggets or Hawaiian pizza on the menu!
Family travel: Stairs, hills and walking
Dad can we catch a taxi, Dad do we have to walk, Dad are we there yet, Dad how far away are we, the list goes on and on when it comes to this. I am sorry kids that every attraction we want to see is not right outside our front door. How truly silly of this great city not to build this attraction within a minutes walk for you! I will make sure I take it up with the town hall so next time they can anticipate where you want it located.
Family travel: Electronic devices
Ipad’s, galaxy tablets, phone’s and the camera’s. Dad can’t we just stay at the apartment so I can play Minecraft and watch Youtube we went out yesterday. Why sure kids our apartment is, after all, the main attraction in this beautiful city is it not? Dad can we use your phone while we are waiting for lunch. No worries I don’t need any battery left to take photo’s, I can just enjoy your screenshots of your latest Minecraft city instead! Is it really that hard to smile Marley when we are taking a picture. I love getting home going through my pictures and everyone is smiling except you.
All in all, traveling as a family is still an amazing experience and something I would happily do anytime I can. It’s rewarding to spend that much family time together. In today’s day and age juggling life, work and family are really hard. Traveling with my wife and kids provides me with some of the greatest experience’s and memories I will ever have. Nothing worth doing is ever easy, so yes family travel it’s not all smiles and happiness but the positive far outweighs the negative!