by Nikki and Jesse McKee
The idea of travelling with kids can seem daunting and exciting at the same time. Daunting mostly because of the actual travelling part, but once you arrive somewhere, kids will be kids no matter where they are.
My experience of travelling with my 6 year old son has been an absolute pleasure. I have been amazed at how easily he adapts. His joy wants to come out no matter where in the world he is.
Kids love exploring – it’s natural to them and so adventuring and travelling can be an extension of that. They can also be great at breaking the ice with people. They don’t know the etiquette of certain cultures and carry with them a beautiful innocence. Cultural barriers are non-existent in their world.
As adults we can be unnerved walking into a new environment or a room of people whose ways are different to our own. Children feel this too but they continue to be themselves – they climb on things, they run up ramps, they stomp in puddles…it can be refreshing to see how they continue to be themselves no matter where they are.
These elements make travelling with children a delight. Pre-child I travelled a lot on my own and it was an entirely different way of travelling. I recently took a 10 day trip to Vietnam with my son. He had a big impact on the dynamic of our tour group as his joy and playfulness added exactly that. He became great friends with the tour guides and our travel companions, helping to bring everyone together and making it clear we are all people.
However, being prepared can make a big difference. Long aeroplane trips and bus rides can take their toll on both kids and parents. My son and I have always travelled with activity books and some extra school work. We take books that we can read together and that my son can read alone. A colouring book, card games (Uno is a favourite of ours) and a mini board game can all be easily packed. A scrapbook is a nice addition to the daily rhythm and has the added bonus of being something they can show at school on return. I’ve personally tried to stay away from too much screen time and computer games, although it has been hard to resist hotel TV. There seems to be something about hotel TV that appeals to kids…I remember the same thing as a kid!
And in terms of safety – prepare your kids. Make sure they are aware that they need to stay with you. I was given the great tip of putting a business card of the hotel in my child’s pocket so that heaven forbid if I did lose him, he would be able to get back to the hotel.
I love travelling with my son – it is a great time for us to be together and connect as well as have some fun adventures. He has changed the way I travel and I will go so far as to say that I far prefer travelling with him than without him. Plus, what kids learn from an overseas adventure, in many and multiple ways, is super duper valuable as my son would say.