Travel Adventures

When I’m getting the kids excited about something, I always add the word Adventure. Bringing the kids out to dinner? It’s a Restaurant Adventure! Toting them along to a wine bar? Olive Adventure! Stay with me here… my 3-year-old loves olives, and knows very well that she’s can’t partake in a Wine Adventure. So, you get the idea. You’re going on a trip? Travel Adventure!

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Tara, Matt and Auden at Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, United States. December 2015.

My kids get so excited to come on an Adventure, which makes it easier to wrangle them through the trains, planes and long security lines. Changing my language to boost the kids into Adventure Gear gets me in a new frame of mind as well. Once I have an idea of the travel dates, I like to plug them into Skyscanner and select “Everywhere” as my destination. You can even select “whole month” or “cheapest month” if you’re flexible! The results always fuel my wanderlust: a list of countries from least to most expensive. You can click on a country to see prices by city. Unless we have a specific event to go to, or a group of friends to coordinate with, I choose our Adventures based on the best travel deals. With so many places on my wish list, and all of Europe at our fingertips, it’s the best way to narrow down the options.

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Skyscanner.com Hmmm… where to?

The next step is to figure out where we will stay.  I like to find an Airbnb so that we have some extra space. Many Airbnbs offer travel cots or even cribs, so I always index for that amenity (More Filters: Show all amenities). I strongly prefer to put the kids to sleep in a separate room, rather than sharing one hotel room with them. That being said, if we can stay in a nice hotel on points, it’s sometimes worth being a little cramped. As long as the hotel is willing to bring 2 cots/ 2 cribs, I can handle the close quarters and baby snores!

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Our hotel room with 2 baby cots at The Sir Adam Hotel, Amsterdam, Netherlands. June 2018.

I’ve sat in many a hotel hallway late at night, waiting for the kids to fall asleep before re-entering my room, so that’s an admittedly awkward downside. Once, the people in the room next door returned in glamorous attire with glasses of champagne and stared at me, mouths agape, as I sat dumbly in my “athleisure” (read: gym clothes). I think I just stared back, equally surprised at their proximity, and they hurried into their room for their romantic evening. Oh, well. #momlife, right?

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Parents’ Night In (the hallway), featuring hotel slippers and crisp white wine

Wherever you consider staying, make sure that you will be able to handle the setup. Will the couch or extra bed be suitable for your toddler, or do they need something to prevent falling in their sleep? Is the toilet up a narrow/steep staircase or can everyone manage? Are there too many stairs for you to carry luggage, buggy and children, or will someone/ an elevator be there to help you? When will breakfast be available, or when do the nearest options open? If it’s going to be hours after the kids wake up, pick up some food the day before. Advance consideration of these things will make your trip much easier.

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Excited for an apple pie breakfast at Winkel 43, Amsterdam, Netherlands. June 2018.

Finally, make restaurant reservations whenever you’re planning a sit-down meal. This is especially important if there’s a restaurant you’re eager to try. If you show up and there happens to be a long wait, you might miss out because your kids are too hungry or tired. Plus, you can lay claim to the high chairs you need (or plan for situations where there isn’t one available), and the restaurant can seat you in a place with a little more elbow room. You will be able to manage snack times because you know when meals are coming, and plan your activities accordingly. I love planning my trips around meals, whether they are food markets or formal dining.

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Atari Gastroteka, San Sebastian, Spain. February 2018. Photo: Paola Delgado

I also always bring the comfort item that each child sleeps with, because they take up so little room and the familiarity makes them happy. For my daughter, it’s a little zebra and for my son, a little leopard (which you can see in the hotel photo above!). They also know that Travel Adventures mean lots of snacks, and new types of treats that aren’t common in England. Some treats are common in England, but they don’t know that yet! Ha! What are your favourite tricks to get kids excited for travel? Let me know in the Comments!

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