If you’re planning on traveling with little ones, here are five tips to help make the trip as smooth as can be:
Be open to new foods
This sounds more exotic than it actually will be, because while you’ll want your baby to eat his organic oatmeal crackers, and for your big boy to eat his green beans and saucisse lionaise, there’s just so much your stroller can carry. And even if you bring everything they love, you’ll almost always hear a “Is that a crepe?! Mommy, can we try those?” And suddenly, you too will want to give in. The coffee will smell so robust and the cider will be fresh and that table in the town square will call your name — even if that means the baby will suck on a french fry and your big boy will eat bread again, for the third meal in a row. The experience of being there, with your husband in front of you, your fingers interlaced as you rest your tired feet together, will be worth everything.
Bring a stroller
It’s a no-brainer, but not for the obvious reason. Bring an ergo for the baby, a scooter for your big boy and a stroller for everything else you’re carrying. Essentially, the stroller will be your version of the shopping cart. It will allow you to lug around your purse, the diaper bag, the bathing suits for those just in case moments. It will hold your whole life and save you a strained shoulder. So bring the stroller.
Become a creative guide
You may start the trip to a special place by going over some hard wikipedia facts, but that may not get the crowd going. I recommed adding some flare flexing those middle school drama muslces — don’t be afraid to mimic witches and warlocks and toothless old folks. Even babies will laugh at your impression of folkloric thoothless old folks. But no story is compelte without the play by play of an actual or ficticuous battle. A battle is a an automatic ten points. “Wow! 2000 years is so old!” You’ll hear your engaged audience shout. “That’s more than 100!” And the Oscar goes to…
Let them get wet
Water is key. Water is literally the answer to all of your problems. If you’re visiting the artsy town of Uzès a monastary in Spain or any other town, monument or hike, linger around the streams, rivers, beaches, holy water dispensers or fountains and let your kids play with the murky waters. Let them drink from the source water in the cobblestone square, or that ornate brass duck spout in the park. They’ve been used for thousands of years, so you’re kids will be fine. And if you’re paranoid about it, ask a local, they’ll put you at ease, or roll their eyes at your paranoia. Truth is, they’ll be right. Relax and let the kids get wet. Splashing water will soothe a jet-lagged baby. It will invigorate a hot four-year-old who’se just turned down a scoop of ice cream, so you know something is off. He’ll play with the water, shyly at first, only dipping a few fingers and the running them over his rosy cheeks. He’ll soon get braver, ducking his entire hand, and before you know it, his shorts will be soaked. And just like that, all will be right again.
No need to rush
It’s always wise to have an idea of what time you want to get to your destination, but be sure to add two hours to that anyway. On the way, you’ll get hungry, the kids will need to use the bathroom and “Oh! Look! It’s a fruit stand!” You’ll get out, buy some expensive strawberries, then the baby will eat too many and his shirt will be covered In juice, so you’ll stop by a mall. There you might run into a bookstore and the big kid will want to test out the video game consoles. Finally, You’ll head back to the car only to realize the baby dropped a shoe, so you retrace your steps, and burn another half our. By the time you get to your destination, it will be way later than expected. Plan to be early, because it’ll mean you’ll be just a little bit late. But thankfully you’re checking out a UNESCO heritage site that’s been there for 2000 + years, so you don’t need to rush; It’s not going anywhere.