The two of us have always loved to travel and we were determined that bringing kids into our life will not change that. But it did. I was so scared when having to decide where we should go, with our then eight-month-old daughter. How can I pack the entire nursery and take it along, and where's the nearest pediatrician? -- and a thousand other problems. But after our first trip and a dozen or more things I didn't need, I've slowly learned that travel with kids can be done. So, don't give up and give it a try.
As fun as the traveling part is, deciding where you want to go can be both frustrating and enjoyable. So, how do you choose? The world is a huge place with beautiful places around every corner. It is unhelpful that most of us have both limited time and resources. Otherwise, we probably wouldn't even have a problem choosing. Also if I was traveling alone, these two should be the only points of reference for my upcoming trip. But going away with the kids no matter how adventurous I am feeling still manages to add about a trillion of things into consideration, such as duration of the trip, safety of the country, medical facilities, health risks, type of accommodation etc. These things didn't even cross my mind when I was backpacking my way through and they do sound very boring. But I've discovered that attention to details before ensures a smooth sailing while on the trip.
Truthfully, reading this won't really make the decisions for you, but I do hope a few of the hints will make it easier:
• First of all, money does make the world go round and the amount you have at your disposal will help set the boundaries, but beware -- you will definitely exceed them. Really, you will.
• Set the date once you've negotiated it with your colleagues at work, boss and worked it around school holidays.
• Decide what your family wants to do. Set the theme of the holiday: sunbathing, laying around, sightseeing, adventure seeking, adrenalin pumping...? If you know that, you are already half way there.
• Now surf the net, check the offers, see if anything appeals. Ask yourself stuff like: are you really prepared to be traveling for 16 hours? Do you want to get tetanus shots? How much medical insurance is enough to get you covered? Will you manage the heat/cold etc? How about the kids? All answered? And your budget will cover it? All in agreement?
• Get out the credit card and book, book, book. From then on, it's just counting down to the date, packing and off you go. Have fun!
But if that doesn't yield results or if you find it too conventional, here are ten options you can try:
•Let the kids decide. -- They know what they want, so spare them the numbers or dates or anything. Just let them pick and you are already at the credit card step.
•Spin the globe with your eyes shut. No peeking. Point the finger and where it lands is your destination. All you have to do is make the reservations and go.
•Check out where the great festivals are and go. This is actually good; we might try that as well some day.
•Drive to the airport and board the first cheapest flight. Hm, a bit of an adventure on top of two/three/four small kids? But, hey whatever gets your blood pumping.
•Browse through the last minute deals and pick one. Not a bad choice, if you don't have anything in particular in mind. Just the budget.
•Visit your family and friends abroad, if they will have you. Do check beforehand.
•Disneyland, Disney World, Six Flags or any other theme park -- you can't go wrong.
•Bora Bora or Cook's Islands or Fiji if you can afford it.
•Greenland or Alaska or North Pole if you want to be cool.
•Get in the car and drive (to anywhere you want to go) -- it's called a road-trip and your kids should definitely be familiar with it before they get their own driving license.
Please let me know if you decide to try out one of these ten super deciding tools and if they work. Have fun wherever you are going.
Follow Inga Batur on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Coolkidzcooltri