Ditch the routine and ditch the kid’s school bags - it’s holiday time

A lighthearted guide to travelling enjoyably with children …

Have you ever found yourself flicking through Facebook looking at your friend’s holiday pics and thinking how on earth the entire family look so relaxed and happy? Surely it’s some new filter, right?  I mean they’re all smiling spontaneously, looking in the same direction and like they’re having the time of their lives.

Behind every shiny photo are parents whose internal chatter is saying ‘just hold it together, we’re making memories’.

Let’s be honest one of the upsides of holidaying with the little darlings that we created is that the witching hour lines up nicely with cocktail hour which is definitely one of the most enjoyable perks … cheers to that!

Someone once said that holidaying with kids is just parenting in a different location.  They were right and they need a medal. There seems to be a little process that we like to put ourselves through when planning a holiday but then the entire event is a little like childbirth where we forget the painful parts and then sign up to do it all over again until our children are grown and it becomes uncool to be seen with us. 

So with all of that said and for the soon-to-be parents thinking ‘oh that won’t be us’, travelling with kids can be AH-MAZING and by taking a few of these tips on board you can really embrace the life away from home experience and make those dang memories that we are all so keen to make … oh and let’s not forget the social media pics to prove that we are winning at this parenting gig. 

As parents it is so easy to become so consumed with “making memories”  that we hold the leads so tightly and try to micro-manage and control every minute … kinda zaps the joy out of it though doesn’t it? 

Go with the flow - You’re on holiday… time to loosen the grip on trying to have all your ducks in a row.  So what if you look like a group of drifters that lost all of your luggage, the only way to truly enjoy yourself is to live in the moment and take each moment as it comes.  That is a true holiday right?!  On a serious side note, a super helpful tip is to have your kids pop a change of clothes into their backpacks in the event the airline really does lose your luggage. Let’s hope that that’s not how it goes. 

Choose your battles - So the kiddies want to wear their bathers out for dinner but you have different ideas.  Before you left, you ironed, neatly folded little outfits and squished them into your already overflowing suitcase and the thought of them not wearing exactly what you had planned when overplaying this holiday is exhausting.  Choose your battles, let them wear the bathers, and maybe just compromise by ditching the flippers (hehe). 

Ditch the routine - What is your favourite memory from childhood vacay’s?  I betcha that it was no strict bedtimes, no alarm clock in the morning and no rushing here, there and everywhere.  If the kids don’t eat breakfast by 6:30 am on the knocker they are not going to starve to death and if they eat after 8 pm they are not going to turn into gremlins … maybe they will but because you are so relaxed that you may not notice.  Here’s hoping right?! 

Encourage independence - Kids love being given freedom.  It makes their holiday feel like theirs instead of being tiny cranky passengers.  Take their favourite cool backpack and encourage them to pack it with a few of their favourite things - think drink bottle, fidgets, headphones for the plane kind of things.  On the days you are going exploring remind them to grab their drink bottles and backpack and let them be in charge of throwing a few snacks in there and carrying them with them.  If they have any spending money, tuck it away in an area where they can access it and have some choice about where and how they spend it.  

Order two desserts - This advice is derived from real-life experience and it is something that we still talk about to this day … especially the kids.  Picture the Noosa Boardwalk at sunset.  Heaven right?  The four of us had walked from our apartment down to the beach and spontaneously decided to go in for a little something to eat and drink.  We sat down and ordered some drinks and some calamari and the kids asked if they could order dessert.  We said ‘sure, go for it’.  The sunset was so special and our chatter was so fun and we found ourselves wanting to stay a bit longer.  The adults ordered another round of cocktails and I asked the kids what they’d like and they looked at each other and then at us and said ‘can we order another dessert’.  In that moment we could have been ‘responsible-nope-you’ve-had-enough-dessert’ parents but instead, we embraced the rare moment that was nothing like real life at home and said ‘GO FOR IT’.  We walked the 4km home with two happy little kids who literally thought it was the best day of their lives and when we look back, so do we. 

Allow them to call some of the shots - Are you a voting family?  Obviously, it is a little different with younger kiddies but if your kiddies are 5+ allow them to call some of the shots.  Where should we eat tonight?  We have the choice between Fish and Chips on the beach, dinner at the Surf Club or that Italian restaurant that we passed when we were out walking - let’s take a vote and see who wants what.  This instils that holidays can be a democratic and fun experience and a real break away from the rigid rules of home life … and it's lots of fun! 

Oh and before you head off on this ah-mazing memory-making adventure, make sure that you have emptied the kid’s school bags … no one needs to come home to week old cut up fruit that now resembles prison wine and a half-eaten sandwich that could be used to create antibiotics.  EEK. 

Safe travels lovelies!