17 February 2010

i've been tagged to reveal 'my 3 top travel tips with children'

Greetings all,
Tania McCartney has tagged me to reveal my top secret tips of "have children, will travel" to actually be fabulous & fun.  Tania gave wonderful tips on destinations on her blog & that girl has travelled, but i'm going to take a different approach.
1. ATTITUDE: so you're parents, deal with it, make your holidays family orientated or hire a babysitter & pretend you're just a couple again.  Blunt enough for you??  Make it a great holiday & find your inner child.  I'm a very relaxed parent who is happy to devote my holidays to children's activities & my husband is thrilled to see us all having a great time & pays the bills.  Know your children & your husband - when do they get tired, will Daddy want to have an afternoon nap??  Will he get annoyed at your shopping??  Will you need to have a place to hide shopping in an unmarked suitcase??  Will you be happy to spend a morning alone with the children so he goes off to the city & does his own shopping??  Realise that it's a holiday for everyone.  Finally deal with the fact you may only get one ace holiday every few years.  We actually make our 'moving' interstate a holiday & rarely take a trip inbetween. 
2. PLANNING: So i've previously confessed i'm a planner, well guess what, forewarned is forearmed - whether you are flying overnight long haul with small children OR going to war.  I do the hard work in advance, finding the best rates, read the small print & find failsafe activities - but we have children who travel well & are very easy to please - especially if you take them to . . . Disneyland!! Ok, seems indulgent but our 4 children went 9 long months without a Daddy & with Army travel allowances thrown in, we made a trip as a family of 6 to Hong Kong Disneyland in 2007.  Out of Darwin, it cost us personally about $6K for all flights, taxes, meals, 2 rooms at the Disneyland Hotel on Lantau Island, shopping & entry to the park for a week.  I read the fine print - if you bought annual passes (cost less than 2 days entry anyway) you got 30% off breakfast & 35% off week day room rates.  We had to book 2 rooms, we made it 5 week nights & booked in low season (shorter queues too & we went to Disneyland 5 times - morning, all day, night for fireworks, you name it).  Easy!!  Plus you get to feel like the BEST parents in the world because you're taking your children to Disneyland!!  I like baths, so always book a room with a big bath (also convenient for hand washing) & my husband is tall & loves huge beds, so we book a room with a king size bed when available.  Local knowledge is also useful - as a blonde child travelling to Asia i found people would pull my hair & grab me for photos, so taking a set of 4 fair haired children to Singapore, Macau, China & Hong Kong, we knew what to expect.  I'm talking tour buses stopping to have shots with the children!!  Blonde twins sent them wild (Asians have the lowest incidence of twins)!!  Let's just say, hundreds of Chinese have photos of our children in their albums & the girls would smile but the boy, well he had enough & would cross his arms & frown, you know, vampire angry kind of frown!! 
3. KNOW YOUR FAMILY: do they like swimming at home??  If not, don't take them to a tropical island holiday & expect them to suddenly love swimming!!  If they are terrified of people dressed up in suits, i don't recommend them finding their confidence at theme parks either.  You've probably spent a lot of money, time, energy & annual leave organising this holiday, so make sure you're taking the kind of holiday which will leave you with happy memories & experiences, not pent up stress & resentment.  I feel ill when i see children on holiday or at a restaurant with an iPod, DVD player or game boy & their parents let them use them!!  Oh the horror, why bother bringing them if you don't plan on engaging with them??  I believe pencils, books & activities, even iPods are fine for travelling long distances when there is nothing to see & to keep them from nagging.  Know what they like - my children love swimming, tropical weather, pirates, princesses, international food, rides, running free - so for us, Hong Kong Disneyland was a perfect focus for a holiday.  The children were aged 3 to 8 when we went, so we informed our little fella that he might not be tall enough for some rides & we'd take turns revisiting rides he could do or sat out with him.  He was fine.  Also, little ones might need a pram, favourite toy, snacks, rest spots & a day off from all the excitement.  Splitting children up also gives them a break from each other - girls with Daddy, boys with Mum or vice versa.  Finally - if you wear them out during the day, they'll collapse in a heap & sleep so THEN you can feel like a couple again & have the evening to yourselves.  Love Posie

5 comments:

Posie Patchwork said...

NOTE: it's 2010 & that was our last holiday!! Love Posie

Tania McCartney said...

LOVE IT! Tx

Kylie said...

Wise words from a wise Mum:)

Hear you on the holiday thing though - would you believe that we have not really had a holiday since our honeymoon. Our holidays are always visiting parents (of which are at each end of the country - or moving) Hence the building of le campertrailer!

Lisar said...

Your whole post about travel with children was very interesting.... but what I found really facinating was your comment about the Asians taking photos of your children.... I took my (red haired) niece to Healesville Sanctuary on the weekend and had an asian tourist stick a telephoto lens in our faces taking a photo of my niece....I must admit I was quite shocked...but your post explains a lot...(by the way...my niece is very cute...red hair or not....but I AM a biased aunt)

Dee Andrews said...

Glad to find your blog through Tania and the travel secrets tag game.

Your "secrets" are right on! We just returned to the US after living in Spain for a year with our two daughters. We're all seasoned travel pros now! My blog, www.travelandtravails.com chronicles our year of travel and travails!

Love your pillows and can't wait to look at more!