Traveling With Kids

I LOVE to travel. There was a time in my life where I dreamed of being a globetrotting photojournalist. Before having kids my husband and I traveled to unique spots off the beaten path and winged it. Once we showed up in the Cook Islands with accommodations set up for only the first couple of nights. It was a little exciting not knowing exactly which island we would go to, where we would store our bags, and where we would to sleep. It didn’t really matter.

We would lazily wake up in the mornings, have our coffee on the beach, and have no idea how our day would unfold. I would journal and take a million pictures of the ocean, vegetation, and architecture. It was all very laid back and we didn’t need to worry about anything, except deciding at the last minute where we would go next.

And then we had kids…

Those first few years of traveling with children (and all their gear) were a bit shocking. It used to be so easy… Lugging the stroller, sippy cups, bottles, and diaper gear around puts a different spin on traveling. So much for traveling light. Then there is the airplane ride to think about–Will our kids be those screaming crazed children who make a packed flight absolute hell for everyone? Did I forget anything? Do I have enough food for my youngest, who has a severe food allergy and cannot eat airplane food? Where is the EpiPen? Do I have enough activities and books to keep everyone occupied? Is someone sitting next to us going to stink up the area by farting because then I’ll have to worry about my kids asking aloud, “What’s that smell?” Yes, that actually happened and it was hilarious and embarrassing.

That’s the thing about traveling with kids…you can plan and organize all you want, which helps, but in a way, it ends up being similar to before you had kids—you sort of have to wing it and you don’t know exactly how things will turn out. When I’m open to looking at the experiences with a sense of humor, some of the horror stories are actually fantastically funny memories to laugh about later.

Every year traveling with kids gets a little easier too. Once the kids are out of diapers and done with the stroller–options expand. Each year we are a little more mobile and willing to fly by the seat of our pants, but being prepared for anything to happen is a must. We always have our EpiPen and snacks in hand.

Right now, we are in Maui with some friends having a blast. We’ve hit another traveling milestone—our six and nine-year old’s want to run around and play with their friends more than hang out with us. It kind of makes me sad. They still need us to feed them, help apply their sunscreen, and snuggle; but they are growing up so quickly—too quickly.

Ultimately, our job is to prepare our children to be independent, confident, and capable individuals so I know this is a good and healthy change.

I love seeing the kids play together, meet new friends on the beach, and explore. It’s pretty cool to see life through the eyes of a child and watch them develop and change each year. I also sense that one day soon we (as a family) will be able to wing it as we did before having children.

I still take a billion travel pictures of the ocean, vegetation, and architecture as I did before kids, but now my most treasured pictures are of our family and friends.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Molly
    Apr 21, 2011 @ 12:43:15


    great post!


  2. Janell
    Apr 21, 2011 @ 15:44:24

    When we went to Africa last year there were many concerns that came up because we were worried about keeping the kids safe and comfortable and therefore we missed a lot of true African adventure. Can’t wait to go back when the kids are older and can handle a little more discomfort so we can get out of the cities a little more and see the more Rural communities where they don’t actually have hotels.
    It can only get easier as they get older, right?


    • Liz
      Apr 23, 2011 @ 11:51:14

      Hi Janell,

      I totally understand what you are saying. We are going to Mexico at the end of the year, and I’m already thinking about how we’ll handle Olivia’s food allergy. I’m thinking we’ll carry around a lamenated note (in Spanish) explaining that she is deathly allergic to eggs.

      I ran into Josh Gaul in Maui. Always a trip to run into someone you haven’t seen in 20 years!


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