When I was a divorced single Mom, I made a decision that regardless of how how hard I found life, I would find a way to travel with my kids. Travel was such an important passion for me. I craved it and I craved sharing that with my children.
Through the grace of some very good friends, family and even acquaintances, after I went through the first year after divorce in “survival mode” I took the boys on our first trip.
I know, I know, a bit of a Divorced Single Mom cliche, but it was soooooo worth it. The boys were 3.5 and 5. And a big handful. But we more than survived – we thrived. Despite the challenges, I knew that travel with my kids was a MUST.
The next year we made our way to Mexico (which I regretted within the first few hours of going, but it ended up being amazing – more on that another time), and a trip to Utah and Yellowstone National Park. Again, Amazing.
|Yellowstone National Park|
So I started planning for future trips. I started planning big. Two trips a year (and I don’t count the little weekend trips that we make back to my hometown, or up north, or a few hours away). I also decided that I would take the boys on 3 “trips of a lifetime” before they turned into “adults”. I would start saving asap for these trips, and then have a yearly savings fund for yearly trips. It would mean prioritizing travel over many other things that many others enjoy.
But it was important to me, so I made that pack with myself. We would be travellers.
And 3 more kids.
And an ex-wife that sucks up a lot of extra money.
Sorry hon, I’ll marry you, but we still need to travel. A lot. You can kiss your little fancy sports car dreams good bye for a while.
We need to take a trip a year with the kids (at least), a trip a year on our own (at least), and 3 big “trips of a lifetime”.
I admit, it didn’t seem possible. But it was gonna happen.
So, one day, shortly after we were married (almost 5 years ago now), we sat down with the kids and discussed our priorities.
Ok, they didn’t care. Gabe was 9, Sam was 3 and the others were squished in between at 7, 7 and 5.
|Family Honeymoon in Jamaica. First Family trip, and first time Gabe, Zandra and Sam had been on an airplane!|
But we did discuss where they would like to go for our “trips of a lifetime”. Of course, I pushed them in the direction of my desires, and that seemed to suit them just fine: Australia, Africa and Volunteer Service trip somewhere.
Rob and I looked at the kids ages, our calendars (when it would be our turn to pick holidays) and our finances and began to make the master plan.
Australia in 2013. Africa in 2015 and then sometime after that, a Volunteer trip somewhere.
Last summer, it started to become a reality.
We sat down with the kids again to make some plans. This time, they had more to say. I had contacted a travel agent and got an idea of some itineraries. The travel agent sent us some “whirlwind” trips downunder, some just Australia, and some included parts of New Zealand, and some included Fiji.
Well you show that to kids, and what do you expect?
We are now going to Fiji, New Zealand, and Australia.
For 2.5 weeks.
I know, seasoned travels cringe at how quickly we are going to fly through cities. “That is way too short of an amount of time. You need at least a week in a city!” “Why bother flying all that way for such a short trip?” “You won’t be able to see a thing.”
Move over naysayers. We ain’t listening. I’m doubting you have travelled with 5 kids in tow, so you may just not get how we need constant stimulation, and constant change and constant entertainment (which equals constant exhaustion) to keep the littles from getting restless. But that is life with kids!
So we leave in under 6 weeks and we are headed to Fiji, Auckland, Rotorua, Sydney and Cairns.
And, because I love documenting, of course I will be documenting our travels! However, I thought I would also document the prep for our travels And that starts NOW!!
So, bear with me as I share how we are prepping for this amazing adventure of ours over the next few weeks. I will try to share some of my best travel tips for travelling with kids! And, if you have any suggestions, then PLEASE share your advice and expertise with me in the comments below!