By Mim Jenkinson
I knew that becoming a parent was going to mean big changes. Sleepless nights. Early starts. Not much quiet time. And *shudder*, a big change to how we holidayed. It would be goodbye to sun, sea and sangria and hello to camping and kids’ clubs.
For years, I’d enjoyed world travel; from backpacking to luxury hotels, last minute mini breaks with the husband or spa weekends with the girls. That was all going to end, wasn’t it?
Well, not so! Over the past few years my eyes have been opened to travel in a whole new way, thanks to my kids. And here’s why.
1. You see the world differently
Seeing the world through the eyes of a child is so fulfilling. They notice the tiny details and the hidden gems in places that busy adults can often miss.
2. Every day is educational
Kids question everything and constantly want to learn more. My three year old asks questions about everywhere we go and it’s a learning experience for all of us.
3. It’s more fun
Children have a natural ability to find the fun in everything, don’t they? I’ve never laughed as much as I have on our family holidays. Whether it’s pushing Daddy in the swimming pool or playing games, there’s always something worth a giggle or belly laugh.
4. There are perks
No seriously, there are! At the airport you get to board the plane first and if you’re on a row of seats with bassinets, you get a little bit more leg room. Hey, every bonus counts.
5. We’re more active
Pre-kids, the level of exercise that our holidays called for didn’t extend much farther than lying on a sun-lounger and picking up a cocktail. These days, with two kids under age three, we’re running on the beach, scooting along the waterfront and climbing on, well, everything!
6. You never get lonely
Before I got married and had kids, I spent six months solo travelling through South East Asia. It was a perfect opportunity to see the world on my schedule BUT there were a few times when I would have loved someone to share the experience with. Not a problem on my family holidays, where there’s always someone to talk to. Of course they really never stop talking but that’s a whole different thing ;).
7. You make more friends
On the subject of socialising, holidaying with kids is a brilliant way of making new friends. Whether it’s on a day trip, at the pool or in a park, it’s so easy to get chatting to other parents while your kids play together.
8. Holidaying with other families is awesome
We go a few mini breaks each year with friends who have kids the same age to ours. It’s so much easier when there are more adults to share the load and the kids have a brilliant time. There’s something particularly satisfying about evenings spent kid-free socialising after they’ve gone to bed! Pass the wine.
9. You really bond
We savour each second of our evenings, weekends and days off with the kids when we’re not working but holiday time means we get to spend days or weeks together without the usual real-world distractions and pressures and get to know each other better.
10. It can be exhausting
Holidays with small kids can be pretty full-on and you might feel at times like you’ve just transported your home life to another location. However the memories you will have created far outweigh the lack of rest time. Don’t forget too, having kids doesn’t mean kid-free getaways should be off the table. Next time you need a holiday to recover from your family holiday, think about planning a cheeky girls weekend or romantic night away. You’ll love the extra sleep and eating your breakfast in peace but I’ll guarantee you’ll be craving your next family holiday before you know it!