Reflecting on the last year I realised we have covered a lot of ground with our twin toddlers. We visited 7 countries, did countless driving and flying hours and spent many many nights not sleeping in our own beds.
I guess some people would wonder why we are doing this. Some may think we are completely crazy. So why do we travel with our kids?
Travelling time is family time
Our main motivation for travelling with our kids at such an early age is simply that we enjoy it. We love spending time with them and watching how they interact with the world around them. Each new experience they have is approached from their own differing perspective and opens up our eyes to something new.
Places we have been as single people or as a couple take on a whole new aura when seen through the lens of our children’s eyes. I will always remember our visit to Pisa fondly, not so much for the awe-inspiring architecture and art, but for our little people running amok on the lush green lawns and delighting in their gnocchi lunch.
Important skills and experience
We believe resilience and adaptability are skills our children will need as adults. Travelling involves a lot of waiting around and dealing with unfamiliar circumstances, people and languages. I know it has helped with my own patience issues – ahem! – so hopefully starting early will stand our kids in good stead.
Of course, as it is often said that there is no better education than travelling. Cliche as that sounds, it’s true. Children are little sponges. You can literally see by the expressions on their faces that they are processing each new experience and adding it to their bank of knowledge.
Hearing different languages, eating new foods and watching different ways of living are all learning experiences. I’m hoping that if they choose to learn French their accents will be a little less Australian-ised than mine!
Our place in the world
Ultimately we hope that travelling will also help our children build an appreciation of how fortunate they are in life. They are truly lucky to have these opportunities.
As we get more adventurous and we will travel to countries where children are much less fortunate and may never have the chance to leave their hometown, let alone explore new continents. We hope our kids develop empathy and understanding for cultures and situations far removed from our own.
This may all sound a bit gushy so I want to assure you that it has not all been smooth sailing. Far from it…
There have been quite a few hiccups along the way
✪ Our last trip back to London from our a visit home to Melbourne, Australia was frankly an awful 24 hours. Two unsettled babies who could not/would not sleep and cranky fellow passengers just doesn’t make for fond memories. OK, it was the worst 24 hours of my life.
✪ Trying to settle into a new time zone by going for a walk around London Bridge at rush hour against a tide of humanity. Sorry kids – terrible Mum decision that one!
✪ Kids getting squished on a train packed full of tourists in the Cinque Terre while I was robbed, not so great either
5 things that make our trips easier
1 | Sticking to our daily routine – especially meal, nap and sleep times – has definitely made the transition to travel from our daily lives a lot smoother.
2 | We choose accommodation carefully making sure it is central and close to major attractions and transport. Depending on the length of time we stay we might choose hotels or apartments. I find the best resource for this is Booking.com where you can compare both options. For more travel sites and resources please see “Travel and Trip Planning Resources“
3 | The Baby Bjorn travel cots we invested in early on are the best travel item we own. They are not cheap but have a comfy mattress, are very light and compact and are easy to assemble and pack away. Most importantly the twins feel safe and cosy in them
4 | Taking our time and not expecting to cover the same ground we did when we travelled without kids. Sounds like a no brainer but if you have travelled a bit before kids it actually can be quite hard to accept that you will not be able to pack in as much in a day
5 | We research local playgrounds. Letting off steam is an important toddler activity made much easier with a roundabout and a swing
Some highlights over the past 15 months
✪ A family horse drawn carriage ride around Bruges
✪ Rediscovering Balinese cuisine while in lovely Ubud
✪ Riding a little surrey or four wheeled bike around the medieval Tuscan city of Lucca
✪ A white New Year in the French Alps
✪ Eating waffles in the stunning Grand Place in Brussels
Do you travel with your kids?
Travelling with twin toddlers is not the easiest thing we have ever done but it has been a wonderful experience and one we feel incredibly grateful and privileged to have.
If you have the opportunity to travel with your kids, grasp it with both hands – I am certain you will create lasting happy memories and have a few stories to tell of your adventures.
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