My husband and I had four kids within six years. Life got crazy in a hurry. I’ve heard that some people don’t let kids change their lives. They just keep on doing what they did before kids hit the scene. Um, not sure how that actually works.
Kids totally changed our lives.
Prior to kids, my husband and I greatly enjoyed traveling. With the addition of kids, we found ourselves more and more tied to home base. With family only a couple hours away, we never needed to drive that far for holidays. But, when baby #3 arrived, we had an important event to attend in Minnesota…in December.
And, so we took our first major family road trip with a four-year-old boy, two-year-old girl, and a 6 month old baby from Georgia to Minnesota in December.
It was…how shall I say it…memorable.
The baby had a blowout right before we needed to leave for the event that we had traveled over a thousand miles to attend. The last three hours on the way back home my four-year-old cried and cried and cried. We were so close to home that we thought surely we could make it and kept hoping he’d go back to sleep. He didn’t. When we finally made it home, we felt scarred for life and were unwilling to do another road trip anytime in the near future.
Baby #4 joined the family and we for some reason thought we’d try a family road trip to Kentucky…in December. Not sure what we were thinking. That was also…memorable. You haven’t really lived till you’ve been stuck in a hotel room at night with four little children including a screaming inconsolable baby. (You ask me why I am so in love with AirBnB? This trip. I never ever want to be in a hotel with my four children ever again.) And, on the way back home…can’t even talk about how sick I got without starting to feel sick again. Overall, that trip was…rough.
That brings me to four and a half years later. Summer 2017.
Though traveling with kids was hard, I nevertheless had a deep desire to take a family road trip from Georgia…to….Colorado. When I was 7, I had taken a road trip with my parents from South Carolina to Colorado and remember loving it. I hadn’t been back to Colorado since then, and my husband also wanted to see the breathtaking Rocky Mountains.
But…was I really up for this road trip? I was torn between desire and reality. The kids were now 10, 8, 7, and 5. We had successfully taken a road trip to D.C. by this point (We stayed with friends. No hotel!). Maybe, just maybe, we could pull it off. However, I was only willing to do the Colorado trip if we could do all AirBnB.
We did it!
And it was also…memorable.
But this time the good experiences far outweighed the bad moments. And now over a year and a half later, the not so pleasant memories either make us laugh so hard or they’ve moved to the back burner and we don’t even think about them. I am so thankful we pushed ourselves out of our comfort zone, overcame our fears, and took the trip.
Then, this past fall, we flew as a family for the first time ever. That was taking the travel adventure to the next level in my opinion. This time my desire was to take my family to NYC. I was so excited. But, I was also completely terrified. I know some families fly a lot and flying is probably no biggie for them. I am not one of those families. Also, I struggle with the unknown. I am a planner. Which is good…and bad. I could foretell so many potential stressful moments on a trip to NYC with children. Consequently, the day before we were to leave for NYC, I was starting to really freak out.
But, guess what? I took a lot of deep breaths, asked friends for prayer, boarded the plane, and went to NYC! And it was…AWESOME! (True, we had a few not-so-fun moments (being crammed in a subway one night for about 30 minutes standing up with all my kids wasn’t a highlight; but we celebrated surviving that experience by splurging on a drink for each of us at Starbucks…which truly was a highlight), but overall, it was an absolutely incredible experience to be in NYC with my family, and I’d go again in a heartbeat!)
Because traveling with kids can be challenging. And sometimes you might just feel like throwing in the towel and never trying again…if you ever dared try in the first place. And certain seasons are probably better for certain trips. And certain ages are better for certain locations. But all in all, you are going to have some unpleasant moments mixed into any trip with kids I think. But the good times so far outweighs any negatives that I say…Go for it! Even that crazy Minnesota December trip and Kentucky December trip were worth it. I love reflecting on what we actually survived.
Do you want to go somewhere with the kids but are terrified? You’re not alone in your hesitation. I’d encourage you to overcome the fear. Jump in the car. Or the plane. Or the ship??? (Personally, I have zero desire to do a cruise with my kids. Side note: I will also not be taking my kids to the Grand Canyon. Ever. Way too scary when you are just a few steps away from sure death all day. No thank you.)
Will your trip be crazy?! You betcha.
But will it be worth it? Absolutely.
Traveling with kids is an adventure that will pay back dividends for the rest of your life in laughs and fond shared memories. The only question now is…where do you want to go?!
I completely identify with being afraid to travel with kids. My longest trip was from Georgia to Virginia in 2008. We experienced multiple “blowouts” (the result of a horrible stomach bug that was passed around to a few in the family). Overall, the trip was horrible. We were able to have more enjoyable times as the children got older. Now, I’m starting over with two little ones. It’s crazy, but we make it.
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Thank you for commenting. You made me laugh. I hope you are able to make many more traveling memories as a family!
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I wasn’t laughing then, but I can laugh now.
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