The 1 must have item for traveling with kids (it may surprise you)
Ok all. Traveling with kids.. What a topic. The opinions are all over the place. Some think it’s a hassle, some think it’s an adventure, some look forward and don’t think anything of it, some dread it and do it because they think they have to, but no matter what it is always an experience!
If you are anything like me, you probably watch the instagram stories, reels, and cute videos of the families on vacation with their kids. Going from 1 to 3 kids, my views on traveling with kids has changed drastically. When it was just 1, I had no problems with it. I booked travel dates, went on road trips while my husband was working across state lines, and would hop on planes without second thought. My thoughts and pressures changed as we added 2 more kids to the mix and the parents became outnumbered.
My 3rd and final baby was born during the pandemic when we didn’t travel. I have to say, it was a relief that I felt endless guilt about. I was relieved that I didn’t “have” to travel or plan family vacations with a baby. I was not looking forward to that part of this season of life.
Ok, as I read that, it makes me sound like a horrible person. And some of you may think that, but I am being completely honest here, and I am willing to take the blow for that. I know that these words are going to help other moms feel ok about similar thoughts and feelings.
The truth was, my last 2 babies were not as “go with the flow” as my first. They required different attention, and I was struggling with how to provide it on a normal day to day. The thought of taking our new family dynamic on a vacation that was out of our element was overwhelming. I wasn’t sure how I was going to manage or handle all of the unknown.
There is pressure for vacations. As a mom, I am constantly thinking about all the things. Am I packing enough? Did I plan the right activities? Will we be able to fit in everything we want to? Will it live up to the last great vacation we took?
The questions that we worry ourselves with are overwhelming.
I’m about to tell you the 1 MUST HAVE item when traveling with your kids. It isn’t a product, or an amazing packing list.
It’s your mindset.
We need to move our mindset from the doing to the being.
Read that again. Instead of focusing on the doing, focus on the being.
Be there in your vacation. Play with your kids, stay at the hotel pool instead of venturing out. Order uber eats instead of eating at the restaurant. Leave the landmark or themepark early. It’s all ok.
There isn’t a magical list of must brings or must packs. The snacks and activities aren’t going to make a difference. There isn’t a set rule of tips and tricks that are going to change your experiences all to positive ones. Traveling with your kids can be challenging, exciting, exhausting, and fulfilling all at the same time.
Focus on your mindset of the trip. Focus on your why.
My why is to experience something new with my family. My why is to create memories that my kids and I will always remember. My kids aren’t going to remember what we were wearing. Or what coloring activities I bought for the travel day. My kids are going to remember how I was. They are going to remember that I played with them in the pool. They are going to remember that I sat down and had a picnic on the floor. They are going to remember that I was happy.
Kids can tell when you are stressed and they feed off of that.
I am not here to tell you that traveling and vacationing with kids isn’t stressful. I’m not here to tell you it’s easy. I’m not here to tell you that it isn’t work.
I’m here to tell you that your mindset will affect the experiences that you have. Before you go on vacation, or during the planning process, ask yourself what you are looking to get out of your vacation.
It’s still ok to look for checklists, and to get matching outfits. But make your priorities clear. Make the expectations for the trip new experiences and memories and not the stuff. Not the fancy hotel or the restaurants you saw on the food channel. Talk with your family and find out what they want to get out of the vacation together. Your kids might surprise you and give you answers that you were expecting. Their lack of expectations on a vacation might just tell you that they want to play in the sand, build a snowman, see mountains, or fish in a creek.
Stop killing yourself to make Pinterest styled vacations. Enjoy your family. If you go on 1 vacation a year for the 18 years your kids are “at home” that is only 18 family vacations together. Use that time to be in the moment instead of constantly worrying about everything else around you.
Your 1 must have item for traveling with kids, is a being in the moment mindset. That’s it.