I’m a planner. I plan weekends and birthdays. I love to plan girls’ nights out and coffee catch ups and play dates. If I’m feeling organised I plan content for my blog and what I’m going to put on social media (ok well sometimes I plan that stuff). But one thing I have always loved planning is holidays. To give you some perspective on this, it is currently October 2018 and I have all our holidays planned (not booked mind) until the end of 2019. I mean yeah. That’s planning.
Since the kids are starting to get a bit older I’ve started trying to get them involved in the whole planning process. Now this adds a whole lot of time to the procedure and I have to be super careful not to overwhelm them with options. But I’m really loving having them right there planning with me and here’s why:
It makes you slow down and compromise
As a planner, and a pathological researcher of holidays, I get caught up in wanting to do All Of The Things. All of them. This probably speaks more to my chronic problem with fear of missing out than planning but it’s all part of it I guess. With the kids I know I can’t plan too much or I’ll have mutiny on my hands. If we do too much it will tire them (and us) out and invariably will backfire. So I have learnt the art of compromise. I now prioritise what I want to do and I’ve finally begun to accept that we can’t do everything. If there’s too much in one place we do one of 2 things. We either find a kid friendly tour (there’s a great one in Rome that we loved – it involved a golf buggy). Or we agree ahead of time that we do parent stuff on one day and as a reward the kids can choose something (almost always a water park) the next. After a series of particularly full on and active holidays this year, we even just took them to an all-inclusive resort for a few days to chill out. I was practically climbing the walls by the end, but it got us all rested for the next one.
It prepares them
I love that they are now getting to an age where they really understand what we are doing. And what we are talking about doing. Being able to show them where we will go and to talk about what we will see is so helpful in the overall planning process. That they know these things before we get there is brilliant and something I had completely overlooked until last year, in Rome, when my eldest announced that the Coliseum is in his Lonely Planet travel book.
It also prepares them for those compromises. Suddenly they understand that a particularly tiring or boring day for them will be followed up by something that is super fun.
It gets everyone excited!
And speaking of super fun – if they get to help choose what we are doing then they get far more excited about it than if we just spring it on them the day before! Not just that but the highlight for my kids is to travel by plane. They aren’t even disappointed that a holiday is over because it means they get to go on a plane! Excitement galore…
I mean if they’re excited then we’re excited. Right? But it’s not just that. There’s something about talking about holidays that immediately lights me up. Knowing there’s something in the pipeline is super exciting. Talking about what we are going to do and where and I’m like a kid in a sweet shop! Talking about a holiday is one of the best ways to prepare your kids for travel.
Help with other holiday prep
I don’t know if I’m the only one who has this but it feels like sometimes I’m the only one who really does the holiday prep. I’m talking about making sure holiday clothes still fit, checking if the villa has beach towels, knowing if the first aid kit is up to date, buying snacks, planning activities to take with us, packing and checking in. There’s a lot to do if you’re going on holiday and the last thing you want is to get there to find your son has grown out of his shorts, your daughter wants to wear a t-shirt you didn’t pack and, inexplicably, both of them have gone off the snack you brought (and that they’ve been eating for months).
I’ve noticed such a difference by taking them shopping with me and involving them in the packing. I think most of it is that it gives them a much greater sense of control and power. And if it reduces the drama levels on holiday then that’s absolutely fine with me.
It gives you angles you might not have thought of
It would never have occurred to me to do a golf cart tour in Rome. Or to find a waterpark in Bali. Or to do lots of the other amazing things that we have done since we had kids and had to make compromises on our travel. The kids have definitely made me see travel in a completely different light. And while there’s no surprise there, the surprise for me is that it’s actually for the better.
Emma’s a pushing 40, travel-mad mum to 2 young kids (aged 6 and 4) and a crazy dog. Originally from the UK she’s lived in 10 cities across 5 continents all over the world. She currently lives in Doha, Qatar. Emma started blogging about her family travels in 2017 when she had an epiphany about how to have successful adventurous family holidays.
You can follow Emma at:
Wanderlust and Wet Wipes: https://www.wanderlustandwetwipes.com
This post is my day 18 contribution for #blogtober18