Travelling with children creates new challenges that you wouldn’t normally need to think about when travelling with just adults. I travel a lot, and have become accustom to packing light, but that went out the window when travelling with my nine and seven year old daughters to Italy recently! Particularly my seven year old, who is a hoarder and can’t throw anything out. We had half a suitcase full of books, textas, slime, putty, crap the airline gave her, balloons filled with flour, rice and pasta - which now I think about it, I’m glad customs didn’t feel the need to give it a second look!
Food to the rescue
We also found out the hard way that we needed a constant supply of snacks for Miss Seven. We couldn’t work out why she was fine, and then all of sudden she was about to take someone’s head off if they looked at her the wrong way (mainly Miss Nine). The way I worked out the issue was sitting in a laundry in Sorrento, with four other Aussies, having a beer and doing the laundry. I was talking about the trip when one of the ladies said, "Oh she gets hangry”, and all the dots connected! Let’s just stay it turned out to be a turning point in the trip!
Let the kids win
We did pre-book some really good day tours in Rome that were specifically marketed as family tours which the girls loved. These were designed with the kids in mind, and all had a competition of kids vs parents, which disappointingly the kids always won! The girls got to hold the flag and be the tour leader, and the guide even sat down on the ground with the kids in the Vatican and sent the parents off to get coffee. Luckily there was only a café and not a bar in sight!
Another great tour was a twilight tour of Rome, which included pizza and gelato. This tour catered well for everyone, especially when the pizza was accompanied with soft drink and beer.
Further into the trip when we were on our cruise, we docked in the small port of Kotor, Montenegro. It has so much history, a walled city, and the bay was very beautiful. It also has a playground with a seesaw which we couldn’t get the girls away from, and when we did we had to endure the questions and pestering as to when we would return... Sometimes it’s the simple things that the kids enjoy most, and that often includes a swimming pool, the beach, a water slide or playground! You can understand why so many parents go for the flop and drop holiday with young kids.
My advice when travelling on your family holiday is; pack snacks and your sense of humour. Allow for plenty of down time for the little people - sometimes they just want to spend time at the playground, the pool or on their iPad! Where possible try and do family oriented tours to keep the children engaged and often they won’t realise how far they have just walked, or how much they've learnt along the way!