I was living the nightmare, the one where you run along the terminal, desperate for a flight. Your baby is screaming, your bags are a thousand pounds, and you can hear them call your name for the last time before the catwalk doors close.
We had left the house late and our daughter had thrown her only pants on the way to the airport, and security had taken a torturous hour and a half. If we had missed this trip to Costa Rica after two years at home during the pandemic, I would have joined the tantrums.
We made it (barely) and when I collapsed in the seat next to tears, I was shocked that I now had to sit a two-year-old boy for six hours.
I wondered why we were doing this.
Many moments from this trip helped answer that question: spending hours chasing shells in warm waves, seeing a baby sloth crawling across our dining table, hiking with a giant blue morpho butterfly perched on my shoulder. But what hit the hardest was when we got home.
My daughter looked out the window on her way back from the airport and said, "Our roads have a lot more lanes of traffic than in Costa Rica. I liked that they didn't go through all the forest to do more up to a road, even if that meant it took longer to get to the beach.”
It's my "why" to travel the world with children. Exposing them to different cultures is one of the most important ways to help them discover the incredible diversity of this planet. This, in turn, shapes their personal values and outlook. It just takes endless pits of patience and a significant amount of wet wipes.
Luckily, our travel experts are here to help. Many Enchanting Travels parents are dedicated to exploring the world with their children. These road warriors have been there (and lived to tell the tale) and share their tips for making traveling with kids as hassle-free as possible. Check out their expert tips for planning, traveling, and most importantly, enjoying your family trip!
1. Select the Right Destination
You can plan a trip to almost any destination in a "family friendly" way, from beach getaways to multi-week safaris in Africa. For families with young children, our experts recommend destinations and itineraries that allow you to stay in one place for a few days at a time, rather than checking into a different hotel room each morning. We get a lot of family beach vacation inquiries and like to recommend beaches with a sense of place rather than generic resorts.
It helps not to fill your trip with too many stops when traveling with children. “Less is more. I look for fewer stops, direct flights, train travel and destinations that offer a mix of experience and relaxation.
Sometimes travel is the goal and it's a good idea to mix active days with relaxing breaks. “Our children don't mind traveling for days. However, every third or fourth day should be relaxing or filled with fun stuff for the kids. The destination is secondary in the planning. We are more interested in the experience.
Wait though. It certainly gets better and much easier as the kids get older. “We chose the destination and then planned the activities according to the interests of the children according to their schedule when they were younger. The more they traveled, the easier it became for them to adapt to any place, food, and activity. They are now at an age where they can contribute and we ask them for suggestions for our next travel destination!
Bonus Tip: Make the trip work in your favor. Night trains are an adventure and you can travel great distances in your sleep.