How travel changes after kids. While some folks do still backpack with kids or have enough support to jet away on romantic, expensive weekends away without children, for most parents travel becomes a vastly different beast when you start to plan family holidays with kids. Here is a humorous list of some of the changes you can expect when you going on family vacation with kids.
You disappear from all photographs.
Were you even on the family holiday? When you scroll back through your albums it might be pretty unclear because where once your camera was full of selfies in front of the Taj Mahal or the London Eye, now all your travel pictures will only feature the kids and whichever parent is the non photographer. Except for the one random family shot that you asked a stranger to take which is really poorly framed and in which you can be seen shouting at your youngest to "Behave!".
You rarely experience destinations after 6pm, especially if you have kids aged between one and 6.
No more big nights out drinking buckets of random local brew. No more leisurely long dinners in Michelin starred restaurants. Although it is possible to take kids out to expensive restaurants and you might get them to sit in a pub for an hour or two, the vast majority of your time will be sitting in a hotel room in the dark, sharing a bed with a kicking toddler, while you try to quietly catch up on episodes of Game of Thrones on the dodgy free wifi on your smartphone. (Don't forget to pack your headphones.)
Words like "kids club" and "all inclusive" now become attractive selling points.
Rather than searching for the deck chairs with the best views in the most remote corners of your private villa or spending days out on scooters exploring the local villages, now you will dash from buffet breakfast to the most central deck chairs you can find with good access to toilets and the pool stairs. You will know all the rules of the kids eat free deals, when the kids club opens and closes and what rates for babysitting are. A 5-minute free cultural performance in the lobby will become your new way of "meeting the locals" and the closer the resort is to the airport, the more likely you will be to choose it so you can avoid any additional transfers. But be sure you pick the right resort for you because chances are you won’t leave it for the duration of your stay.
You fit a lot less into one day when you travel with kids.
Forget knocking off three museums, lunch and then a spot of shopping. Most days you will be lucky if you accomplish two – or three at an absolute maximum – activities per day before the kids go into complete meltdown. A trip into town with one sight and a meal is pretty ambitious and you’ll learn – the hard way – that the more downtime the kids (and you) have, the better you all travel and the more you’ll actually see.
You have a lot more luggage when you travel with kids.
Remember the days when one 15 kilogram backpack could last you 6 months on the road? Not anymore! When you travel with kids you always need the airport luggage trolley and it is a logistical feat getting from one transfer to another. On top of the sheer volume of clothes, nappies and food, add to that portacots, strollers and kids car seats and you may as well be moving house!
You plan ahead a lot more when you travel with kids.
There is a lot less spontaneity when you travel with kids versus traveling with only adults. While you can’t actually achieve too many activities in one day, the ones you do decide to do usually require some advanced planning. Does the restaurant have high chairs? Will the taxi have kids car seats? Is the live performance age appropriate for your children?
In fact, overall there is just a whole lot more work when you travel with kids. More immigration forms to fill in, more passports to keep track of, more hotel rooms to book and many more expenses than you ever had before. All of which means that while you might still be traveling, flying by the seat of your pants takes on a whole new meaning.
Everyone in the airport and on the plane hates you and is silently hoping not to sit anywhere near you.
Need we say more?
Your chances of being upgraded on the plane drop from minimal to zero.
While some of the perks of travel with kids are that you often get to board the aircraft first and the kids’ meals are always delivered early…
Actually we don’t need to say anything else here either.
You will do all those things you vowed never to do.
Touristy cultural attractions, braiding your kids’ hair in Bali, doing a bus hop-on, hop-off tour, never leaving the resort. All those mainstream tourist activities you turned you nose up at will now become the stalwarts of your family holidays. Theme parks? Bring them on. A buffet restaurant? Yes, please! And worst of all? No matter how much of a travel snob you were before, you will actually learn to enjoy them. Guess that’s all a part of growing up.
Image: Colin Mitchell