I purposely titled this “Traveling with Kids” and not “Vacationing with Kids” because anyone who has taken a trip with small children can attest that there will not be an abundance of R&R happening. Lounging by the pool with a fruity cocktail? Not with a floatie-sporting toddler on the rampage. Sleeping in? Ha! Have you ever tried to sweet talk a baby into sleeping in a rented Pack N Play? If the child could talk, I am convinced that they would sneer at the substandard accommodations.
This is not my personal crib, therefore, I plan to remain awake until I return to the comfort of my own bedroom next week.
We recently took our first extended vacation with both children, so I now count myself an expert (as I am with most things) when it comes to traveling with kids. Today I am sharing lessons that I learned on our Disney cruise.
1. Stay flexible.
That 20 hour|6 CD collection of Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers that you were excited to find on Amazon? Your children will snub that in favor of watching a bargain bin Super Mario DVD over and over and over again in the backseat of your car. Which brings me to the one of the most important tips that I have to impart today: Invest in headphones for your travel DVD player. It might save your sanity when it starts to rain so hard that your eleven hour car ride home stretches to a fourteen hour ordeal.
2. Someone is going to get sick at some point.
In our case, it was three days before we left for our vacation. My son came home from the baseball field and promptly threw up in his room. Chewed up turkey sandwich and beige frieze carpet have a remarkably similar appearance. Until you step on it. We thought that he was just overheated until at 11pm, my daughter joined in. We played dueling vomit until 2am. Good times. Luckily, they were much better by our departure, although their appetites did not return until halfway through the trip.
3. Maintaining your healthy daily routine
is impossible could be a challenge.
My children existed on a breakfast of chocolate donuts on the cruise. If you ask them about their favorite part of the trip, it will not be, “visiting a different country.” or “seeing the ocean”. It will be, “We got to have chocolate donuts and ice cream EVERY DAY.” It’s the small things.
4. It will not ruin your child’s vacation to hear the word “NO”.
I am guilty of this. On vacation I start channeling Clark W. Griswold, and I insist that everyone is to have a fun-filled time, full of happy memories of family togetherness. You only live once! But you will not live long enough for me to purchase you $100 in Disney Princess regalia from the cruise ship gift shop. You have lost your mind.
5. Kids + Heat + Crowds= Why did we think this was a good idea?
I am a huge Harry Potter fan, and before we set sail, we spent a day in Orlando at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I drank butterbeer. I toured Hogwarts. I shopped in Zonkos.
The kids were not as spell-bound. I am sure that they wished that they could apparate back to the pool at the Nickelodeon Hotel.
Amusement parks are expensive. The mountain of food that the restaurant in Seuss Landing served us was ridiculous and overpriced. Maybe Michael Bloomberg is right. Do we really need a $5 bucket of coke? If you take nothing away from my ramblings, take note of this: If you are planning a trip to Universal Studios, bring lots of money because Pygmy Puffs ain’t cheap.
This is all meant to be in fun, of course. There are days where if I do not find the humor in life with small children, then you might see me on Ch. 48 climbing the Saturn 5 at the Space and Rocket Center in an attempt to blast away from the bickering. But all joking aside, our first family vacation was wonderful . The smile on my daughter’s face when Minnie Mouse gave her a hug was worth the six suitcases full of dirty laundry and sand. If you are considering taking your family on a cruise, the House of Mouse knows what it is doing when it comes to cruising. It was truly magical.