Taking a Trip

Monday, 1 June 2009

How does one plan the perfect trip or getaway that perfectly suits mum, dad, kids, timing and budget, whilst simultaneously providing the funnest and best for all?

We've done our fair share of travel and getaways (the kids have visited seven countries and they're only aged 6 and 8), and my answer to that question is that you simply can't.


Sure, you can plan. You can get things hitched up in your diary and pre-booked to within the tick of the minute hand. You can plot, plan and ferret until the planes land and the ships pull into harbour, but when it comes down to it, the secret to travelling with kids is to relax. Sure, do some strategic planning, but too much can undo you and becomes a tightly wound knot just waiting to unravel.

When you go away with kids, some kind of mild drama is inevitable. Getting one's knickers in a twist when things don't work to plan or things aren't as expected, is useless. To me, it's just an excuse to find something else more fun or make the most of a bad situation.

We're going to Tassie for 8 days in July. Being a Taswegian, this is like a rite of passage for me, and a chance for the kids to see where their mother began morphing into the creature before them. It's going to be amazing standing in front of the house I grew up in, seeing my old school, showing my kids where I used to run on the wind and which plum trees I used to pluck.

But our trip is also a great excuse to see some new places, and so I'll be flying blind when it comes to Cradle Mountain, Strachan and the plethora of divine farm gates all over the island.

So how do I make our trips stress free and fun?

Well, when we travel, we don't necessarily make the entire trip about the kids. We balance it up. We spend half the day doing things the kids love, then we spend half the day doing what we adults love (which always involves delicious food and lots of interaction with the kids, to prevent boredom and/or whining).

Planning is all good and well - it's research that really is key. I get on www.tripadvisor.com and start sussing great spots to stay (but remember these ratings are also not fool-proof; everyone has their own needs, likes/dislikes), but I also research what is happening around town and outside of town. If you dig deeper, beyond the typical tourist spots, you'll source some real magic.

Other than sourcing what is happening and what sounds like great fun to see or do, we try to create a balance between action and more leisurely pursuits. We also spend time planning our exact route, to take full advantage of the time we have - no back-tracking and time-wasting.

Basically, we prebook car hire, accomm and flights and then we pretty much wing it, unless we want to book in a show or see an event. Planning the route is ideal, guestimating how much time you'll need at each spot, factoring in breaks to just hang out, and making sure food is involved as much as possible. If you can do that, I think any trip with kids will be a blast.

How do you plan your trips away with kids?

1 comment:

moggies said...

Trip advisor is like my bible! Cannot speak highly enough of it. Real people giving real opinions is priceless. They have saved us on numerous occasions from sure disaster! The only problem is I get lost for hours in it! Personally, I think training the kids is the way to go. little by little getting them used it it and not to expect too much all at once...and a little valluim!

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