A Disney fan blog about the good things in life.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

"Hey look kids, Big Ben, Parliament." - Clark Griswold

Before I had kids I remember saying to my husband, "I don't want anything to change about our lifestyle. I want to travel just as much. I want to spend as much time on my hair. I want to watch the same TV that I would have if kids were not in the room."

Obviously, I was completely mistaken.

Two and a half years later, my oldest son controls the TV remote with an iron fist. My hair has been in a ponytail for the better part of two years. And travel... well actually that's the one thing that remained somewhat the same.

Before kids I was always on the way to someplace else. Business trips blurred into pleasure trips and frequent flier miles added up. I would stand at the front of the line with my gold encrusted magic flier card and shrug as families with entire living rooms for carry on baggage watched me board with only a laptop and purse. I glared at kids who screamed on flights. I mentally willed the woman with the infant in arms to sit anywhere but next to me. 

In my second life as a parent,  my gold travel magical front-ofthe-line card has expired and I have joined the masses of families waiting for the red carpet business travelers to make their way onto the plane. Instead of glaring, I get glared at.

I love to travel. I think I may have some gypsy blood in me and I want more than anything to pass this love to my children. So far we have done the safe family trips. Disney, Disney, and Disney. Beach vacations and the mother of all vacations, Hawaii. One location remains uncharted, Europe. So it was with interest that I read the article, Travel to Europe on a Family Budget in the May 2010 issue of Parents magazine. 

After reading the article I realized that I have been playing my vacations child-safe. Europe is possible with small children, you just have to be smart about your choices. I was thinking in terms of big foreign cities with even bigger toddler melt-downs -no thanks. However, there are more than enough alternatives off the big city grid to satisfy all ages. 

Take Ireland for example. I have been two times as an adult. Dublin - loved it. But now? With kids? What would we even do? Well skip Dublin completely of course. What kid wouldn't love a horse and buggy ride around the Aran Islands? Or explore some really old castles or even older caves. It didn't dawn on me until reading Ms. Klurman's article that this same logic could be applied to most every European country.

The question really is, is traveling overseas with children under 10 worth the hassle? Depends. If your goal is to sit in a Parisian bistro, smoke cigarettes and drink a glass of red wine... well, a toddler may cramp your style. I would suggest hitting up Epcot faux-France and pretend. They have red wine. A smaller version of the Eiffel Tour and a smoking section if you must.

Chances are I will stick with the kid friendly vacations for now. But as the boys get older and the itch to broaden our travel repertoire grows I will think back on my pre-kids travel self with fondness and chart a new travel path that the whole family can enjoy.

Happy Travels!



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