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Traveling Alone or Family Travel Whether you want to travel alone, or travel with the kids, parents, or granny, this forum is for you!

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Old 03-04-2006, 07:06 AM   #1
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I've discovered that travelling with my family is actually a whole lot of fun - and less stressful in some ways than the solo thing. We are treated quite differently (4 kids in one family is pretty unusual in the places we've been) and usually get extra attention and care from grandmotherly types in restaurants and hotels. Where I have been met with reserve or been ignored when asking a question while I've travelled alone, when we have the kids along I can't recall a situation where we have been ignored and where someone (not necessarily the person we initially asked!) hasn't helped us.

Since our kids are actually interested in art, culture and history (probably a survival instinct) we still get to check out the museums and galleries that intrigue the grown-ups, but we also get to go to zoos and playgrounds where we meet other (usually local, because what nuts travel with their kids?) families, and sometimes get invited to join them at meals or special occasions which give us a chance to meet people and experience things that we would be excluded from were my husband and I travelling on our own.

Watching our kids learning and teaching games to local kids in Korea, Poland, Greece and others, where they didn't begin to speak the same language, and seeing their parents looking on in approval - well, it kinda makes you think that peace has a chance...

And while sometimes their attention span makes it hard to spend a day focussing on the intricacies of Etruscan civilization, it's surprising the things that interest them and the incredible detail that they notice. In Greece last spring, our four year old son was absolutely fascinated when we went to the Acropolis, with the limbless caryatids on one of the temples. We spent longer playing the "count the missing bits" game and actually paying attention to the carvings than we probably would have had he not been along to draw our attention to them.

One of our favourite ongoing games when we travel is the Great Treasure Hunt. At every museum or gallery we stop by the gift shop and the kids pick out a couple of post cards they like, then the whole family looks for those paintings (or whatever) throughout the museum. Since we all have different tastes, we get to see a lot more than we would if we were just focussing on our individual interests and the game tends to keep everyone interested and motivated as the hours drag on. At home each child has their own little album for their "treasures" and when we get home we note on the back the place, date and whether or not we found that particular treasure, so they can have their own little travel memory albums, too.

I know there are families who travel across oceans, only to eat in McDonald's and visit the various Disneylands, but we think that if you give those sponge-like kid brains something worthwhile to absorb, they'll take it up just as easily as they memorize the characters in their favourite cartoons, and they'll remember it better than you can, too.

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Old 03-04-2006, 07:52 AM   #2
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Thanks for your thoughts, Tamara.

Quote:
Originally posted by tumblezweedz@Mar 4 2006, 10:06 AM
I know there are families who travel across oceans, only to eat in McDonald's and visit the various Disneylands, but we think that if you give those sponge-like kid brains something worthwhile to absorb, they'll take it up just as easily as they memorize the characters in their favourite cartoons, and they'll remember it better than you can, too.
Role-modeling is underrated ! I so fully agree with you, that children first see the world through their parents' eyes. Parents have the responsibility to build a positive yet somewhat realistic and why not profond vision of the planet, as you do Tamara.
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Old 03-04-2006, 09:05 AM   #3
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Tamara this is why i voted you most inspirational member of Travelpunk...i sure hope that when i get to have a child Im going to act as culturally responsible as you and esther...I really like the idea of the postcards
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Old 03-04-2006, 02:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by beergal1@Mar 4 2006, 09:05 AM
Tamara this is why i voted you most inspirational member of Travelpunk...i sure hope that when i get to have a child Im going to act as culturally responsible as you and esther...I really like the idea of the postcards
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The same for me... Beth and I certainly plan to had children, and its inspiring to see how you have made it all happen with your own (you too Esther )
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Old 03-04-2006, 04:20 PM   #5
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I too agree, I think it's a fantastic idea to take the children along,
As mentioned probably makes you more open minded to things that you wouldn't normal do or see.

Rock on !
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Old 03-06-2006, 12:01 AM   #6
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Thanks for the kudos guys (and the votes - I was surprised and touched )

We've been fortunate to have been blessed with children who will sleep anywhere, eat darn near anything (how many people LOVE poi?) and don't have a clue what a "schedule" is...all of these factors help when travelling, and plenty of my friends hate travelling with their own children because the kids are not able to cope with the upheaval very well. So in that respect it is easy for us, though we've had our share of stressful experiences on the road, too.

But I really think it's sad how some people underestimate their children's intellect, interest and capacity - thinking that the most they can handle is Saturday mornings parked in front of the Cartoon Network. That's my only guess as to how something like "Teletubbies" was ever invented... :greenguy:

Plus with kids, you have a great excuse for sledding in staid town centres, for belting out all the songs from "The Sound of Music" while strolling through Salzburg, and for going to places like Junibacken (the Pippi Longstocking playworld in Stockholm...what a blast, but if an adult went there alone...ooooh, creepy.)

And I do appreciate the excuse to visit the gift shops first...

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Old 03-06-2006, 08:50 AM   #7
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Quote:
the Pippi Longstocking playworld in Stockholm


oh my god i so have to go there!
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Old 03-06-2006, 09:15 AM   #8
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It's sooo fun. Let me know if you need to borrow a kid...

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Old 03-06-2006, 09:16 AM   #9
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ha ha...i dont think your kids would be able to put up with my enthusiasm ha ha
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Old 03-06-2006, 10:00 AM   #10
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keep these threads going!! we're going on our first trip with our little guy this summer. these kinds of threads are great.
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Old 03-06-2006, 01:47 PM   #11
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I enjoy reading the posts as well. As someone who has done childcare for over ten years and has a lot of friends with kids, I see so many parents make it seem like everything just stops when you have kids and make it seem like anything you want to do is ruined. Most kids I know are spoiled brats, so they probably would ruin the experience ( ) but you give me faith that it's not impossible - not even close. Jake and I have always known we would have kids, but as of late, we've become so bitter towards them. You keep my eyes open that kids don't ruin your life and the difficulty seems to stem more from the parent than the child.
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Old 03-06-2006, 11:33 PM   #12
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Dfresh - We've travelled cross the oceans with kids as young as 6 weeks, so lemme know if you have any specific questions when the big day comes - you'll have such a blast seeing the world through his eyes (and people the world over love babies...)

Jamie - most of the time, you really can't blame the kids (even those who are especially obnoxious!), I wish parents would take more responsibility for the way their kids act! We once went to a baptism, and my husband stood at the back of the church with our crying infant (sometimes, you have to accept that they do that!) and a friend, whose three year old was rampaging all over. She shrugged and said, "He just doesn't know how to behave in a church." like it was something that is somehow inherent in most children but hers was just lacking in that department. Our unspoken reaction, "Well, why don't you TEACH him?!" Whether it's a church, whining in the grocery store, being rude to neighbours I don't care...the parents have to take charge. Families aren't democracies, at least not early on! So don't give up on kids, you guys have the strength of character it takes to set the example and raise civil ones!

Sorry 'bout the rant...

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Old 08-01-2006, 07:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by bluepea@Mar 6 2006, 02:47 PM
I enjoy reading the posts as well. As someone who has done childcare for over ten years and has a lot of friends with kids, I see so many parents make it seem like everything just stops when you have kids and make it seem like anything you want to do is ruined. Most kids I know are spoiled brats, so they probably would ruin the experience ( ) but you give me faith that it's not impossible - not even close. Jake and I have always known we would have kids, but as of late, we've become so bitter towards them. You keep my eyes open that kids don't ruin your life and the difficulty seems to stem more from the parent than the child.
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Kids do make your life come to a screeching halt, in a way. You have to completely reevaluate how you do things. Those parents that aren't able to cope with such change usually fall back on the 'one-eyed babysitter' and plunk their kids down in front of the TV. They cease going out because it requires planning, and forethought and you actually have to pay attention to what you're doing more.

This doesn't prevent spontaneity, but it certainly changes things drastically.

My kids are really good with the grab-and-go roadtrip, and they're wonderful about finding something enjoyable in anything we're doing. (Often times, it's nothing that I expected them to enjoy about the activity, but who am I to judge?)

As to the feral children that everyone hates? Yeah, I feel like correcting them and then turning around and spanking their parents... Let me point out, unless there's something seriously wrong (developmental difficulties, trauma, etc.) you're to blame for your kids behavior - you can't make them perfect calm little angels, but you can certainly teach them good behavior from bad... (My grandpa always said "You get the children you deserve.")

I'm looking forward to travelling with the kids, though the airfare thing is gonna kill me...
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Old 08-01-2006, 07:23 PM   #14
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As someone who wasn't a kid too long ago, I can honestly say that my memories travelling have been some of the best. I've practically grown up on planes, and it is because of the effort my parents put into travelling with me when I was young that has allowed me to be completely open to any new experiences. Your kids will grow up being so much more mature and open than those who are stuck at home all day in front of the tv.
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Old 08-05-2006, 02:34 PM   #15
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"(My grandpa always said "You get the children you deserve.")"

Even my mom admits I did nothing to deserve Dylan!

"I'm looking forward to travelling with the kids, though the airfare thing is gonna kill me..."

Ugh, tell me about it!

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