Traveling with children is not as simple as it may seem. Many fear leaving the comfort and safety of home, yet crave the variety that adventures bring. There’s no need to despair: as parents of four children, we have some ideas to make your travels easier.
• Start traveling with your child when they are still a baby. It might seem challenging, but trust me, this is the easiest time. If you are still breastfeeding and they are not yet crawling, it’s the most suitable period to introduce them to travel.
• It’s a good idea to holiday in the same place with kids as a recurring guest where you went the previous year. Yes, I also thought it would be boring at first, but no! Kids excitedly discover what has changed, come up with ideas on where to go, what attractions they missed last year, or were so good that they want to revisit; where they want to have ice cream, etc. You fulfill their wishes, and everyone is happy. Not to mention, you know what to expect.
• Don’t travel alone, but with another family. It’s a good idea to choose a family where your kids are friends, or their kids are older than yours but nurturing, and you all enjoy each other’s company. For this, you need accommodation where you can be close to each other but live separately (e.g., rent two houses in the same village), but you can sit down together for lunch or dinner. Or a larger accommodation where everyone is together, but then more tolerance is needed.
• There are many temptations when it comes to choosing a holiday destination, but don’t let them divert you from your intention: optimize the vacation as a mother. For example, it’s a good idea to choose Airbnb instead of a hotel in a beautiful little village or even a city center. If you carefully choose a host and explain your situation, they will clean more carefully, prepare toys and a high chair, etc. They pay attention to details that a hotel might not, but they make a big difference for you.
• Avoid highways when driving. Yes, you can get there faster, but that’s not everything. Believe me, as soon as you get on, you’ll hear the next sentence: I need to pee really badly! And then you’ll see that the next gas station is 14 km away…
• On the other hand, the “old roads” have worked great. I mean those country roads where long-distance traffic was common before the era of highways. They often pass through villages, there are a few old inns next to them, and there is a playground in every village. Treat driving as part of the vacation. Come up with simple tasks (who sees the first red car/stork’s nest/four-legged animal? Or count something (church tower, deer sign, cemetery, etc.) Observe how the houses change as you move away from the big city. The journey prepares for the arrival.
• For long drives, our favorites are listenable tales, audiobooks for kids. Think about what you liked in your childhood; chances are they will like it too.
• Gradually move from weaker programs to better ones, and by the end of the vacation (for the journey home), keep a big surprise. We have friends who consider this to be ice cream because they don’t normally give sweets to their kids, but it could be go-karting or horse archery demonstration or whatever they like. My parents took me to a restaurant on the way home from a hiking trip.
• Avoid peak times. It’s a suffering to be with kids in great places if you have to wait in line or they can’t get to the attraction. Once, my parents took me to the zoo on Children’s Day – I only saw the backs of other people. In the ‘Sights’ menu, we don’t just showcase nearby places, but we give tips for a greater experience. Try visiting the Balaton Uplands in autumn or spring.