Travel

 

By: Robyn Eidinger

 

Planning a vacation near or far can certainly prove to be a challenge. Throw kids in to the mix and things go from being challenging to sometimes chaotic. Whether it’s packing, planning or everything in between, travelling with kids can really stress some people out but if you plan accordingly, make your lists and checking them twice, the whole process can be much more enjoyable for everyone.

The idea of a vacation can mean something different for each person and is definitely dependent on preference, lifestyle and ones needs, not to mention budget. Once you determine what is best for you and your family, then the fun can begin.

The planning fun that is. If your choice of a vacation involves a hotel, there a few things to take into consideration.

  • Depending on the ages of your children, finding out if the hotel and surroundings are easily accessible for strollers and/or little legs is a must. I just came back from a vacation and although the hotel was considered a family friendly resort and I did my research and read all the reviews, I wish I would have asked just how family friendly it really was. The amenities were definitely family oriented but the grounds were not and lugging around a stroller ended up being very hard not to mention frustrating.
  • Another important consideration is the sleeping arrangements. Is a bed ideal for your children? If they need a crib, does the hotel provide one? Would it be a better idea to bring your own? If you are anything like me, the less I have to travel with, the better. Unfortunately, even though they assure you a crib will be available upon check-in, does not necessarily mean that there will actually be one available. We learned that, not once but twice.
  • Another big thing to consider when travelling with kids is food. We all love food but I know many people have a hard time finding food to feed their picky eaters on a regular basis, while travelling, the choices may be slim. One thing I have learned over the course of many, many family trips and vacations is to come prepared. Of course, bringing your entire kitchen is not possible but at least have some familiar snacks with you and maybe even some food pouches that have all kinds of nutritional ingredients so that if the food choices aren’t great, at least you will know your little ones are getting adequate nutrition for the most part.
  • Another important thing to consider when travelling with little ones is what gear do you need and what gear will be allowed. Not all strollers will be allowed to be checked at the gate so finding out before hand will make things easier. Also, will you need car seats? Get all the information you can before hand to ensure that when the time comes, you are not stuck in a bad situation.

 

Once you have sorted out all the fine details of your accommodations and ensured that it meets all of your needs, now we must get down to business and pack! This is the fun part! For some, this can me the most unnerving part of vacation but can definitely be made easier. When we finally book that vacation, we are excited, when we are there we hopefully have the time of our lives but the in between, the getting ready to go, can be really difficult. I know for me, the packing and preparing is probably the most challenging or at least comes a close second behind the actual travelling. There are a few ways that help make packing a little easier for everyone.

  • First, make lists! All kinds of lists and make those lists far in advance. Waiting until the last minute definitely won’t help the situation or ease the stress. I make one list for each family member and a separate list for carry-on. I like to start off with the kids since they tend to have much more to pack than myself.
  • Once the packing for the kids is complete and I have purchased anything that they might have outgrown or that I was missing, I automatically feel a sense of relief. I know most people would say less is more, but from my experience, always more. You just never know what will happen and since their clothes are so small, they typically don’t take up all that much room. Unless of course you are going somewhere where laundry is a possibility. However, I don’t know about you but for me, the last thing I want to do on vacation is laundry so I always bring more than needed. I have been that parent that runs out of clean clothes for one of the kids where laundry isn’t an option and let me tell you, it ain’t fun! You can always hand wash but again, not something I want to worry about.
  • For myself, I stick to basics. I pack items that can easily mix and match with other things and keep it minimal. I used to be the type to pack my whole closet but once having kids, I realized that its just not feasible. I let my husband take care of his own things since having to pack for myself and the kids is more than enough for one person to handle.

 

Now let’s talk about our carry-ons or if travelling by car, the easily accessible items.

  • In my bag I will always make sure that I have a change of clothes, pajamas and essential toiletries. If travelling south, a bathing suit, sunglasses and sunscreen is added. I also pack snacks because we all know that airport food and restaurant stops can get pricey and take time, time that we might not want to waste.
  • One very important thing to consider and to add to this bag is the travel entertainment for the youngsters. Travelling can sometimes seem like an eternity and when you have bored, restless kids with you, it does not make travelling enjoyable for anyone, so definitely plan ahead! I am typically not a tablet or electronic type of mom so I always make sure I have a variety of other fun stuff for the kids so that electronics really become a last resort. I will usually bring a few of the following: coloring pages and crayons, compact board games, cards, books, little puzzles, a small bag of Lego, their favourite but replaceable toys, miniature doodle board, or really anything they enjoying playing with that is compact enough to get thrown in to the bag.

All to say, do what you can before hand to allow your travelling and vacation to be as enjoyable as possible and being over prepared is far better than being underprepared. One important thing to remember, the majority of the time, if something is forgotten it can be purchased either on the way or once you reach your destination. So, don’t stress the little things and take the time to truly enjoy and appreciate all the good things a vacation has to offer.

 

by Laura Bodnik @ mickeychatter.com

Magic Kingdom Disney World

 

Are you thinking about taking a family trip to Disney World, but are unsure as to whether your kids are the “right” age? This is a topic I see parents discuss online all the time. Disney is sometimes a once in a lifetime trip for some families, so they want to make sure they go at the ideal time for their kids. In other cases, it may be your first trip to Disney World and you are unfamiliar with what it has to offer.

I am a firm believer that Disney World is for any age (adults included), but it really comes down to what you want to get out of your trip. Here is a look at how Disney is experienced at every age level:

 

Babies (newborn to 24 months)

At this age, you can pretty much guarantee that they will have no memories of your vacation. Whatever memories you make on your vacation will be for you. Now does this mean you should not travel with them at this age? Absolutely not!

If you know you will be returning with them when they are older, then I would recommend taking them when they are babies if Disney is a place that you enjoy.  Just imagine the adorable pictures you can get of them in front of the castle with their Mickey Ears on. Or even better – get their first haircut at the Harmony Barber Shop in the Magic Kingdom.

You may not be able to enjoy all the rides/attractions, but there are a lot of them that you can still ride with a baby on your lap. It is Disney after all and they cater to families with kids of any age.

 

Toddlers (2 to 3 yrs)

This age is perfect if you want them to still believe in the “Magic”. This is the age where they believe the characters are real and that the castle really is Cinderella’s Castle. Disney World is a magical place for toddlers and being able to see it through their eyes is a special moment for parents as well.

At this age, they will be able to ride even more rides and now they can sit on their own instead of on your lap.

The character meals will also really appeal to kids at this age. It’s a special experience where characters come to your table to interact with your family and take pictures. Don’t forget your autograph book!

Also, one great reason for going at this age is not having to worry about school. You can pretty much go at any time of year and not have to think about whether they will be allowed to travel or not because of a school schedule.

Toddlers at Disney World

 

Preschoolers (3 to 6 yrs)

Depending on the child and age, the “Magic” will still be super important to kids at this age. The younger ones will still believe in the characters, but when they get towards the end of this age group, they may start getting wiser about it. At 6 years old, my daughter figured out on her own that there were people inside of the costumes. Don’t get me wrong though, she was still very excited to meet characters and take pictures with them. This age is perfect for that.

They will also start to be able to ride the ‘big’ rides. For the rides that have minimum height requirements, they will probably reach all of them by the time they are 6. If you have a little one that thrives on adventure, then it will be perfect for both of you to enjoy the thrill rides together.

Also, Disney World is a great place to get your kids started on bigger rides. They do have some coasters and thrill rides, but they are at a lower level than you would find at other amusement parks. Lots of fun without being overly frightening.

Preschoolers at Disney World

 

Young Children (6 to 9 yrs)

This is the age where you can start to enjoy longer days at the parks. You won’t have to worry about nap times and most kids at this age can get around in the parks without a stroller.  It gives parents a bit more freedom and one less thing to worry about bringing to the parks.

You could probably also start to enjoy more evening touring since kids may be able to start staying up later and later. They will also probably pass the minimum height requirement for every ride, so the sky is the limit as to which rides you can do!

Since this is still the “elementary” years, it may also be easier to pull them out of school for a trip than it may be in a few years from now. I have always found that the younger the grade, the less impact it had on schooling if we decided to travel during the school year.

Prince Charming's Carousel at Disney World

 

Tweens (9 to 12 yrs)

This is an age where I find you can really bond with your kid over some of the more “adult” things to do at Disney World. If you have a little foodie, then they may really enjoy things like the Food & Wine Festival at Epcot. Tasting different food from all over the world may become more appealing to them as they get older, which is something that you can each enjoy together.

If characters are not your thing, then you may be able to skip them altogether at this age. Many kids at this age may start to feel that they are a bit old for characters (although I think any age is great for characters, even adults!), so this means that you don’t have to worry about waiting in any of those lines. More time to ride your favourite attractions!

Tweens at Disney World

 

Teens (13 yrs and up)

The sky is the limit at this age because now everyone can enjoy doing what they like at the park without worrying about the constant supervision of young children.

Your kids may be more interested in the thrill rides at this age and if you don’t want to ride them, they are old enough to go off on their own. If you have more than one child, then you may even feel comfortable enough with letting them explore the parks a bit on their own, while Mom and Dad have their own time together.

 


 

Disney World has something to offer for any age. It’s a place where you can make some wonderful memories with your family and there are advantages for bringing your child at any age.  It really comes down to a personal choice as to what you want to get out of your vacation and what kind of memories you want to make. Do you plan to bring your little ones to Disney World and if so, what do you think is the perfect age?

 

Find out what Disney World has to offer for every age!