Lessons learned from Travelling with Toddlers

Travelling with toddlers is hard work, some would say, not us, we love it!  When we thought about travelling with our toddlers family and friends told us to wait until they were older, when they could remember the places we were travelling to; so that they too could benefit from all of the amazing experiences that travel affords you.  We disagreed, even though they might not be able to remember all of the places when they are older, we truly believe that their childhood experiences will help them grow and evolve into considerate global citizens, so we decided to go for it.  We also had a very good reason for choosing to travel now; our youngest child, Mayhem had a major operation to remove a benign tumour when he was 11 months old and it turned our world topsy turvy and reevaluate everything.  We packed up and shipped out, escaped the rat race to spend lots of quality family time together with our boys Chaos (3 1/2 yo) and Mayhem (21 months old) before they leave us for the best part of their days and go to school.

Topsy Turvy Tribe in Nerja

Topsy Turvy Tribe in Nerja, Spain

So hey, we are travelling, here’s what have we learnt so far:

Be prepared:

Always have a handy day bag packed with all of the essentials for toddler travel in; toys that ‘do something’, nappies, wipes, change of clothes (especially in the car for those projectile vomming moments), snacks, lots of water…oh and more snacks.  Did I mention snacks..?? Definitely a must for a day out, short or long trip.  Babywear, use slings or baby carriers, they really are the easiest ways to get around.

Topsy Turvy Tribe

Babywearing in Competa, Spain

Always have cash handy:

Many places off the beaten track simply do not take credit or debit cards, even gas stations and shops who do have card facilities will sometimes only accept cards issued by their own countries banks.  Therefore, unless you want to be embarrassed at the till, stash some cash for emergencies and always replace it when used.  See more on our Frugal Family Travel & Money Tips here

Plan in advance:

You do not want it leave it till the morning of the same day before you decide what to do.  When you have two toddlers who bounce out of bed and are keen to start the day jumping in feet, elbows and head first make sure you have a good idea what you want to do that day.  Toddlers do not like to be kept waiting, unless they are keeping you waiting by inspecting a building site, small stone, leaf, bug, fountain, anything at all really.  It’s all about them.

Go with the flow:

The greatest days out and the best experiences are usually the unexpected ones.  Our kids have bottle fed baby goats, ran screaming and giggling into the sea fully clothed, cuddled puppies and kittens and taken for a ride on 80 year old tractors, because we were spontaneous and decided to go the flow.  You had planned to get up at the crack of dawn (5.45 with our two early birds) and had 10 things on your itinerary that day…forget it.  But Chaos the threenager is cranky and Mayhem the velcro kid is miserable…slow down, go with the flow, let the toddlers rule.  If you get a couple of things ticked off, brilliant, if both the toddlers cheer up, even better!

Running in the sea fully clothed

Mayhem’s fully clothed beach collision in the Algarve, Portugal

Enjoy every minute:

Even if both toddlers set each other off and start a screaming competition, you are struck down by multiple poonamis, green candle attacks and terrible tantrums, it doesn’t last for long.  The memories you create travelling will last forever.  Take loads of photos, blog about it, reflect and savour every single moment.  Life is precious, especially your children’s lives, so very, very precious and oh so short.  All too soon they will be grown and going on their own travel adventures.

The boys making memories

Meeting the Neeeigh-bour, Andalusia, Spain

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