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I am on the last night of a trip with my daughter. Simply due to the where trips fell on the calendar, the first quarter of 2013 was heavily loaded with family travel for my crew. I think this is already the fourth pretty big trip my daughter has been on with me since the year started. She’s seriously an old travel pro by now, but even still, travel is quite different with a young kid than without.
As a result of so many recent trips with Little C, I’ve been thinking about exactly how travel with a young kid (or kids) is different than travel with just adults. There are many top contenders including:
- Lugging and installing the car seat (this is seriously my least favorite part)
- Having to shell out extra cash or miles for their tickets
- Traveling with many more bags and gear
- Not being able to always stay in standard hotel rooms
- Including kid friendly activities in the schedule instead of just doing adult things
- Moving at a slower pace
- Always having snacks and drinks on hand
- Getting more hugs and wiping more tears
- Timing activities around naps and potty breaks
However, the biggest game changer for me is lack of sleep. Adult vacations for me usually mean sleeping in and having some down time to just relax. However, when traveling with the little crew, I find that sleep is a precious commodity. My kiddo wakes up early no matter where she is, but on vacation we usually don’t get her down as early as normal due to the different environment, and all of the vacation related activities. That means that we are all up a bit late, but are still getting up early with the kiddo. By the end of the trip (ie now) that results in pretty nasty exhaustion…at least for the parents, she seems totally fine! Proof of her never ending resilience is this 5:45AM United Club photo taken this morning.
So, I have to say beyond a reasonable doubt that seriously reduced rest is the biggest way in which traveling with a young kid impacts my trips. At least, that is the biggest impact from a negative (sleep deprived) point of view. If I were less sleep deprived I would say the biggest difference is the joy from sharing the world with her, but I’ll save those kittens and rainbows for after I catch-up on sleep….sometime next week.
What I really want to know is what changes the most for your family when the kiddos travel with you vs. when it is an adults-only trip?