Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Travel Tuesdays: Identify Your Family's Travel Needs

My husband and I are admittedly fly-by-the-seat-of-our pants kind of travelers. We don't generally go completely unscheduled, but we do leave lots of unplanned time. For example, on our trip to Morocco, the beginning of our trip was scheduled but we left time at the end to just "wing it" and  see where our journey took us. For our trip to Italy, we knew where we were sleeping, but had no other plans- not even a  rental car. We relied entirely on public transportation that we figured out once we arrived.

We are especially good at procrastinating when it comes to planning a trip in the first place. That trip to Morocco was booked less than a month in advance. We only decided we would take a trip about 6 weeks beforehand and spent a few weeks figuring it all out with our traveling companions. You'd think we'd get more organized once we had kids but our trip to India was even more last minute. We didn't decide to go until five weeks before the wedding. Our kids needed vaccinations and we all needed visas. I'm certainly not suggesting this is an ideal way to travel. That's just kind of how we roll around here. And that's my point... figure out what you, your partner/spouse, kids, traveling companions, etc. need before you start planning.

I have one relative (who shall remain nameless) who literally packs his suitcases two months in advance- you know, to make sure everything fits. We, on the other hand, might casually toss things into suitcases  during the week before a trip, but we're frequently still shoving a last few things into a suitcase hours before leaving. Neither way is the right way. The key is to figure out what works for you and do all you can to make sure your needs are met. If you're anxious about traveling without having accommodations booked in advance, be sure you book them. If you're comfortable finding a youth hostel once you arrive, do that. If there are multiple people in your party, be sure to discuss all of this up front.

One shift that happens once you have kids is that you really need to stop and think about what your kids need. We know our kids need a schedule- that is, a clear and consistent time to eat and go to bed at night. So once we're on local time, we do our best to stick to a reasonable schedule. We also carry more snacks than we would at home in case we are delayed or find ourselves somewhere without food.

It's not that we never veer off the usual schedule, but we are thoughtful about when and why we choose to alter it. And, if our kids go to bed late one night, you can be sure they'll be going to bed on time (or even early) the next night. If not, we ALL pay the price. I can't very well get upset with my kids for misbehavior if they've been up late for several nights in a row or are melting down because they're hungry. Its my job as a parent to make sure their needs are met.

So while we are kind of loosey goosey in trip planning, once we reach our destination, we do our best to work within our kids' needs. That's the system we've found that works for us.

How about you? Have you thought about how different members in your family can get their needs met while traveling? What's your system?

Related Posts:
Travel Tuesdays: Pushing Outside Your Comfort Zone
Travel Tuesdays: Take the City Bus, Not the Tour Bus
Travel Tuesdays: Top 10 Tips for Traveling With Children
Travel Tuesdays: Pack Your Sense of Humor


  1. Ooooh Morocco. That's my dream destination! Someday... For now thought we really only travel to see my parents.

    Good call on extra snacks.

    1. Perogyo,
      I'm curious... what makes it your dream destination?

      We really did have a fabulous time. I hope you get there some day!

      If you choose to do a camel trek, I highly recommend this Moroccan Sahara Tours! http://moroccansaharatours.com/

    2. Mostly the food! :) Lots of things really, that I could visit desert and beach so close, all that history, the language (I'm fascinated with the co-influence of Berber and Arabic), the food, the tiles! Someday I will go and do that camel trek. Thanks so much for the link!

    3. Oh, yes, the food is delicious! And Atay Binana- the sweet mint tea!

      The tiles are phenomenal. We visited a pottery in Fez that makes pots and tiles- As a potter, I was in heaven. They even let me stand inside their giant kiln and gave me come local clay!

      When we completed our camel trek, we drove west toward the ocean. About 1/2 hour hour before we reached the Atlantic, we suddenly felt it in the air. It was so palpable- my husband and I looked at each other and said, "We're almost there!" I never realized how connected I am to the ocean until that moment. I had struggled with the lack of water in Niger, but didn't connect that to the ocean- more to water to drink and water crops.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Iffatali,
    I deleted your comment because you included multiple links to airline ticket websites. I appreciate that you left a comment related to my post, but your blatant advertising is what lead to the deletion.