I admit, changing diapers on a plane is not fun. On the other hand, is changing diapers ever fun? Dealing with our own bodily functions is stressful enough, I don’t know of anyone who actually likes dealing with those of another human as well.
STILL, I can make the case that kids are awesome traveling companions.
Especially when they are out of diapers.
Kids Teach Us to Judge Less
They see things with fresh eyes, while adults bring a boatload of baggage into every situation. Whenever my husband and I learn that our accommodations are not what we had hoped (which means super shitty), we watch our daughters ooh and ahh as if we’re staying at the Ritz. It’s a great reminder that everything is going to be okay.
Shared bathrooms, six people to a room, and no chocolates left on your pillows.
And sometimes, no pillows.
They Make Great Icebreakers
Kids have been helping adults have conversations with one another since the beginning of… kids and conversations.
Fast friends despite a lack of shared language.
Children Haven’t Lost Their Sense of Wonder
They are so much less boring and jaded than their adults. I never knew just how boring and jaded I was until I began traveling with my kids. So… thank you?
Pausing for a moment on the streets of Bilbao.
Kids Will Always Encourage Ordering Dessert
They are not at all fans of denying small pleasures like ice cream. And I know that sugar is evil and I should lose weight and blah blah blah. But I live most of my life under that thinking. Every now and then, it’s nice to go for the ice cream.
They Keep You in Check
You may get to indulge in an ice cream cone, but you don’t get to stay out all night partying. This seems like a negative, until you get to the point in life when staying out all night partying is more exhausting than fun. There are exceptions to this. We took our kids to Carnaval in Brazil, watching a parade in São Paulo’s Sambodromo from 10pm to 6am the next morning. The kids were up for staying another few hours, but my husband and I couldn’t take any more.
Parade float at Carnaval.
They Bring Out Your Inner Child
Would my husband and I have visited Australia Zoo if our children hadn’t been along? Okay, bad example. The point is that there are plenty of activities that you do with the children in mind, but the adults gain just as much enjoyment. And if I’m ever again in Beerwah, I’m going back to Australia Zoo whether the kids are with me or not.
I took this shot of Terri and Bindi Irwin in the Crocoseum.
It’s nice every now and then for the adults to get away without the kids, but it’s also important not to discount the memories you can create as a traveling family. Even the difficult situations, in hindsight, are always worth it.