When I first envisioned this trip, I thought it would be more of an educational experience for our son Niko who is just over 3. The fact of the matter is that we have been learning more from him than I could have ever imagined. It’s strange to think that a 35 year old can learn from a 3 year old, but it’s true. As I now have much more time to observe him, there are a few attributes I find invaluable. One that stands out the most is his ability to enjoy the moment rather than just the goal.
As adults, we find ourselves focusing on the result rather than the process. Let me try to illustrate. The path from Natasza’s parents house to the playground in the forest is just over 800 meters. It takes an adult approximately 10 minutes to reach the destination. How long do you think it takes Niko? Just about 45 minutes.
Sounds like a long time … doesn’t it? I have captured the following video to help show you what a typical walk looks like.
Isn’t it amazing how Niko enjoys every step of the way? Perhaps it’s true when people say, it’s the journey that matters not just the destination.
So what have we learned? We learned that instead of teaching our kids ways to live faster, perhaps we should just open our eyes, slow down and enjoy the moment?
Below you will find some tips we have discovered through our travels and extensive research. We hope it delivers some value to you and your companions.
Always have snacks handy (hungry kids and spouses get angry pretty fast:))
Ensure your child has their favourite toys on hand. A DVD player is always good especially if you fly discount airlines.
Always have extra diapers and wipes on you and possibly a toilet seat adjuster for a toilet trained toddler.
Make your parking arrangements ahead of time (at least 1 night before)
Get to the airport at least 2 hrs for local flights and 3 hrs for international flights. It’s better to be early and sane than late and have a fight with your spouse while running to the gate:)
Check-in online with the airline if available (usually 24 hours, discount airlines sometimes 2 weeks before!) ahead of your flight. Note: You may need a printer but some airlines now allow to use your smart phones as well.
Communicate with your travel mate, always! Small misinterpretations during challenging situations will turn into arguments. When with a kid, you need to minimize that risk.
Divvy up the chores … even on vacation, doing dishes, grocery shopping or laundry needs to be done.
At restaurants, check the menu for prices before you enter … the language barrier may make it difficult to leave when you find out a burger is equivalent to $20.
Whenever possible reserve the seat behind the ‘better’ class, these usually have more leg room.
Backup your photos, videos and files from cameras, laptop etc. You don’t want to lose thousands of photos! We recommend some cloud type services like DropBox to sync your files with your laptop on a regular basis.
Mail packages home with gifts, souvenirs and extra clothing. Use the cheapest route. It doesn’t matter if it takes a month to arrive.
We hope you will find the above helpful. More to come later.
If you have any other tips or recommendations please leave us a comment below.