My 5 Favorite Trips With Kids
Many people shy away from traveling with their kids because, let’s face it, sometimes it seems like a chore.
There’s the extra luggage, the snacks, the favorite lovie, the stroller, the naptime schedule, all the fun games and devices to entertain them on the plane, and then you need to find kid-friendly activities when you actually DO get to your destination.
It’s hard. I get it. Often times, it takes being purposeful in your actions and schedule, but I’m here to tell you that it is 100% worth it.
I really do love traveling with my kids. Now that there are two of them, it certainly makes the process a little more difficult, but what eclipses all that frustration of planning and suffocating under mountains of gear is seeing them play and discover new places.
My three-year-old often asks what country are we going to next and is fascinated with his passport. Seriously adorbs.
So today, as I contemplate all the amazing adventures I want to have in 2018, I am going to share with you some of my favorite trips we’ve taken with the kids in the years past. Perhaps at a later time, I’ll share with you my favorite trips without kids too.. 🙂
5. Brussels, Belgium
In February 2016, I found myself on a list to attend a workshop in Brussels. Then it suddenly occurred to me – why don’t we all go! We found a way for my husband and son to come along (there was only one Bambino then) and suddenly this work trip turned into a mini family getaway.
Might I remind you that February in Europe is cold and wet. Not the best conditions for adventure with Bambino in a stroller. But despite the weather, we had a marvelous time exploring the intricate edifices of Brussels, and even took a day trip to Bruges, perhaps my favorite European small town.
When we took this trip, M was at the wonderful stage just before 2. It’s also when we started a photo collection of “places M sleeps through”.
4. Highlands, Scotland
Oh, Scotland. I could (and probably will) write much more about this most enchanting world. By far, the best reason to travel to Scotland with Bambinos is the incredible abundance of rural space. Once leaving Edinburgh, we encountered only small towns until reaching Inverness, which in itself, isn’t terribly huge either.
Scotland quickly became one of my favorite places in the entire world and I’m not just using hyperbole. We flew into Edinburgh, rented a car to drive three hours north into the Highlands, and stayed in an adorable Airbnb near the town of Aberlour. Our cottage was everything you’d want it to be, nestled between a whiskey distillery and a cow field, with nothing to bother you at night but bright shining stars.
We encountered heilan’ coos, the adorable fluffy red-brown cows sporting magnificent horns, took a steam train ride through the heart of Speyside, found some amazing playgrounds, hiked to a hidden waterfall, and stargazed from our own backyard.
It was a week of relaxation. No itinerary. No presumption.
3. Zagreb and Dubrovnik, Croatia
It’s becoming a more popular destination in recent days, but from my experience, Croatia is truly a hidden gem of Europe. With its breathtaking coastline, friendly attitude, and low cost, It should be on everyone’s destination list. This was again, another trip with a solo Bambino. The trip lasted a week but split our time between the capital of Zagreb and the famous old city, Dubrovnik on the Dalmatian coast.
Some of my our favorite kid-friendly activities in Croatia were taking a day-ferry from Dubrovnik to the island of Lopud, visiting the peacocks and taking a dip in a spring on nearby Lokrum, walking the walls of the old city, and taking a cable car to the summit for the best view of the coastline. All of which are wonderfully easy to do with kids in tow.
2. Crete, Greece
Who doesn’t have a Greek island vacation on their bucket list? The best thing about Greece is its rich resources to be an incredible destination. With its fascinating history, world-famous beaches, love of children, and abundance of fresh food ingredients, Greece is the perfect escape for any family.
We chose to spend our vacation on the island of Crete, Greece’s largest and southernmost island, particularly in the Western half. Crete was where my son learned to love the beach on the warm, calm shores. It’s also where he figured out that a beach trip = ice cream.
Perhaps some of my favorite memories from our excursion was the incredible freshness of every meal, spending the warm summer nights in the yard of our Airbnb rental drinking wine, or perhaps driving along the windy roads and sleepy towns scattered throughout the central areas of the island.
1. Western Ireland
Ireland will always hold a special place in my heart because it was my first trip ever outside of the U.S. I decided to go for a semester in college as a study abroad student when I was 19 and had been pining to go back ever since. I returned in 2016 to find it had the same charm and warmth I fell in love with 11 years prior.
Our trip was unlike many of the others we had taken with our Bambino before. Instead of remaining in one place for the duration of our stay, we split it up spending time on the coast of County Claire near the town of Lahinch and further north in Connemara. We set a more rigid “itinerary” if you want to call it that, and spent much more time in the car than we normally do.
But what we really did…
While Ireland has so many incredible vistas and hidden off-the-path enchantments, the reason why it’s number one on my list of favorite places visited with kids is… playgrounds!!
Haha, and I know it sounds ridiculous to have traveled so far just to spend your time at a playground but hear me out. Ireland has THE BEST playgrounds. Most of the ones we encountered were built in very large areas with many pieces of equipment I had never seen before. One thing, in particular, that seemed to be standard on most Irish playgrounds was a zip line. Because every mother is ok watching her baby go zooming past her attached to a chain.
Ireland set the standard for playgrounds. It was where I came to the realization that when your kids are small, vacations are just a series of playgrounds with a few scenic drives to fill the gaps in between playgrounds.
MUCH more to come on Ireland in the very near future. But for now, I will close by saying that Ireland was made for children. You will always find a smiling face and welcoming hearth, and always a pint or two along the way.
Thanks for reading!!I If you enjoyed this, make sure to share it with your friends. Here are a few others you may like:
- Children’s Travel Books to Inspire Wanderlust
- 4 Reasons Why I’m Raising my Kids Abroad
- First Time Traveling Abroad With Kids – A How-To Guide, Part 1
- 10 Things To Do With Kids in Western Crete
- 5 Easy Steps To Pack For a Stress-Free Family Vacation