Archive for the ‘Traveling With Kids’ Category
Monday, May 6th, 2013
I’ve found that there are two types of people—those who camp, and those who don’t. It’s one of those things you’re either hot or cold about. Not a lot of wafflers out there.
Our last camping experience was horrible. The air mattress leaked, one of the kids had an accident, and the kids kept rolling on top of me. Thanks to the faulty air mattress, we became a sweaty heap. As the sun rose, Dave and I looked at each other and said, “We’re checking into a hotel.” And we did.
For years, Dave and I have talked about embarking on a camping road trip. But this time, we’d ditch the tents. Our vision involves a modern airstream and off-the-grid camping. Romantic, right? The problem is we haven’t found a place to rent the type of camper we’d love.
Then a friend told me about (more…)
Wednesday, May 1st, 2013
photo: Jan Kucic
I know it’s strange to write a Traveling With Kids column about traveling without kids but it’s something that we have been doing since we became parents and that has become an important family tradition that everyone looks forward to and benefits from. My husband and I have managed to organise trips away together, alone, at least once a year since our twin daughters were born 11 years ago. Sometimes for a day or two and a few times we even managed a whole week.
When my husband first pitched the idea to have a get-away without kids I was absolutely and wholly against the idea. It actually terrified me and kept me up at night just thinking about it. But after a little (okay a lot) of convincing, coercion and a bit of bribery from my husband and our two families I finally gave in. And I’m so glad I did. These little mini-vacations sans-enfants have been beneficial in so many ways. They’ve helped my husband and I stay connected as a couple, slowly and gently given the kids some independence and given the grandparents (or aunts/uncles/friends) some quality time with the kids without the ever controlling eye of “la mama” around.
For me, traveling without kids in the early years was primarily about getting some rest from the physical and mental exhaustion that comes with having little babies and toddlers. I remember once accompanying my husband on a work trip and I literally spent 4 days in my hotel room in bed napping, watching mindless television and ordering room service. I actually don’t even remember what country or city we were in but it was absolute bliss in every way possible. I think parents with kids of any age return from these trips refreshed, full of energy and with a calm mental state that just makes family life run smoother and feel a little bit happier. (more…)
Thursday, April 18th, 2013
photography by Dave Cooper
Hey all, Jen here. I’m hijacking Jillian’s column this week with a column about things to see/eat/do in Washington DC. I’ve asked three of my DC friends—Ania, Clare and Anabel—to give us a tour of the District. They know the District best and I love the idea of getting the inside scoop you won’t find in a guidebook.
Wednesday, March 27th, 2013
As you may know from my last Traveling With Kids column, my family and I went on a little trip to Morocco last month. It was a lovely vacation that gave us all a much needed mid-winter energy boost.
After visiting the Atlas Mountains we decided to book a few days in Marrakesh in order to get a taste of Moroccan city life. I have to admit that after our calm and relaxing time in the countryside we were all a bit in shock when we arrived at the busy and chaotic Djemaa El-Fna square located in the city’s Medina.
The Medina is the old fortified historic district of the city and Djemaa El-Fna is its central hub of activity (from early morning until late in the evening). As we walked around the famous square that first day we saw various snake charmers, monkeys wearing red velvet suits, men selling used dentures, South African music troupes and food stalls offering everything from stewed snails to typical Moroccan sweets and dried fruit. Not to mention the locals buzzing around in every direction on scooters and bicycles, the donkeys pulling carts and tourists aimlessly wandering around in a state of awe.
Off this square you can get lost in the maze of souks where you can haggle and buy anything from leather bags and slippers to antique jewellery to every spice you could ever imagine. Outside the souks you can wander around the narrow (confusing!) streets of the Medina catching glimpses of the locals everyday life. If you want to see the more modern side of Marrakesh you simply have to leave the walled city and visit the more “western” neighbourhoods such as Gueliz and Hivernage (where there is even a McDonalds). (more…)
Monday, March 11th, 2013
The weather is warming up so I thought it’d be fun to break out this super cute and fun idea from the archives. I love it because it incorporates art, play and travel—three of our favorite things. Oh! And here’s a bonus idea: Pick one of our Traveling with Kids posts. Start by reading it to the kids (my kids love ‘em!). It should inspire some interesting drawings and conversations.
If you’re going all out—say for a lesson plan, party or play date—you could even include snacks from on the region. Have fun with it…
A new season arrives and it’s rife with adventure. Four friends fueled by their imagination gather in the backyard and embark on a sightseeing adventure. For your child’s next playdate, gather some easy-to-find materials for an imaginary plane ride to anywhere.
1. Supply each child with a 10” by 14” piece of paper, a cardboard suitcase template and some blank stickers made from pre-cut sticker paper. You can find blank sticker paper at most office supply stores. (more…)
Thursday, March 7th, 2013
A few days ago we arrived home from an amazing trip to Morocco in North Africa. I fell in love with Morocco many years ago when I was a backpacking 20 year old and I have been looking forward to the day I could return with my family.
Morocco is a country full of vivid colours, warm and friendly people, aromatic and earthy smells and tastes and a culture that is so unique and different to the one we live in.
We spent a little less than a week in the warm North African sun and the rest of my family has fallen in love with Morocco just like I did years ago. My kids have already informed us that they want to return to Morocco for our February breaks from now on. Guess we better start the Morocco fund for 2014 now.
Thursday, February 7th, 2013
A few years ago we decided to go to Berlin for a 4 day “city trip”. The kids were four and six years old and we weren’t quite sure how they’d manage a trip that involved subways, lots of walking on pavement and people and traffic everywhere (remember we live in rural Italy in a town of 3000 people).
In the end it was a huge success. Being in a big city was something new and exciting for our little country bumpkins and we made sure to schedule lots of kid-friendly activities in between the museum and monument visiting. (more…)
Thursday, January 24th, 2013
Over the last 6 months I’ve had so much fun writing these travel columns. I’ve shared our travel experiences from Japan, Quebec, Holland, China and Belgium. I wrote about our night sleeping in a barn with goats in Switzerland. I also wrote about culturally preparing our kids before a trip, house swaps, travel disasters, packing for a flight and keeping traveling as affordable as possible.
But considering this column is called Traveling With Kids I thought it was time to talk to actual kids about their experiences and views on traveling. My kids to be exact. When I approached my three children and explained about the interview they were all really excited. I’ll admit it was a bit difficult at the beginning to get past the one word answers but as soon as they were comfortable and knew what it was all about some really great stories and observations came out. My son Nico sort of wandered off every now and then during the interview so he didn’t end up answering all the questions. But the ones he did make me giggle. It’s fun to hear the things they remember about a trip and how different they are than our memories. Kids are funny little being sometimes. And I’m sure you’ll be able to tell from this interview who my picky eater is.
Do you like to travel?
Nico: Oh yes! I love going on the airplane so much. You each get your own television and on our way to Japan we watched movies for 14 hours straight. Mama slept most of the time, papa read books and we didn’t even turn off our screens!
Chloe: I love to travel because we get to visit new countries and cultures. That’s fun because you get to see how people live so differently than us.
Eva: Me too, I love to travel. I love to see new places, learn new languages and try all sorts of new foods.
What’s your favourite part of traveling?
Chloe: My favourite part is visiting friends, museums, temples and parks. I love making new friends in different countries too.
Eva: The food! And seeing how people live and dress differently from us. In Japan I saw women who dressed up as dolls! I think they were called Harajuku girls.
What’s your least favourite part about traveling? (more…)