Go, See, Travel | Take the Trip — Traveling with School Aged Kids

I have always intensely disliked traveling… all of it. Planning, packing, the actual traveling (gawwwd don’t get me started on this part!), being away from home, the pressure to make the most of the time away even when you’re exhausted…and did I mention the traveling…

Take the trip, they say.

In that spirit, my husband and I offered our kids the option to choose an experience over gifts for Christmas. They chose an experience! Shortly thereafter, Hubs and I decided that we would go to an all-inclusive resort over spring break, mainly because we wanted a vacation where WE had a vacation from doing any of the normal food tasks for our hungry children!

I loved watching them experience the ocean and all it offers for the first time!

Here are some takeaways from traveling with my big(ger) kids!

1. Big kids still have attitudes on vacation.

They didn’t experience a change in personality like I hoped – you know, being super grateful each and every second for the awesome trip, they got to take (I know, I know – those unrealistic expectations are on me!). They were still impatient with traveling, jerks to each other at times, jerks to me at times, and whiny about not getting what they wanted. One member of my trio has a near-constant need to be onto the next fun thing, which is frustrating to manage when we’re in paradise and trying to keep it low-key.

2. Big kids still have needs on vacation.

Sure, we didn’t have to feed them (phew!). But there were things I didn’t exactly anticipate. Applying sunscreen every 90-120 minutes on 3 humans, fielding 452 requests to go to the bathroom/the bar to get virgin strawberry daiquiris/requests for our attention to watch jumps and flips into the pool, oooh and ahhh over shells they found, etc. Don’t get me wrong – some of this I love (I’ll judge contests in the pool for longer than most!), but it can also be a lot when you’re trying to soak up the sun and a good story next to the pool.

3. Big kids have some ability to gain perspective while away from home.

A couple of days in, I started hearing things like, “I miss my bed” and “It will be so nice to have some privacy again.” I loved that our time away from home brought some gratitude for those simple, basic creature comforts that we get to enjoy every day and take for granted.

4. Traveling with big kids gave me back some of the childhood magic.

As my kids have aged, it’s felt like we’ve lost so much magic – all of the firsts I’ve experienced with them in the first few years of their lives. Traveling gave us so many firsts and new things to experience with them. Remember the dozens of requests for virgin daiquiris? Seeing their faces light up when they first tried them was magical. And watching their first enthusiastic trips into the ocean – I’ll never forget it.

5. Traveling has increased their confidence in themselves and aided in building my confidence in them.

After the first dozen requests for virgin daiquiris, we started to allow them to go up to request them alone. As they built confidence and we built a sense of trust and safety, they were allowed to go to the bathroom alone, run back to the room for something quick, etc. These are life skills – being able to navigate new situations, find their way, and ask people other than us for what they need.

I won’t be hopping on a plane again anytime soon. Still, overall, our experience traveling with our big kids was a pretty darn good and much more enjoyable than previous travels at younger ages and stages. They are at the BEST ages for having genuine conversations, and they are so FUN. I enjoyed hearing their observations about the world around them, and it was great to see their faces light up when they were experiencing new things.

So, dare I say…take the trip.

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