Setting the Right Expectations When Traveling with Kids

Have you ever heard the expression “life is what you make it?” Well, remember that phrase next time you’ll be traveling with your kiddos.

Life with kids is full to the brim with fun, joy and laughter….but we all know that there are plenty of challenges and hardships we have to deal with along the way too.

Traveling with kids is no different, but I’ve talked to many parents who avoid traveling with kids because it doesn’t feel doable or “worth it” to them.

If you fall into that camp, I challenge you to shift your perspective and reframe your expectations so you don’t miss out on awesome opportunities to create memories as a family! 

Here are a few practical ways to set appropriate expectations when traveling with your kids:

1. Remember it won’t be like it was pre-kids

Don’t expect your next vacation to be like vacations before you had your kids. That’s just setting yourself up for disappointment!

Travel happens differently with kids in tow – and that’s ok! If you go in with that understanding, you’ll have won half the battle already.

2. Choose what you’re willing to sacrifice – and what you aren’t

Taking the time to figure out what really matters to you will help so much when it comes time to plan your trip with kids.

If you’re used to eating out for every meal when you travel, but you foresee that being too challenging with kids, ask yourself if you’re willing to sacrifice a few meals out for the greater good.

3. Prepare in advance for what matters most to you

Once you know the things that are your non-negotiables, make sure to cover all your bases in making the appropriate preparations.

If getting good sleep and not having to all be in one room is really important to you, choose to stay somewhere with a separate sleeping area for the kids.

If having certain gear will make your trip easier, but you don’t want to have to pack and lug it around the whole trip, look into renting that gear through The Sharing Exchange.

4. Understand everyone won’t be happy all the time – and that’s ok!

I strongly encourage you to ditch the fairy tale visions of a perfect family vacation where everyone is smiling, and laughing, and having a blast, with no problems whatsoever.

Kids (and parents!) get tired, cranky, frustrated, etc and if you go into your trip expecting that, you’ll be better prepared to roll with it when it happens.

5. Expect the unexpected

No matter how well you plan, life always has a way of throwing curveballs at us. This will happen whether you’re traveling or not!

Encountering the unexpected is all about how you respond, and what better way to teach your kids how to be adaptable, approach challenges with a positive attitude and creatively problem solve than by modeling it yourself?!

Remember, it is totally possible to travel with your kids and enjoy the experience, as long as you go into it with appropriate expectations.