Holidaying with Kids

"It always look fun in the photos"

"It always look fun in the photos"

My mum and I were just talking about the Google guy and his multi-billion dollar fortune.  We were discussing the impact that having that sort of money would have on your state of mind.  What sort of goals would you set yourself (you wouldn’t need to save for anything and you could get first class training in anything you wanted to learn)?  How much would it impact the things that money can’t buy…like love and contentment?  What we would spend it on?  Travel - that’s what I’d spend my money on.  Traveling the world and experiencing as many different cultures as possible.   I’ve got to admit, that’s probably the only thing I really wish we’d done more of before having kids.

Holidaying with kids is a whole different kettle of fish.  We took our first son to Bali with us – twice.   The first time went pretty well – the Balinese love little babies!  The hardest part was packing.  We survived on carry-on luggage whilst he required two full sized suitcases to accommodate nappies, formula, shelf stable foods, and about 35 spew rags and clothing changes. 

The second time we went back I was pregnant with my second child.  Looking back I do wonder if I was not actually temporarily insane at that point in time. Well, if I wasn’t then, I can tell you that by day three of the ‘holiday’ I certainly was. 

My son was (still is) a terrible sleeper, so we were up half the night, then from the crack of dawn trying to keep him quiet (impossible) in a hotel with adjoining walls.  Every outing had to be timed to coincide with his sleep times, which meant by the time everyone else woke up, we’d walk down the street only have to start heading back to the hotel again.  He was walking...Bali streets… need I say more?  He got really sick with a fever two nights in…resulting in ear syringing, strange medication, and one million rupiah less in our pocket.  Two days later he runs full pelt into the ocean and gets slammed by a wave landing us back in hospital.  The next day he tried his hand at concussion, slipping and slamming his head on the concrete floor.  He got eaten alive by mosquitoes despite every effort to protect him.  He wouldn’t eat the food, he wouldn’t sit still in the restaurants and whenever we tried to let him run free he’d take off full speed in the opposite direction.  It was a nightmare – made worse by the fact that I was painfully sober, pregnant, hot and (put honestly) FREAKING OUT!  We returned home to wind up in PMH a week later with our son being tested for malaria. 

At that point I vowed never to travel with children under the age of about 8 years old EVER again.

Consequently my husband and I haven’t been on a proper holiday together for a long time…so when the opportunity to travel over east for a few days presented itself recently, my husband and I were just a little excited!  Our wonderful family has offered to look after our babies for us so that we can get away for an extended weekend.   Imagine, dinners at restaurants – on our time (not at 5pm) and at our choice (not HJs or a child-friendly venue).  Imagine actually being able to eat your food whilst it’s hot, talk to each other (rather than the constant diatribe “sit still, just a minute, I’m just cutting it up for you, it’s a bit hot, it won’t be long, don’t touch that, sit down, put that back, leave your brother alone, get that out of your ear!”).  Imagine being out after dark, strolling down the street, contemplating a casino visit, or a late night cuppa.  Oh, and shopping, markets, tram rides, theatre shows, SLEEP-INS…yep, this is sounding like heaven!

I really wish I could be all Angelina Jolie and travel the universe with my boys…but I think it is just going to have to wait (until I win the lottery and can afford private jets and live in nannies) or at least until they are a little older!  In the meantime, let’s hope this getaway is a success so that we can get our little travel fix every once in a while!

What have your travel experiences been like?