This weeks interview is brought to you by great trio of Canadian bloggers – The Traveling Canucks, and their spin off blog Tips For Baby Travel! I have been following their blog for a long time and am very excited to feature them here. Follow their adventures on facebook, twitter, or google +.
What was your travel style like before you had children?
Our travel style has changed greatly over the past year. Before we had Baby B we rarely had a hotel booked before arriving into a new city. We typically did adventure activities or sightseeing in the day, followed by a pub or patio session sampling beer. We rarely worried about the time and were very flexible with our schedule and itinerary.
What ages were your children when you started travelling with them?
Our first plane ride with Baby B was when he was 3 months old. We went to Palm Springs. It was the perfect opportunity to test him on a plane since it was only a short 3 hour flight from Vancouver and we were visiting family.
Why did you decide that exposing your children to travel was important?
As children, both Cameron and I traveled with our families and we have very fond memories of those trips. Exposing Baby B to the world is very important to us. We want him to grow up understanding cultures and experience different ways of life. We want him to dream big and know anything is possible. You can only learn so much from your everyday surroundings, so it’s important that we push our comfort zone and grow together as a family.
What is your travel style now that you travel with children? How did it change from before you were a parent?
Our travel style has greatly changed since having Baby B. We now have to consider every detail. We even make a conscious effort to plan flights and train trips based on his nap schedule. We always have our hotels booked prior to visiting (this is new) and we now only plan about one activity per day (and it’s typically between nap times). Basically, we move a little slower now. It’s actually been a refreshing change of pace and we know it’s only a matter of time before Baby B is running around and wanting to go to amusement parks.
What has been the most difficult thing about travelling with children?
Baby B’s bed time. His evening routine starts at 5pm and he’s in bed by 7pm. We have tried to push it back but it often leads to a cranky baby (which is no fun for anyone). This makes traveling difficult because we normally share a hotel room with Baby B. He’s a light sleeper, so after his bedtime (7:00PM) we can’t make any noise in the room. Of course, this means we no longer have late dinners or visits to the pub. Instead, we try to book hotels with a patio or balcony so we can enjoy a drink or two while Baby B sleeps. It’s all about compromise!
What has been the most rewarding part of travelling with children?
Watching Baby B grow, explore and smile. We’ve enjoyed taking pictures of him in different parts of the world. He’s too young to remember these trips, but we believe it’s having a positive effect on him – we just can’t see yet. We’re at that stage where everything is a first with him – first train ride, first boat trip, and first sporting event. It’s been a fun journey and it’s only just begun!
What is your favourite travel memory of travelling as a family?
We recently went on a month long trip to Europe. We had a train pass so we traveled around Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and France. We also took him to see his distant relatives in rural Germany, so it was very special to introduce him to his Great Oma and Opa.
What tips would you offer parents when it comes to travel with children?
The one tip that we like to offer newbie parents traveling with children is to travel slower, especially at the start of each trip. For the first couple of days after arriving to your destination, plan to do nothing. Give everyone time to adjust to the new time change and surroundings. If you have nothing planned for the first couple days then you won’t be disappointed if things don’t go according to plan. And if everyone is feeling good, you will be pleased that you accomplished more than you had anticipated.
Are there certain destination or holiday types you would recommend for parents travelling with children?
No, we don’t think that there is any type of travel which is better. Each family knows what works best for them and we suggest you stick to it. For us, Baby B has never been a good sleeper. He’s not great at napping on the go and he gets cranky if he doesn’t sleep well. Therefore, our plans always revolve around his naps and bedtime. By doing this, we have a happy baby and thus, happy parents.
And finally – what are you upcoming travel plans?
Our next trip is to the beautiful beaches of Mexico. We plan to spend a couple weeks exploring the Mayan Riviera this January. There are two reasons for this trip, Cameron is the best man at a friend’s wedding and it will be our 5-year wedding anniversary. In February 2008 we were married in the Mayan Riviera, with 40 friends and family. We are very excited to be in the same area exactly 5 years later, so we’ll revisit the same resort and celebrate our anniversary with our little man. It’s amazing how much has changed in five years!