Joanna Anastasia

travelling

Why you should travel with kids- even if it seems difficult

“Remember that happiness is a way of travel – not a destination.” – Roy M. Goodman

Since our first daughter was born, six and a half years ago, we traveled as a family to Poland, Croatia, France, Barbados, and Cuba. We visited far regions of our province Quebec and while at times it was difficult, it was also something that I’ll never forget.

Because travelling with kids is being really present in the moment, it’s enjoying the unexpected and not planning too much. 

Of course, travelling with babies and toddlers isn’t for the weak: kids might sleep bad and whine half of the time. Sometimes the planned sightseeing attraction can turn out to be the-biggest-tantrum-trigger-ever, but then the unplanned stop to soothe a crying baby can turn out to be the most magical place on the way!

why you should travel with kids

why you should travel with kidswhy you should travel with kidswhy you should travel with kids

Traveling with kids is also a patience test : the time it takes to dress, the time it takes to get to the beach, the time it takes to look at all the rocks and flowers on the way.

But it also means that while traveling with kids, you see more details. And sometimes they’re so lovely, you’re happy you took time to slow down.

So if you’re still doubting if your family is ready to travel together, here are the reasons why I think you should give it a try:

  1. Family bonding.  While family bonding can happen anywhere, it’s during travel that families bond the most. Sharing new experiences with people around us leaves us with the feeling of closeness, and having more time together then usually, mixed with the lack of every-day responsibilities, results in stronger attachment and bonding!
  2. Natural learning.  Instead of teaching kids about other cultures, show them other cultures! They’ll remember much better the differences between renaissance and middle ages architecture if they’ll get a chance to see that architecture in person.
  3. Developing self esteem. Kids who travel and are put in new and challenging for them situations – such as ordering food in a new language, making new friends on the beach, helping with packing and travel organization – grow to feel competent and mentally strong.
  4. Language skills- we all know that learning a new language at home with a book is never as efficient and fun as being emerged in that language. And even if the trip lasts only a week, it can sparkle the motivation and curiosity needed to learn a new language!
  5. Making memories that will help in dark moments. We all have moments of self doubt, sadness and loneliness – even our kids. Having a bank of happy memories to look back at during these moments can help dealing with stress and anxiety.
  6. Time passing slower- with lots of things happening within one day, our brains get tricked in to experiencing time differently then during the day filled with repetitive every-day activities. When we travel we get to see so many new places, people and things that our brains are much more busy then usually with processing it all –  and in the end, we have an impression of the time passing slower, and our days happier then usually.

why you should travel with kidswhy you should travel with kids

 

why you should travel with kidswhy you should travel with kidswhy you should travel with kids

And in the end, I really believe that travelling kids is like depositing coins in their own bank of happiness- and ours too. Even if we’re traveling with a baby who won’t remember anything on a conscious level – they will take in the atmosphere of excitement, smiles of relaxed parents and sound of a new language. And I think that this is truly priceless.

why you should travel with kids

And if you’re wandering HOW to make travelling with kids easier, here are my best tips for traveling with a toddler, and here are my best tips for camping with kids! Also I’ll be sharing more of my tips and tricks for plane travel soon, so stay tuned!

if you're wandering if you're ready to travel with your kids- here's WHY you should and why you'll love it!

 

10 reasons to travel to Lower Silesia

10 reasons to visit Lower Silesia in Poland and why it's the perfect family vacation destination in Europe

While travelling with young kids isn’t for the weak of heart, it’s so worth it! Even if they might sleep bad and whine half of the time, the bonding that happens while out of the everyday routine is priceless!

And I deeply believe that traveling with kids is like deposing coins in their own bank of happiness!

Why you should visit Lower Silesia in Poland10 reasons to visit Lower Silesia with kids

10 reasons to travel to Lower Silesia

So this year I decided to take my girls to come and visit my home city, where I was born and raised, Wroclaw, in the region of Lower Silesia, in Poland. I seen it with a fresh perspective, and have visited it as a tourist with kids would. And here are my top ten reasons why you too should travel to this beautiful region, with kids

1.Kid friendly restaurants and coffee shops: One of the first things that I noticed upon arrival was the quantity of restaurants and pretty coffee shops with dedicated kids corners and changing stations. My girls would sit and play while I had my meal in peace! Almost every place we visited had a little corner full of toys and books! This alone makes vacation with kids so much easier!

2. Old city centre- AKA the Rynek; it’s the place of all the restos, coffee places, ice cream and lovely streets full of pretty stores. In the summer, it’s often filled with music, giant bubbles that kids can play with, fountains on every corner and street artists. Cars aren’t allowed there, so kids can run safely and parents an really relax!

Lower Silesia

reasons to visit Lower Silesia

3. Easy transport: If you’d stay in a hotel in the city centre then you can either walk everywhere, or take the public transport. Wroclaw has lots of pretty tramways and new low buses, so even with a stroller you can easily get everywhere. It’s very affordable, and kids travel for free! And since the public transport is much more developed there then here in Montreal, we never waited longer then 5 minutes on a tram stop!

4. Amazing ice cream! Forget the Italian gelato, and try the all natural, organic Polish ice cream! You can find them all around the city, and my favourite where the sweet cream and the lemon with parsley. So good, I already miss them!

5.The gnome hunt around the city: Wroclaw is know for it’s gnomes, and you can find over 100 of them around the old city centre: some are alone, some in couples, some eat pierogi and some play on instruments! My daughters loved running around Rynek and looking for them!

6.Fairy tale like castles surrounding Wroclaw, in Lower Silesia, like the picturesque Ksiaz castle, located only 40 min drive outside of Wroclaw!

Visit Lower Silesia10 reasons to travel to Lower Silesiareasons to visit Lower Silesia

7.Lots of parks and green spaces: everywhere we went, there was a fun park to stop by, and play.

8.Food truck festival and seasonal Markets: In the Rynek, during the winter and summer there’s a lovely market where you can buy authentic food and artisanal objects, and at the end of May we had a chance to visit a food truck market!

9. Great food that kids love: from all sorts of pierogi’s ( you need to try the strawberry pierogi!)  to polish gnocchi ( kluski) and soup served in bread, Polish food is particularly kid friendly! I was so happy to see my girls devouring every meal!

10. Activities for kids: We visited the impressive Zoo, and the huge park ( that looks like a forest) around the Hala Targowa ( don’t miss the huge fountain spectacle!). Unfortunately we didn’t have time to go on a boat ride around the city, nor to viit the Hydropoils museum, but for sure we’ll do this next time!

Visit Lower Silesia

Also, last but not the least, Wroclaw is the night life city of the region, with countless bars and clubs, and the food scene is particularly strong, with the big popularity of fresh and organic based meals. Plus, everyone speaks English! No wander it’s a weekend travel destination for many Europeans looking for a fun and colorful place to visit!

visit lower Silesia

reasons to visit Lower Silesialower silesia

So, next time you’re planing a trip to Europe, don’t miss the Lower Silesia region of Poland, as I’m sure you’ll love it as much as I do! 

visit lower Silesia

How to travel with a toddler

Best tried and tested tips and tricks for travelling with toddlers- how to get organized and have fun!

When we first travelled overseas with our daughter Lili, she was almost two years old – 21 months to be exact. We went to visit my family in Poland, we stopped by Paris to see our friends, and we went to Croatia for a week.

Honestly I imagined it would be extremely difficult, and I anticipated that we would be managing tantrums on the plane, struggling to put her to sleep in the hotel and generally dealing with her out of balance behaviour. But there where no tantrums on the planes – and we took 5- nor buses nor boat. She was easy. Surprisingly easy, and happy.

And here are the five strategies that helped us travel :

1. Sticking to routine :
Yes, even on vacation, going from one place to another, sightseeing and visiting family and friends we stuck to our normal routine.

Lunch at her usual time, whenever we where, and nap just after lunch: in the hotel room, on the bus, in the stroller, or on the plane. What was important , was to give her a clear sign that now she can relax, drink her milk, cuddle her favourite toy and sleep.

Then diner at her usual time. And bath ( or shower) followed by night time just like at home.
Sure we didn’t go much at night, and where a bit less spontaneous then usual on vacation, but in the end we had an easygoing, happy and relaxed toddler, so I think sticking to routine was really worth it.

2. Carrying toys around :
We where always carrying around her little backpack with crayons, puzzles, Elmo colouring pages and little dollar store toys and stickers, so she would be patient at the table in the restaurant.

We never let her play with these stuff outside the restaurants or plane so she always fund them interesting. If you would like to get some Sesame Street colouring pages for free, you can get them here : http://pbskids.org/sesame/art/

3. Dealing without changing tables and high chairs:
Although places we went where generally children friendly, a lot of times there where no high chairs or changing tables. So we carried only the slip-on dippers, to facilitate the changing process.

And to deal with a lack of high chairs I asked my aunt to make me a slip on carry-on chair slip cover (you can also find them in Etsy), that we would use all the time to keep her attached to normal chair. Coupled with these giant, genus IKEA bibs :http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/70179754/ that cover everything, meal time was easy, no fuss and no mess.

4. Finding time to run and play:
After time spend attached, or sitting on the plane/bus/stroller we always give her time to run and play, either on a playground, beach or just by simply finding safe pedestrian streets or squares and telling her to run. One of us would be then running with her till she had no more energy.

5. Medicaments :
Just in case, I had some stuff for temperature, diarrhea, and cough. It made me feel safe. But what really helped us was the medicament for sea sickness: Gravol for kids, so every time we would be taking a longer drive in the bus/car or on the boat she would get some, and then not only there was no stress of her vomiting all over the place, but she would also had a nice long nap.