I started blogging in 2008. It was also a way for friends and family members scattered around the United States to check in from time to time on our lives. When my family moved to Germany in 2010 my blog turned into a place to vent my frustrations about moving to a new country and culture. Then as we gradually adjusted to our situation I began to blog about our many travels.
We have always enjoyed traveling together as a family, but living in Europe afforded us the opportunity to see many amazing places in a short span of time. We have found that while the big cities are exciting, it is the smaller villages with local traditions that are what make a place unique and worthy of falling in love with.
We've learned that traveling in the off season really does have it's benefits. The weather may not be perfect, but you will run into fewer tourists and you will likely get better deals on accommodations and airfare which make a big difference when traveling with a family. It takes a few more layers and a bit more preparation, but the payoff can be worth it.
Traveling with children is not easy. Kids argue, they get bored and they have to use the toilet at the most inopportune times. I often hear from parents, "oh, I could never go there, my child would be bored" or "wow, your kids like museums?" Well, the answer is, NO, they don't especially like going all of the places I take them, but I also don't give them much choice. It does help though if I've done some prep work beforehand to familiarize them with where we are going. On the drive down to Scrovegni Chapel we watched a DVD that explained every panel in the small chapel. Knowing that the panels depicted stories from the Bible and Christ's life made it easier for my children to connect with the art. I asked my then 6 year old which was her favorite panel so that I could be sure to point it out to her the next day. You can imagine how excited I was when she, excitedly pointed it out to me instead.
It also helps to be realistic. There is no way my children are going to last more than about two hours in a museum, so when we visited the Louvre in Paris we went straight to the Egyptian rooms because that is what my daughters were interested in. I also like to play games...I spy a dog with a bird in his mouth, or how many horses do you find in the room. As the girls have gotten older I've had them prepare reports--their "pre-trip" involvement is key.
I travel with my children because I want to expose them to the things I enjoy; good art, ancient cultures, 2000 year old buildings, beautiful music and let's not forget good treats. Treats go a long way in extending the good mood of my children.
So, with this blog I will share places we've traveled, accommodations we've stayed in, restaurants we've eaten at, activities we've participated in and whether they've been "worth it." I hope our adventures will inspire you to create your own.