If you’ve been following my blog for a while now, you know my husband and I have traveled extensively with our kids. I’ll be the first person to say traveling with kids isn’t easy. Between all the errands and packing, act of keeping them happy en route, challenges with time changes and overall cost, I know it is work. Especially when traveling with little kids, it often feels more like a “trip” than a “vacation”. However, I can tell you this: go on vacation with kids. It is worth the work for so many reasons.
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As you can tell, our latest adventure was to Hawaii. We just got back on Monday after spending a week on the Big Island. I’m still working on a blog post detailing our adventures, but I couldn’t resist sharing the family photos we had taken while we were there. I mean, just look at those faces! It has been two years since we’ve had family photos taken so it was time to capture some special moments while we were on the island.
Family outfit details: Me: pink maxi dress, earrings. Kenzie: tassel dress, sandals. Carter: Crewcuts button down (similar here and here), shorts, boat shoes. Kurt: J. Crew shirt (similar here), shorts, Sperrys
Back when Carter was a tiny little one year old, we hired a photographer on the island of Maui to remember our little man on his first birthday. They turned out beautifully and since then, we’ve always done family pics while on vacation. We did them a couple years ago in Bali and attempted to do the same in Morocco last year, but struggled to find a photographer. Therefore, I was bound and determined to find a way to do family photos in Hawaii. Laura at Life and Light Hawaii made my family photo dreams come true.
Here’s the thing about family photos on vacation. They document the memories in the best way possible. The sandy feet, the crazy curly hair, the smiles that you might not see in quite the same way at home. On vacation, even if it is work to make it happen, there is a special excitement about being somewhere different. I’ll never forget how it rained like crazy for the first two days of vacation, but it brightened up for an hour so we could squeeze in our photo shoot (it started raining as soon as we pulled out of the parking lot). I’ll never forget about the brewery we stopped at after leaving the photo shoot, or how it was bright and sunny the following day. These photos are the best souvenirs I could buy, and they don’t take up physical room in my suitcase (total win for an over-packer like me).
But the thing about vacations with kids – it isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. However, in all the trips we’ve taken, I don’t regret going on a single one of them. Were there moments where I questioned my sanity? Of course. I can still hear Kenzie screaming her head off on the flight home from Hong Kong a few years back. But in my opinion, going somewhere is always worth the effort (and possible tears).
In fact, on this vacation, there were many, many moments where I can truly say it was a vacation. There was a good hour where my husband and I sat on beach chairs and watched our kids happily play together in the sand. I know that’s a product of them getting older, but it gives me confidence to plan the next one. That’s the exact way I felt after traveling with them overseas. I can’t tell you how many people ask me questions about traveling with kids. I always tell them to just go and roll with the punches.
Cost aside, I do think traveling with kids is a conscious choice. It is easy to fear the airlines or get stuck in the day to day rut. When I found out I was pregnant with Carter, Kurt and I decided we weren’t going to let kids slow us down. Our list of travel needs has definitely evolved, but we’ve done our best to continue living our lives like we did before we were parents. I’ll fully admit, it helps that my hubby is addicted to reading travel blogs, finding airline deals, and earning points and miles through his business trips. As a result, we’ve taken our kids to some cool places (5 continents and counting), introduced them to new foods and shown them it is possible to go anywhere. Even if it is a little bit of work, that makes it all worthwhile to me.
Whether you decide to take kids to a local state park for a weekend or fly half-way around the world, you are making memories together as a family. Spending time together in ways you might not do as a part of the normal routine. Taking a break from work to do something fun. You are showing your kids the world first-hand and opening their eyes up to different people and places. To me, that is one of the biggest life lessons I want to teach my kids – the world is much, much larger than Phoenix, Arizona. I promise, it is easier (and way more fun) to do it together as a family. And if you are worried they won’t remember it, hire a photographer. Not only will your walls be filled with gorgeous photos from your adventures, but you’ll be happy you have pictures to show your kids when they get older.
And with that, I’ll leave you with way too many photos from our most recent trip. I narrowed it down from the 90 AMAZING photos Laura gave me to my top 30. And man, doing that was hard because I love them all. I mean, does it get much cuter than this:
What do you think? Is traveling with kids more like a trip or a vacation? Have I convinced you to go ahead and book your next adventure?