Anyway, to celebrate my kids' birthdays, here is a list of 10 things my kids have taught me about travel:
- Airplane bathrooms are not too small for one person. They might, however, be too small for three people, especially if one of them is a baby using the change table.
- Lineups for security are not boring. They can be harrowing, entertaining, nerve-wracking, hilarious, or nightmarish, but never really boring.
- Planning what to do on holidays is overrated. Going to the park and hanging out at the playground, or even better: heading to the beach with a set of buckets, shovels, and a packed lunch is the way to go.
- Fancy restaurants might have good food, but nothing beats eating in. The best dinners on holidays are when we buy a bunch of food at the local grocery store, and then cook or barbecue it at our rental apartment (beats a hotel room usually), rather than having a meal at a fancy restaurant. Takeout pizza with cold beer for parents and chilled apple juice for the kids works well too.
- Always pack a bathing suit for everyone. If there's a pool at the hotel or down the street where you're staying, that's some perfect kid-friendly entertainment right there. And if it's warm enough outside and there's a beach (lake, river, or ocean), or why not an outdoor pool, then that's even better.
- You can never have too many zip-loc bags. Seriously, they can be used for everything: putting liquids in for a flight, stuffing garbage in, holding wet clothes (spills and accidents do happen), separating currencies when traveling to other countries, keeping important travel documents safe from scrunching and disappearing in a carry-on... the list goes on.
- Luggage carousels, and any kind of conveyor belt at an airport, are utterly fascinating. Seriously, I think the whole thing looks like a carnival ride to my kids.
- The perfect airport hang-out is not a lounge. It's sitting at a table and having a snack while using a sticker book, and looking out at the planes and trucks on the tarmac. With bathrooms right nearby.
- Check your kids' carry-on before leaving home, AKA: dinosaurs are allowed on flights. Even if it's a huge, plastic triceratops with really, really sharp horns.
- Patience is a virtue, and so is a sense of humour. Both are definitely necessary when traveling with kids.