Why travelling with 3 kids adds up to so much more than “4 plus one more”
I absolutely love hearing and seeing how friends and strangers alike have taken their child with them on their adventures around the globe, continued with their travelling dreams, discovered new places together, overcome the adjustments that need to be made with small folk in tow and made some wonderful family memories. It’s what we love to do most too. But what happens when “child” becomes “children”? When toilet stops are desperately needed AND baby is simultaneously hollering for his feed?
There are certainly challenges that come from having more than one extra person to think about and bend to your ‘relaxed’ holiday schedule, but we could not foresee all of the challenges that would come from ‘just adding one more’ to our travelling family of four; after all it’s all economies of scale, right? How wrong could we be. See it’s a question of simple math (and I’m not just talking an extra plane ticket) when you become a party of five or more.
Here are our top five discoveries travelling as a family of five;
1. WALKING Two hands, three of them. Currently, the Ergo has been my saviour but once Master J becomes more mobile, I am basically screwed. Walking in daisy chains, an iron grip and a very loud voice are about the only tools you have left at your disposal if there’s only one parent trying to move from A to B with the kiddies. Don’t fool yourself with that ‘use a harness then‘ talk, any toddler worth their weight in biscuit crumbs can still easily make a run for it when your hands are full of siblings.
2. TAXIS Most taxis have five seats. Take out one for the driver, at least one will be missing a seat belt and the boot will have a gas tank leaving about enough room for two small vanity bags. Forget ‘we’ll just jump in a cab‘; look forward to a lifetime ahead of pre-booked mini vans, waiting in a queue for ‘one that can fit you all’ or the fallback solution of simply coughing up the dough for two cars.
3. HOTELS “I’m sorry but the maximum occupancy for this room is four people“. “But they’re only little; we don’t mind sharing for one night; they can top and tail”. “I’m sorry our policy is a maximum of four in this luxury size family suite you intentionally booked because it has two queen size beds and a sofa”. We have an infinite future ahead of either trying to blag our way through with the vast majority of major hotel chains and their policies or simply smuggling extras in once we have the key. Longer holidays are not so bad where you can book villas or apartments with enough beds for all but there are obviously occasions where you just need a night or two stop over in a hotel and you are provided with little alternative but to book two inter-connecting rooms – if available. I can hide one under my skirts for now but the rate my boys are growing this won’t work for much longer.
4. STROLLERS After a long day of trekking and exploring they are all tired, even the bigger ones – “I still only have little legs” Miss four-and-a-half frequently reminds me. We look like a travelling circus because we are one; a bundle of laughs, character and fun but we are only human and we cannot physically carry three plus at least one bag is always needed. We’re not out there to win compact traveller of the year awards, we simply always bring at least the double stroller plus a sling with us on every trip. Just make sure its the easy collapse variety for easily jumping in and out of other transport (think tuk-tuks, Disney car park shuttles). It’s extra baggage but one we never regret.
5. SLOW DOWN 3 little opinions to take into account; 3 toilet routines; 3 stomach schedules; 3 tired little legs. You might get lucky and have two want to eat or pee at the same time but don’t bank on it, count on making MULTIPLE stops for multiple reasons and not going anywhere particular fast. Just sit back and enjoy the journey!
Now don’t get hubby started about trying to find tables in restaurants…
How do you travel with your party of five or more? Feel free to post any photos too!