Happy New Year from beautiful Naples, Florida! This past year sped by at what seems lightning speed, I’m having a hard time accepting we’re already into 2018. But as with every New Year, I’m ready to start afresh and put all those resolutions to work. Lord knows I have many of them (that will probably never get resolved)!
The New Year is no doubt a time of reflection. When I think about our travels in 2017 a few things pop into mind – things that reflect changing times for us as a family, things I thought might be interesting to share with you all.
Firstly, one of the main things I’ve taken note of is the fact that my girls are growing up to be big girls, and how that’s affected our travels. We are going to more sophisticated places and doing more sophisticated things now, which is…refreshing, and fun.
When I started this blog, I of course decided to do it out of my love for travel. That’s first and foremost. But, speaking honestly, I also started it out of the need to get out of the house with the little ones. Let’s face it – being cooped up inside with the kids can get boring. I’m an active person and not someone who likes to hang around the house all day (except for those cold and cozy winter days). I get ancy. Young kids can seriously put a damper on that! So, we started going on more and more excursions simply to entertain the kids, as we only have so much patience to entertain them ourselves.
That turned into us wanting to show our girls more and more of what’s out there in the world, and realizing that we were more capable of doing more adventures and exploring than we thought. Thus, came the birth of fifi + hop. I wanted to help and inspire other families out there in my same shoes and show them that travel can still happen, just with some tweaking and alterations.
Aquarium visits, museums, nature preserves, etc. became the norm for weekends. Beach and pool vacations became the norm for holiday trips. As the girls grew, that morphed into us planning more and more trips where the destination was a place we really wanted to go to, not just a place that we knew the kids would love.
Flash forward to now, we’re pretty much going wherever we desire – with some exceptions of course – yet without the anxiety of “how will the kids fare”? A big part of that is due to the walking – the girls are at an age now where they can walk for miles without complaining. The year 2017 was a pivotal point in regards to that. Our youngest, age 7 for most of the year (she recently turned 8) could walk for much longer periods than in years past. That was huge.
Additionally, our girls now being 10 and 8, they want to do many things we want to do, go to restaurants we want to go to. Don’t get me wrong, we still do PLENTY of kids-oriented activities, but some of the more adult things, such as hiking down a strenuous, steep trail to a secluded beach in Mallorca, they’re into as well.
Mallorca is a good example of how our travels have changed. Or I should say, Western Mallorca is a good example. We visited the mountains in Western Mallorca this past summer, and while it was an incredible trip and one I would recommend to anyone, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to my earlier self 5 years ago. Not the mountaineous part of the island at least. The hills and driving – while spectacular – would have been much more difficult with toddlers. We would not have fared well in the hike we did! The girls would have gotten car sick with all those turns, and in general it wouldn’t have been nearly as relaxing of a trip. And who doesn’t go to Mallorca to relax?!
Another example from this past year is our trip to New Orleans. Yes, Nola is kid-friendly! But would I have really wanted to take my kids when they were babies or young toddlers? No! Not for me at least. Of course people do it, and there are many kid-oriented activities as I talk about in my post New Orleans with Kids, but the girls being that much older this year really made our trip that much more enjoyable. Drinking is a big part of the Nola culture, and it would have been no fun to have to wake up at the crack with very young kids. That’s my view anyway.
Our weekend visit to Philadelphia is another example. Philly is one of the most family-friendly cities in the United States so I don’t want to discourage anyone from going, but I’m glad we waited until the girls were the ages they were, because they could learn and process all that Philly stands for in regards to U.S. history. That’s a major reason why families like to visit the city, so for us why would we take the girls before they could understand the importance of such a significant city? Actually, we did once when our oldest was a baby, but that was for a wedding, and we barely had time to explore around!
Those are just some examples from 2017 of how our travels have changed, as they do with any growing family. As I write this post, I realize a major theme running here is to not feel rushed with your travels. There are different stages for different ages, and you want to make sure you enjoy your trip, and that your kids do too. It’s ok to wait, or hold out for a certain place.
Also, every family is different. Some people can’t believe we took our kids to Venice and Florence starting at the age of 3 for our youngest, while others visited earlier than we did, with their babies. Do what’s right for your family. Travel is not about ticking off the list, it’s about enjoying another culture immensely, and the thrill of experience and discovery. Do it on your own terms!
And those are my reflections, insights, whatever you want to call them, for our year of 2017 travel. I didn’t want to go through everything we did and every place we visited, but simply share what I learned from our year.
I hope 2018 brings everyone much health, happiness, and as I always like to throw in – a good dose of laughter!
This post is part of Faraway Files
Beautiful post! Funny about the walking because my daughter who is 6 at the last minute before we left for San Francisco I ran to target to buy her a stroller. It was more enjoyable for all of us that way!!!! For places like Philly we went when the kids were little and did all the kiddie things but now I want to go back to do more history stuff!
Philly’s awesome for the history stuff – your kids will love it! I’m sure with all those hills in SF a stroller came pretty handy!
Lovely post! I know what you mean about the kids being able to or wanting to do more as they get older! It’s so nice isn’t it!! Happy New Year!
Yes, very nice! More relaxing. Happy New Year!!
I bet you loved the west coast of Mallorca, it’s so pretty isn’t it. I find travel so much easier now the kids are older (15,13,9) and I love the perspective kids bring – adults often miss the things that the kids see.
That’s a good point – kids really do add a whole new perspective on things!
It’s amazing how our travels evolve with time as we grow more experienced and want to try new things! It’s been fun to journey with your through your travels! I especially loved your NOLA series and western Mallorca post! Happy New Year!! #FarawayFiles
Thanks so much Lori – I’ve loved reading all about your travels too. Happy New Year! x
Interesting reading your insight for how travel has evolved for your family as the kids have grown – my boys are just 2 and 4. I certainly look forward to when they can hike long distances! #farawayfiles
It just gets easier and easier..until I guess the teenage years, which I’m getting a lot of comments is not easy! Go figure.
Roll on those teenage years… 😉
I love this Corey! I’m really noticing a difference in the way we travel as our kids get older too.What is fascinating is the places they really connect with. Ours both fell in love with Paris and squeal with delight when they see pictures of the Eiffel Tower. Cant wait to explore the world more with them and to hear all about your family travels too! #FarawayFiles
My girls are dying to go to the Eiffel Tower! It’s so much fun traveling with kids and especially showing them places that are meaningful to you.
I can’t wait to see how our travel changes as our little one grows, exciting stuff #FarawayFiles
It is always evolving I suppose!
These are some good insights. I like that you mentioned to travel on your own terms. Every family is different. We have two kids under five and the main difference for us between traveling before kids and traveling with kids is the pace. Before we could pack in so much and now we have to pick just a few things we really want to do in a location and just do those things thoroughly. We don’t really wait to take the kids to certain locations because of their ages and they’ve learned to adapt and find something they enjoy at every place we go to. And there has never been a place we’ve gone where I’ve thought, “I wish we waited to take the kids.” Even if our trips end up being much different than I expect, we’ve always had an enjoyable time. #farawayfiles
There’s not many places where I said I wish we had waited either, except places where we’ve been that I’m glad we waited – if that makes sense! I’m really glad we waited on New Orleans, but each to their own.
I loved when the kids became not-so-littles and we could do more and see more! It was such an amazing turning point. Now that I have two teens and a tween, their independence and expertise is growing and I’m not allowed to dictate, orchestrate or otherwise coerce the group into something that I would like to do. Travel becomes a true compromise to find places, activities and plans that appease everyone. Even mom! Don’t get me wrong, I love traveling with teens. They offer a perspective on thing that I wouldn’t get and for that I am grateful! Happy New Years Corey! #FarawayFiles
I can totally see that, Erin. My 10 year old is getting a little sassy – very sassy – and I can already envision the compromise. Oy!
I agree with so much of this, Corey. It’s so important to get out of the house and do something fun when they’re little and there are lots of places I think it’s worth waiting to visit until they’re older when they can really enjoy the culture and the tramping around without getting fed up. Travel has to be fun for everyone in the family, after all, and we much prefer doing things with the kids that we’re going to enjoy as well. #FarawayFiles
Thanks, Clare. Enjoyment is so key…finding those places that the whole family can enjoy is what it’s all about. And of course every family is different, so whatever works best for you and your kids I suppose!
I think your girls are at the perfect age for travel. Mine are 15 and almost 13 now and well into teenager-dom. Whilst they travel as ‘almost grown-ups’ I do miss the days of visiting farm parks, building sandcastles on beaches etc, so enjoy it whilst it lasts! #farawayfiles
I hear that! I’m already getting a little sad that things like nature preserves and farms are to be outgrown soon. It all goes so fast..
Haha lovely post, I certainly meditated and moaned quite a bit on the topic, i.e. no longer able to climb volcanoes with a newborn, go to African safari with a toddler or cross 3 countries in a a day with the 2 of them ! As you say, farms, museums and nature preserves became the lovely norm for weekends, family friendly beach & ski holidays the norm for trips. The boys are now 21 months and 4 years – the cutest cheeky monkeys! but we are looking forward for something more adventurous for the 4 of us! Who knows, maybe even 2018? 😉 #farawayfiles
Aaaah I miss those ages! Cheeky indeed! I’m sure you’ll put some fun adventures together for 2018!
It’s funny but I think you’ve hit the golden spot for family travel! Not too young to go places, but not too old to say they don’t want to! Recent travel experiences with my teen have shown me that our family travels are coming to an end much sooner then I’d like. Enjoy all the moments! #farawayfiles
Really? That’s such a bummer! I thought your older son was so into it all! But I can see how teenage years are difficult..my 10 year old has started complaining about certain day trips getting boring and it’s sort of breaking my heart..
He usually is into it, but the draw of friends and fomo is so strong it’s really been putting a damper on family time.
What a massive difference a few years makes! It must feel nice to not have to play all of your trips around whether the children will be entertained or be able to do a lot of walking. Happy 2018 and I hope it means lots of exciting new travel destinations. #FarawayFiles
It really has made a huge difference. Happy 2018 to you as well and look forward to reading more of your travels!
It’s really interesting to read how time has changed your travel experience with your kids, and thinking back to what you could and couldn’t do just a year previously. It sounds like you had a fabulous year of travel, may it continue in 2018!
Hoping we’ve really turned the corner, which I think we have. Cheers to 2018!
I love the idea that there are different stages for different ages! I’m so impressed by parents who travel with their kids, I have a hard time getting myself to an airport on time much less little ones. 🙂 That’s so great for them to be able to experience different places! Happy New Year 🙂
Haha – it’s all a matter of survival for us parents! If we can do it, you could too! 😉
I hope to teach my daughter how to love traveling as well. She’s still young (only 3) but we try to travel with her and take her out to eat as often as we can. Have a wonderful 2018! #farawayfiles
Sounds like you’re starting adventures young, so I’m sure she’ll grow up to love travel as much as you 😉
I hope so! Every few weeks or so she asks if we can go to a hotel or cruise ship.
I definitely agree with travelling changing as they get older and for the better, I say! It’s wonderful when they can do all the activities and can handle a full day sight seeing. Lovely post, and look forward to your 2018 adventure #farawayfiles
Thanks so much! It really does get better! I’ve enjoyed following your adventures, and look forward to your 2018 as well!