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Photo Friday: The Dark Side of Family Travel

August 7th, 2009 by bsmith | Filed under Las Vegas Adventures.
Destiny is not a Happy Camper at the Adventurdome

Destiny is not a Happy Camper at the Adventuredome, Las Vegas

Hi All,

This ”dark night of the soul” post was actually written a few months ago on a Spring Break Trip to Las Vegas.  I am happy to report that although we have had some similiar moments since then, in general my outlook towards family travel has much improved.  What a difference a little more maturity makes! 

 My fellow travel bloggers and I spend a lot of time, trying to encourage you all to get out and travel.  We offer tips and tricks to make traveling with kids easier.  When it comes down to it, however, traveling with kids is hard…definitely worthwhile, but on the other hand very very difficult. 

Kids thrive on routine and try as you might to maintain routine while on the road it is not going to be the same.  This trip I found the quirks of my five year old Miss who must have her socks adjusted just right, and has a preferred wardrobe of about three things to be amplified to a point that it almost drove my whole family over the brink! Sleeping schedules are difficult to maintain. Toast, my four year old’s favorite food is hard to come by.  Being in constant close quarters with his younger siblings without some opportunities for escape to pursue his own interests became very difficult for nine year old Justin by the end of the trip.

Hotels are not the most kid friendly spaces for preschoolers whose voices seem physically incapable of whispering, and who long to stomp and run.  It is balance to be considerate of others while at the same time letting the kids have a good time.  Some guests will be patient with your kids idiosyncrasies.  Most smiled tolerantly as mischievous Jared tried to jump every time we got in the elevator.  (Note to other traveling moms…be sure that your kids never watch Elf !)  Most waitresses are understanding about those wiggly kids at the table and seat your family as far away from the other guests as possible…especially those young honeymooners at the corner table.  The short frustrating public tantrums…those are a bit difficult for everyone however.

Roadtrip Tantrum

My perspective may be a bit warped as I was outnumbered for the majority of the trip.  Each day I had time to fill on my own from 8 am-4pm while my husband was at work.  I experimented with keeping them out and busy, and just lazing around the hotel room and pool.  Each strategy had some benefits and some drawbacks.  Keeping the kids quiet in the hotel room got a little frustrating.  The pools were great, but once again the needs of the two age groups were hard to meet.  Justin got short shrift due to my need to keep an eye on Destiny and Jared and keep them safe.  He didn’t want to enjoy the big kid areas on his own.  Like most kids he wanted to share the fun with mom or dad.  Our adventures to the Adventuredome and the Children’s Museum were fun, but once again we were limited by Justin and Jared’s craving for adventure and Destiny’s timidity to the point of hysteria whenever she is confronted by anything remotely loud or exciting.

I think that traveling with an only child would be a very different experience.  I have very fond memories of traveling with my parents.  Even if one was busy, the other was always available to give me the attention I needed.  My parents could choose activities that were appropriate for my age level, or even if we were doing something “adult” my presence as the only child in the room gave me some positive attention.  Ken and I were able to spend some one on one time with Justin this trip.  Ken took him to Fremont Street.  I headed over to New York, New York to ride the giant fast roller coaster.  I love spending one on one time with Justin because he just talks his heart out.  He glows under my undivided attention.  He also complains A LOT, but at least I have the time to listen.  We get to share what we enjoy.  I rode the roller coaster, he grudgingly took in the Bellagio Fountains.

So why do it?  Why didn’t I just sit out this adventure and spend a quiet spring break with the kids swimming in our own familiar and somewhat freezing pool?  Because I love watching my kids rise to the occasion and work together as a team.  I love that Destiny helps me pack.  I love that Justin gives his siblings piggy pack rides on the long walk through the casino.  I love that he and Jared go off and ride some of the more exciting theme park rides.  I love that Jared gets to use the boys bathroom every once in a while under the watchful eye of dad or big brother.  Then there is the adventure…exploring unfamiliar places, swimming next to a shark tank, changing the tires on a pretend car, choosing whatever your heart desires for dinner.  Despite all our misadventures, this trip was worth it.

Destiny Gets Brave, Adventuredome, Las Vegas

Destiny Gets Brave, Adventuredome, Las Vegas

Happy Trails,

Bridget

PS. This blog participates in Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday.  Keep your finger on the pulse of the travel world here.

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