After travelling with our 18 month old son for 5 months from Austria through Italy, France and Spain to Portugal I can finally write this blog post. I was already expecting that it would be just an enriching experience for all of us and now I can tell you exactly why!
First of all it has to be said that it is a fact that travelling with your child will not be comparable to your trips before. They do have a lot of an impact in your travel style.
Before we used to hitchhike and sleep outdoors, no matter what kind of weather or circumstance. This time we left Austria with a VW Transporter, adjusted to our needs, with a bed and cooking equipment inside.
On this trip we slowed down a lot and spent more time in fewer places, which is perfectly fine! Like that we could get a bigger insight in places and get to know people more deeply. Also it saves you money in gasoline and after some time in one place you get to know the best prices for markets and so on.
Also children are just an icebreaker after all which makes new contacts appear everywhere especially if it’s about other families with kids. Because of that we met so many other interesting travelling families along the way to exchange tips and stories. Every parents knows that already if you for example visit playgrounds, you always end up making contact to your child’s mates. It would be kind of rude not to.
When travelling by car, we usually get this road-stress, because there are so many interesting things to see and you don’t want to miss out on anything. Luckily our kid took care of that problem instantly by just…being a child…living in the moment, not caring about a so-called “next station” or how much time is left until the sunset. Teaching us everyday to just play along instead of planning and going somewhere quickly, just to have seen it, you know.
Still one of the big pros for us to travel over the wintertime is to be able to spend all winter outdoors. Exploring in the woods, checking out another village or city and mostly hanging out on the beach is just an incredible thing to do for 5 months long. Just be ready for rainy, windy and sunny when it comes to clothing and you will be on the safe side. You know the saying “there is no bad weather, just wrong clothing”? 🙂
Last but not least, travelling with your kid on a long-term strengthens family bonds for sure! All those memories and challenges you live through, all together. Which small child does not like to be all day long with its parents exploring around, get to know new circumstances and develop trust in those new things. Not having to say goodbye every morning when the father goes to work.
So by giving over the “steering wheel” to your child you will learn a lot about how to get the full experience of new places and people, which is why we travel after all. To experience this freedom of movement, the bliss of a constantly changing horizon.