Summer is the time that many families travel the most. Honestly, traveling with my family is not my expertise. My friend, Ilham, is here to give you some great ideas to make the most out of traveling with young children. She is a children's book author and mama of 2 living in Toronto.
What is slow travel? I had the same question. It is "a mindset that rejects traditional ideas of tourism and encourages you to soak in your environments and keep yourself open to new experiences".
Do Some Slow Traveling this Year
By: Ilham Alam
Being a parent of two and working full time doesn’t mean that you have to give up on travelling all together or just do resorts or see as many places and as quickly as possible. There is a middle ground.
I make this bold claim as I write this in my vacation rental at a Medellin, Colombia. The kids are asleep, I have a “Club Colombia” beside me and I’m going to watch another episode of Game of Thrones Season 8, before I get to working on my book launch for first picture book, Wonder Walk.
As of the time of writing, we have been in Medellin for 3 weeks and in Colombia for a month, doing “slow travelling”. It basically means instead of taking 10 days and packing it in with as many sight seeing as possible, in as many cities, as possible, thus exhausting yourself at the end; you take the time to stay in one place for the duration of your trip or take a longer trip (if you can) and see maybe 3 places.
Which is what we are doing in Colombia for 7 weeks and we are only going to Bogotá, Medellin, Cartagena and SAN Andres Island. Instead of taking 7 weeks to travel between 3 countries.
I highly recommend slow travelling when you have young children, as it’s less stress on them with not dealing with a new place and routine every few days and less physically demanding on them. Thus, easier on you too.
Also, slow travelling ends up becoming cheaper, because it’s “economies of scale”- the longer you stay in a place, the more you get to know the cheap, local joints and free activities to do and navigating the city by foot or by transit. Moreover, we only stay in Airbnb, in order to provide a home environment with home cooking for our kids (yep cooking & eating at your Airbnb also cuts your cost); and the longer you stay in an Airbnb, the cheaper the host makes your stay.
All of the above factors into our decision when planning an epic family trip. And since we plan to stay in a place for sometime, we also research the living costs of a place. We have yet to visit London, England, for example, as the living costs are very high. However, this accounting of living costs has allowed us to visit countries where it’s still a bit of a hidden gem & where not many Western tourists take their children, which we have loved! And having Aeroplan Points and TD VISA Expedia certainly has helped in paying for travelling.
And you must be wondering: well
You must lug around 4 large suitcases along with carry on bags for your family of 4, right? Not at all! We just take 1 checked luggage in total and carry-on bags. Also, since we have a baby, I’m allowed an extra allowance of a diaper bag with baby essentials including baby food & snacks.
As for clothes, well, it’s minimalism all the way. 3-4 shirts each, same number of shorts/pants and two dresses for me, 2 pairs of shoes (and however many underwear you think you need for your sanity). When abroad, I don’t wear much jewelry, as I don’t want to advertise that I’m a “rich foreigner” when out and about in a country that still has a high degree of poverty, such as Colombia. And you can launder and wash as you go (we try to find Airbnb with a washing machine on site).
So that’s it everyone! These are my tips and personal experience with a different kind of travelling with kids. To follow along my Colombia adventures, you can find me on Instagram: @storymummy86 or my blog: storymummy.com