I would consider myself an expert when it comes to traveling with children. Some people may use terms other than expert, such as crazy, insane or nuts. I think I am an expert. I have taken my three children on countless trips around the world, and I believe that their lives – and mine – are richer because of it.
Matthew took his first trip when he was just 17 days old (yes, specifically 17 days and I didn’t plan it that way). We flew to Israel so we could celebrate the birth of our first child with my husband David’s family. My parents traveled there as well. It was an incredible trip, with Passover, parties, hikes and time with family. Did it come with its challenges? Yes of course, but it was worth it.
Since that first trip over ten years ago we have traveled to Israel again many more times with our kids. We have made stopovers in Paris and Rome, taken them to see family in Seattle, Friday Harbour, south Florida, Vancouver and Victoria. We have journeyed on some smaller trips to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ottawa, Montreal and of course David’s family’s beloved country home in St. Donat, Quebec.
A few months ago, we crossed the equator and enjoyed the trip of a lifetime with our three kids in New Zealand. We even had a stopover in San Francisco and I won’t deny that there were hiccups. There was jet lag, strange food, inclement weather and a ton of driving. I would do it again. David’s brother’s family moved to Auckland, and giving the cousins an opportunity to spend time together outstripped some of the stresses, hiccups and obstacles we had to overcome.
Travel is in my family’s blood. David and I spent the first three years of our marriage living in three different places. There was a village in Normandy in France, Jerusalem and New York. Taking our children on small and big trips is a priority for us. This summer Matthew and I are traveling to Chicago for our sports fan weekend. Next week, in honour of her 7th birthday, I am taking Julia to New York for a girls’ weekend.
The weekend will be all about Julia and making her dreams about New York come true. She has requested a visit to the Statue of Liberty, Impressionist art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a ride up to the top of the Empire State Building, a Broadway show and shopping on 5th Avenue. Julia knows what she wants and as an experienced traveler at age 7 she knows she can do it.
I will post updates and photos from our trip to New York, if Julia lets me slow down and take some breaks. If anyone has ideas or suggestions of some great things to do in New York with a seven-year-old girl post a comment here or Tweet me @AliciaRichler.