Family Travel Virgin
A safe place to talk about your first time…or prepare for it
Let’s take a humorous approach to this because there is a very wide range of beginner family travel stories. Some with lingering horror others with indescribable joy. From the inconsolable child that cried for the duration of the entire flight or memory of having a picnic on the beach together witnessing an amazing sunset. We are going help you reconcile some of what you have heard or experienced to assist in your ability to move forward with an optimistic realistic mindset.
Take a moment to reflect on what you’ve heard about or experienced related to family travel. Whether good or bad close your eyes and take three deep breaths. If you need to stop reading to take a moment to write about some aspects of it, feel free to do so. When you are ready, let it be what it is…history. A moment in time.
You are probably now wondering what is needed take to take the first step toward family travel or perhaps try again. It will take four key superpowers: awareness, acceptance, flexibility and optimism.
Do you feel intimidated at just the thought of family travel? Are the logistics or destinations difficult to fathom? Perhaps you felt completely lost your first time traveling as a family and think it too daunting to visit somewhere unfamiliar. Being aware will help drastically reduce the intimidation factor. Begin by researching the destination and what you hope to do there. Consider the logistics involved and what is feasible for you. Use every tool at your disposal, books, internet, friends and social media to gather points of interest and points of view related to your destination. What are your general family preferences or very specific needs of the kids? What are the habits and routines in your daily family life? These all will impact how you experience travel. Although they should not be a deciding factor they are important to consider. Awareness is your first family travel superpower.
You are now armed with the superpower of awareness. It’s now time to get real? Family travel requires you to deal in reality. When venturing out of the familiar and cannot have total control. If a challenge arises do not waste time and energy trying to will it away. The children are being too playful as you try to cue the lines for the security checkpoint at the airport. It is inconvenient, disruptive, embarrassing, etc. Yes it can be. Despite how you wished it were not happening, unfortunately it is. No need to entertain the thoughts like, “I should never have thought we could travel as a family.” Or, the common, “This is a nightmare.” Don’t get stuck there, accept it. The moment you do you have activated your superpower of acceptance. Think about it…Have any negative thoughts wishing something were not happening ever changed the reality that it was? No it hasn’t, those thoughts only drain you mentally and emotionally and delay your ability to move forward. When the thoughts come, acknowledge what they are, accept what is and activate your next superpower.
You’ve done it. You are traveling with family and the undesired moment occurs. You accept it happening and now you are ready to move forward. Flexibility is your superpower to moving beyond or transforming difficult moments. If you are thinking about the opinion or experience of those around you, please don’t. We are not living in a bubble it is a shared world and everyone has to adjust to the needs of children, don’t worry about what they think or feel. Triage the situation, address what is most urgent and adapt. This commitment to adapting will give room for creative solutions and likely bring about positive outcomes. In the example of the airport security line cue, you can use a word game, eye spy or even tablet or phone. Yes, though we try to avoid the use of the devices as much as possible it is priceless as an incentive or distraction. You can do what is most comfortable, but flexibility is key. At the very least it will shift your perspective and the burden of the experience allowing your next superpower to be released.
What do you do when there isn’t anything that can alter what is happening? Some moments will need to be what they are until they aren’t. This is the perfect scenario for the unveiling of your last superpower. This may be the most powerful of them all. What is it you ask? It is optimism. Family travel with an optimistic outlook infuses every part of your experience with the expectation that this adventure will be great. Not easy, but worthwhile. You’re wondering, how can an unpredictable experience guaranteed to present its own set of challenges be great? Your optimism superpower decides that the sun still shines behind the the darkest of clouds and as clouds pass those moments will as well. Remind yourself, you will see the sun again. Let’s take our superpower to the next level. Looking at the airport security line example. Though challenging at the very least the family learns a little more about how to be comfortable and patient when traveling.
You may be considering a trip with the family in the near future. If you are there are two very likely emotions, fear and excitement. The fear is often linked to the unknown factors of travel out of your control. The excitement may be linked to all of the wonderful experiences you anticipate having. Lean in to the good thoughts. You are armed with your superpowers of awareness, acceptance, flexibility and optimism. You are prepared and unstoppable. Don’t worry about what your first time will be like or lament about what is wasn’t. As a ‘family travel virgin’ the experience is always worthwhile because we learn, grown and develop the skills to have even better experiences in the future. It’s okay to think about and have a vision of what you want your first time to be like, or your next time. Be safe and respectful of yourself, being true to who you are and not doing it because you think everyone else is. Do what is right for you when it feels like the right time and the right scenario. So, if it’s not too personal when will you ‘do it?’