We just got back from a two-week trip traveling through Spain with our 2 1/2 year old daughter. I know, poor me. But in the true spirit of being Committed, it did get a little crazy.
I loved the trip. The architecture was amazing, the culture is admirable (drinking and eating all the time! Siestas!) The wine was cheap and delicious. Oh, the food…
The kiddo was a handful. She may read this years down the line, so I don’t want her to feel like I’m putting her down. It wasn’t her fault–the 9 hour time difference was rough on all of us. And she’s 2 1/2, which means discovering strong preferences, a desire for instant perfection (well, we never outgrow that, do we?), and just general upsettedness at basically everything. We thought her familiarity with travel might make things easier, which it probably did (but didn’t feel like it at the time).
For this post, I’m going to focus on how we handled the tears and tantrums. (HINT: Wine. Lots of wine.)
We learned a few things on this trip, lessons that weren’t too unexpected:
- Lower your expectations for how much you’ll get to see or do each day
- Respect the schedule, but sometimes stretching it to experience something amazing is worth the crankiness
- Staying in one place is MUCH easier than hopping cities (duh, but it was worth a shot)
- Twos CAN be terrible, but they can also be amusing
- Rely on your partner and take the burden if you’re up to it
- Talk through your plans first (ie, how are you going to get off the train? Who is carrying the car seat? Carrier on the front or back?)
- The carseat & baby carrier were helpful. We were glad to leave the stroller at home.
- Don’t forget that you’re ON VACATION and laugh and enjoy the little things as much as possible.