Vacations with kids

Two back-to-back weekends away from home, two great destinations, two very different experiences. One horrible, one great. What made our trip to Ithaca so much better than Boston? Here's the top five things we did different:

5. Traveled with friends. It helped us act a little more civil to each other when Uncle Nick and Whitney were around. Plus the conversations were fresh and one person could go out each night while the other stayed home with the kids. When it was just me and Rob in Boston, it would have been awkward to go out alone, so we didn't. But in Ithaca, I stayed home with the kids one night and Rob went out with our friends. Everyone was happy.

4. Hired a babysitter. Our hostess Lauren found and hired a local babysitter the last night in Ithaca so we could all go out for a quick dinner and ice cream with a group of seven friends. Totally fun.

3. Stayed in a big house. We stayed in a 20 room sorority house. All the girls were away for the summer, so fitting 8 people into the mansion wasn't a problem. While I don't think renting a 20 room house is necessary in the future, my kids did enjoy running about the yard, exploring all the rooms, and having so much space to themselves. Beats the tiny hotel room in Boston. And seeing the kids (and not seeing them or hearing them) made me wonder: Am I doing everything wrong by living in a tiny 2 bedroom apt in NYC?

2. Came home early. It was reallly difficult to drag me away from Ithaca and pack everything up at 4pm, but it was worth it. We got home around 8:30pm on Sunday night. I still had enough energy to unpack everything--most importantly I hung up all the wet clothes. It was great to start Monday off with a semi clean house. We got home really late on in Boston and the suitcases took all week to finally unpack.

1. Swam. The whole time. Every activity we did in Ithaca revolved around swimming. I can't say this enough: My kids just wanted swim swim swim. This lesson changes everything for our family!!

That's Whitney jumping off a cliff. So brave!

What about you? What are some things you've learned while traveling? What did I forget?


  1. i love these sharon!!! the swimming one is great:) also coming home early--i totally agree!

  2. Nice Sharon, thanks! The big house and swimming always work for me!

  3. When traveling with kids, I think it's great to keep expectations low. Choose one or two things you really want to do, then everything else you see & experience will feel like an added bonus!

  4. how fun! i love getting home early enough to get a little unpacked too, so i am with you there. and how fun to have stayed in a big house!!!

  5. My favorite is #2. Unpacking stinks but it feels so good to get everything back to normal. I'm so glad you had a great trip! It's funny how much joy kids get from swimming. We took the kids to Disney last summer and I think they had more fun swimming in the pool than they did at the theme park.

  6. I definitely agree with getting home early. I'm a big believer in giving yourself some time to decompress before having to head back into real life, kids or no kids!

  7. thanks for the post. i like emily's point!!
    and yes..space IS good for kids.
    Something else that helps with young ones is keep their bellies satisfied at all times. and choose the RIGHT times for sugar.

  8. I came to the site from a link off Cup of Jo. I am happy to see how much you loved my hometown! I miss it even more when I see it through the eyes of someone else!

  9. http://www.marlowesloft.com/2012/01/flying-with-kids.html

    That's the best advice I have these days!

  10. This post came up as something "you might also like" and I do! I grew up in Ithaca. It is so fun to see the gorges and farmers market on your blog. :)


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