Traveling With Kids
by Anna Maria Cos Alcantara
My kuya has two adorable little girls. One’s not so little, who is turning 11 this December, and the youngest one is a quirky little 4-year old. They can easily pass off as my little sisters, but really, I treat them like they were my own since I’m their only Tita around. I’ve grown a close relationship with these little girls, and I love them to death, but their personalities are rather opposite. Our ate is a little more reserved, who likes to read three books at a time, and is a big Harry Potter fan like me. Our little one is loud, and a little spunky, who gets quite the laugh when she gets to tease any one of us.
Our family tries to make sure that they do get to travel as often as we did growing up, and I realized that it’s actually quite the challenge to achieve that. Suddenly, there’s so many things to consider – is our destination kid-friendly, will there be activities that they can enjoy, and ultimately, is the travel time short enough for them to not get too bored?
Before the kids were around, we didn’t have to put too much thought into our travel destinations. If time and resources were available, and if we liked the destination, it could happen without batting an eyelash. But now, things have changed for all of us – but we don’t mind. These little sacrifices all end up being worth it when we see them having fun.
Last year, we took a number of road trips with the kids. For example, to ring in the New Year, we took a road trip to Las Casas Filipinos de Acuzar in Bataan. It was the first time my Kuya took his new car out to a long drive and he was very excited about it. But really, at the back of my Kuya, my sister-in-law, and I’s minds were how to manage the two kids in a car for about five hours. It turned out better than expected, really, because half of the car ride, the kids were asleep. The other half of the car ride was when things got a little bit challenging. Our little one started asking one too many questions like “why?”, “what’s that?”, “are we there yet?”, and our Ate started to get annoyed at her little sister for being too noisy that it was interrupting her nap.
Thankfully, we prepared for this kind of situation. We made sure that there were a lot of snacks in the car to keep the little one occupied, and my Kuya and I made sure that we had a bunch of Disney playlists for the girls to sing along to.
When we got to Las Casas, we quickly realized that the resort is not exactly the most kid-friendly, since the restaurants were far from the rooms, and the beach didn’t exactly have a lot going on there. Thankfully, our girls aren’t that high-maintenance, and they actually are independent enough to have fun on their own, as long as, obviously, we were around to supervise them. Funnily enough, the only sure way to make sure that the kids enjoy any trip is if the hotel or resort has a bath tub, so our girls actually would take two bubble baths a day together as sister time.
While kids certainly bring joy to our lives, it’s also been an adjustment for us compared to how we were used to traveling. But no matter how much we have to manage expectations for family trips, nothing will compare to the joy in seeing them enjoy and make new memories with each other and with the family.