“You’ll see everything from a new perspective!” 

By Daniela Lakey,

I am not a parent, yet. Someday maybe I will be, but for now I get to dote on my nieces and nephews. I don’t claim to know everything about traveling with children; I just go by what I’ve learned along the way.

Thespina right after she fell in the mud.

When traveling with kids, most moms will tell you to be prepared for anything. That’s why they all carry the kitchen sink in their purses/diaper bags. First aid kit, extra clothes, shoes etc., are all good because you never know when someone’s going to have a blowout, spill something or slip and fall in mud like Miss Thespina did on our last adventure. Always have baby wipes. I don’t care if your kid is 10. Those things will come in handy, especially while camping or hiking and there’s no running water available. You’re welcome.

I have taken my niece and nephew, who are now 9 and 11 respectively, on a quite a few adventures here in the Pacific Northwest. Like almost every kid (and adult) nowadays, they are glued to some sort of technology; their iPhone, the TV or YouTube on their iPad. Nevertheless, they are also very active in dance, and have an insane amount of energy, which I need to figure out how to bottle and sell. Ah, to be young again.

I love a child’s point of view; seeing or experiencing something for the first time, or even having a conversation with them. Kids really do say the darnedest things. When I travel with my niece and nephew, I try to think of things to do where they can be kids, and not be attached to their phones 24/7, myself included. Camping is a great example. There’s no reception, and there are lots of ingredients for s’mores. Really, you can’t not have s’mores when you go camping. What kid doesn’t like not showering for a few days, getting dirty, sleeping in a tent, playing Uno under the light of lamps, and building a fire for, you guessed it, S’mores. I know I still do.

We have also recently started hiking. Nothing too crazy, because obviously they still have little legs, but kid friendly trails. We are very fortunate to live in such a beautiful state, and I want them to learn to appreciate that. We plan what we are going to wear according to the weather reports, get our Camelbacks filled with water, and grab the appropriate snacks for hiking. Yes, always bring that first aid kit, mainly for me as I am fairly accident prone. It’s really embarrassing sometimes.

Not only do I want my niece and nephew to appreciate and love the great outdoors, I want them to enjoy what the cities have to offer as well. We have great kid friendly museums where they are allowed to touchexplore and learn, all while being entertained. The Zoo is also a great place for them. Give them the map and let them lead. You’ll see everything from a new perspective, and it’s great to see them take charge. Pack lunch/snacks. Food is expensive, and it’s a must if your child has food sensitivities. You don’t want to end your day with an Epi-pen and a trip to the ER.

In most of the trips we take together, I try to let them help plan it. It’s exciting for them to help plan the outing. It gets them emotionally invested, and you tend to see what will spark their interest and learn some of their passions. It also helps keep the boredom at bay. It’s not always easy to travel with children, but it will probably be some of the best times had by all; creating memories and embarrassing stories to relive years from now. Make the time, take pictures, pay attention, and have new experiences. You might learn something you missed the first time.