Before we had kids the thought of traveling to a kid-friendly destination made me want to gouge my eyes out. Seriously. I had visions of kid friendly travel being a trip full of toddler tantrums, screaming packs of kids in a pool, tons of luggage, and more cartoon characters than you can shake a stick at. I was definitely of the mindset that when we had kids we would just take them along to wherever we wanted to go and there would be something interesting for them to do when we got there. Because we were travelers, not tourists. Because we would be cool parents, not typical parents. Fast forward six months into twin parenthood and to our first vacation with the entire extended family.
A few weeks ago we went to a Club Med property that was family friendly. < Insert stereotypical image of screaming children in the dining room here.> I cringed as I read review after review praising the place for being kid-centric and having a great kids club. Great I thought, a property full of parents who cannot wait to get rid of their kids. I imagined something like the food fight scene from the movie Hook.
As a parent and a traveler, this would most definitely not be bangarang.
It turns out that kid-friendly didn’t mean food fight city. It meant having a changing pad in our hotel room, having strollers for us to use on property and having dozens, literally dozens, of highchairs available in the main dining room. That’s right, kid-friendly meant traveling with kids without a trunk full of baby gear. It also meant a baby water park, baby food in the dining room and a bottle warmer in the hotel room. There were plenty of activities for adults without kids and even an adults only pool far, far away from the kids club and kids pool. Sure, our six month old twins were not old enough to join the kids club for movie night or marco polo in the pool, but I was certainly appreciative of the kid-friendly amenities. In fact being kid-friendly meant that we could actually take a break.
And as it turns out, that was pretty bangarang.
Maybe, as I’m learning quickly with parenthood, I shouldn’t be so quick to judge. Like backpacking the world, traveling with kids requires certain equipment, but probably the most important is the one that I had left behind- an open mind. Next time, I’ll be sure not to leave it at home.