Jennifer and Marnin are the parents of two adorable girls. I first started working with them a couple of years ago, and despite the fact that the girls were two and six year old at the time, they still wanted to travel. Jennifer has traveled extensively, including spending a lot of time in India, so I thought they would be the perfect family to offer some advice for traveling with children.
A lot of parents are nervous to fly with their kids. How did you first decide to get on a plane as a family?
Maybe I'm crazy but I haven't been particularly worried about flying with my children. The first time I took my oldest on a plane was when she was six months old and I had an opportunity to present at a conference in Hawaii. My husband couldn't come so my mother came along and we made a vacation out of it. I made the mistake of buying my infant a seat on the plane and she didn't want me to put her down the entire six hours to LA or the remainder of the trip to Honolulu. The first time my husband came with us was a trip to San Francisco (also a conference) and Los Angeles (to spend Thanksgiving with family).
What is your favorite place that you have traveled to as a family and why?
We just took a cruise to Bermuda and that might be my favorite so far. Since my children are still young I find that traveling with them isn't exactly a vacation so an opportunity to have time to myself or just with my husband is a priority these days. We sailed on Norwegian Cruise Lines and their Splash Academy was so fun for the children that they wanted to stay longer than I had anticipated. That gave me and my husband a few opportunities for meals alone, massages, and even a day sightseeing in Bermuda. That made the time we spent with our children really special and fun.
What was your most memorable vacation experience as a family?
Our last night on our recent cruise we went to one of the dining rooms that had a band and a dance floor. Instead of having to try to get the girls to behave while we were waiting for our food I suggested we dance even though nobody else was. We all had so much fun and other people even joined us!
What was the biggest surprise that you've had on vacation?
That I actually enjoyed being on a cruise!
What is your least favorite thing about your vacations?
Time changes have been particularly hard when traveling with the children because it disrupts their sleep so we've tried to minimize that until they are older.
What travel advice do you have for families with young children?
We really like places with kid's clubs as it gives us a little break and the children time to do activities geared toward them and to meet other children. As for flying, with children under three I like to get up from the seat when I can and walk around the plane with them. Once they turned three I let my children have all the screen time they want when we are on the plane. They don't usually have this at home so it occupies them and makes it much easier to get where we are going.
Anything else that you'd like to add?
I'm looking forward to traveling to Europe and other more exotic places when my children get older.