Please join us in welcoming guest author Anna Wilkens, who originally hails from Sweden. Anna is currently based in San Francisco and enjoys traveling the world with her two-and-a-half year-old daughter.

I always knew that having a child wouldn’t stop me from traveling. But as I used to do at least a few adventurous trips every year —backpacking through India or southeast Asia, sailing around New Zealand, or following ancient trails in Guatemala — traveling did change after the arrival of my kid. Don’t get me wrong — I still enjoy it, just in a different way. The long and intense travels, like the adventurous trips, aren’t as appealing anymore.

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Traveling for me is really about meeting people and having new experiences. And, as I’m sure you know, traveling in the company of a child is a terrific conversation starter and a way to connect with people, even the ones you never thought you’d find something to relate to. When we were in Mexico, for example, I learned twice as much Spanish just because of my daughter. In every taqueria and on every street corner, people started talking to our little curly blond haired girl and me.

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And, when it comes to new experiences, practically everything is an adventure for an energetic, curious two-year old. Experiencing things together with her is an amazing eye opener. “Look at that!” was one of my daughter’s first sentences. And for a two-year old, there’s a lot to look at…

After all, traveling is the excitement, the thrill to cope with unforeseen challenges, and to experience that together with your child creates a great connection and it strengthens you as a parent. But to recognize that you can travel a bit differently makes it so much more enjoyable.

Here are some of my top tips for traveling with a child:

  • Skip the historic or cultural experiences. Kids are the perfect excuse to go for more sun and more beaches!
  • Enjoy local travels and skip the long distances. Why not make a couple of day trips instead of paying for an expensive hotel where you can’t put your child to rest anyway?
  • Everything takes longer than planned, so learn to enjoy it! Kids have a funny concept of time. Fortunately, vacations are free from most of the timeframes that we need to follow in our everyday lives.
  • Go easy on yourself. With small children comes a lot of stuff — diapers, wipers, strollers, five sets of clothing, toys — that’s hard to fit in a backpack!
  • Take the train! The train is my preferred mode of transportation and I’ve found it to be much better than the car or a plane where children are more confined to a minimal area.
  • More nature and less city.

Travelocity compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site; such compensation may include travel and other costs.

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