I don’t have children and hardly ever travel with them, so I’m the last person to give you tips on traveling with kids. However, 40-something Lainie Liberti has been traveling with her nearly12 -year-old son non-stop since 2009. They’ve been to nine countries so far, including all of Central America and now find themselves in their first South American country, Colombia. Here are a few of her comments on everything from bathrooms to best memories.
First and foremost, carry your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer. You’ll likely encounter a wide range of ‘bathroom’ options. In the big cities, you’ll find quite civilized potty options, but the one thing you need to get used to is throwing the paper in the bin and not the toilet.
Two words: Peanut butter. If you and your child like the stuff, this is the biggest lifesaver when traveling. There’s nothing more packed with protein and energy. (Photo: Lainie Liberti and her son Miro Sevin Siegel)
When Things Go Wrong
When things go wrong, have a sense of humor! Your kids will think it’s an adventure if you do. The biggest gift traveling offers is the opportunity to be in the present, meaning truly experiencing whatever comes your way and being ok with whatever that is.
Learning While Traveling
Since we’re on an eight-year around the world adventure, we do what I call “world schooling.” We learn about countries and cultures through our research, we talk to the locals, and we give back. We’ve volunteered at animal reserves, schools, hospitals and libraries. The benefits are so rewarding for both you and your child.
Luxury vs. Local
We’ve found the most rewarding experiences have been living as locals do – or in our experience, living with locals. Opt for a week with a ‘host family’ instead of a hotel. And always try to stay with a family that has similar-aged children as your own.
Our best memories are always surrounding laughter — like the time we sat down on a bench in Parque Central in Antigua, and just like a scene in a movie, a dog jumped up and grabbed my popsicle and ran away. It’s best to relax and enjoy the moment, no matter what happens. It’s the best way to make magical memories.
For more information on Lainie’s travels, visit http://www.raisingmiro.com/. And remember: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness” — Mark Twain.
Kalin Thomas is Women at Forty’s Travel & Leisure Editor. She is also Senior Writer/Photographer for SoulOfAmerica. Before starting her own multimedia company, Kalin spent 17 years at CNN where she won several awards for her work as producer/correspondent for CNN’s weekly travel program, CNN TravelNow. She is currently writing a book about her travels. For more information on Kalin, visit www.seetheworldproductions.com.