Travel, the ins and outs

Travel, the ins and outs

​“Are we there yet?” and “How much longer?” The kids kept asking routinely from the back seat and what felt like every 15 minutes on a recent jaunt to Niagara Falls State Park.

With travel restrictions finally lifted, we decided to embark with the kids on a small trip to prepare for a longer excursion that we had planned to take them on in a few months. This would hopefully be a great practice run, we figured and oh it was, as we learned a lot about the ins and outs of traveling, especially with kids.

Although we would only need to be in the car for a couple hours to reach the destination, we did have to make a stop at a rest area. I would have loved to kept driving, I had to remember to have show patience. This is the biggest piece of advice when traveling with children. Expect to take the journey slow, leaving plenty of time. Don’t be in a hurry, it’s a family trip! We had planned to leave enough of a buffer to get to the hotel before check in time. Packing sandwiches and snacks is another helpful hint, this may prove more difficult if traveling via airplane.

This was the first time that the boys would be staying at a hotel, so we did our best to keep them excited, trying our best to relieve them from feeling anxious. It was something new that they would be experiencing despite having stayed in numerous hotels throughout the country myself. We opted for the two-room suite so that they could have their own space. A further benefit was that the hotel had a pool, so this is something to look for on future endeavors. While we try our best to limit their exposure to the amount of technology, we did allow them to be on their phones, they were enthusiastic about the free Wi-Fi. We also came up with some makeshift basketball games in the hotel room, something I don’t know if the “neighbors” were happy about.

Paying attention to the weather forecast and making plans based on this was exceptionally valuable. We had anticipated that the first day was going to be great weather, so we made plans to do a lot of the outside adventures on this day. We visited the falls and the Niagara River. It was also a great time to explain the areas historical significance. They both found the legendary accounts of the daredevils that jumped off the falls from oak barrels to jet skis awesome. Yes, it was a lot of walking and I probably pushed them to their limit, which is something we will take into consideration on future trips. Knowing when to stop and realizing that we don’t have to accomplish all our itinerary, just taking breaks at regular intervals.

...I probably pushed them to their limit, which is something we will take into consideration on future trips

The following days forecast was rainy and cold, knowing this we had prebooked, which was advantageous, a visit to the indoor aquarium for later in the day. Buying tickets ahead of time cuts down on the time waiting in line and is strongly recommended. The later appointment time allowed them time to sleep, which was needed from all the walking. They also got a chance to experience hotel life, going down to get breakfast and hanging out in the lobby, while riding in the elevator. During the rain, we also spent a lot of time in the hotel pool, quite honestly who wouldn’t enjoy getting to swim in a warm pool during the cold winter months.

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​Finally, accept that things will go wrong when traveling, keep calm, and enjoy the time with family. It was a great experience and served as good practice run for future journeys.

​Joel M. Herrling
Is a freelance outdoors writer and photographer based in central new york.

Visit Hawke Life Nature for wildlife observation, conservation, bird watching.
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