A sweet friend told me I should be a travel blogger. I agree, but the issue is: I have little kids. And the moral of the story is this: Traveling with little kids is the worst. The End.
But yet. I keep trying to travel with kids. Because I love to travel! Traveling’s my favorite! But with little kids? It’s AWFUL. Being in a new place is great, but getting there is terrible. But I’m sure I’ll keep doing it, then I’ll have to keep blogging about how TRAVELING WITH LITTLE KIDS IS THE WORST.
This year we went to Niagara Falls. It was a great place to go with kids. I was concerned that they might go over but it was actually pretty easy to keep them from trying to find a barrel and rolling on down. Other pros:
- The falls themselves, obviously, are beautiful and impressive. Even small children can appreciate that.
- Clifton Hill is a big, ridiculous tourist trap, but it’s super fun for kids. There are rides that the whole family can enjoy. There’s an awesome Jurassic Park mini-golf place and a new race track. Plus, there’s tons of silly souvenirs that they can choose from that will give them a little something to remember their trip without costing an arm and a leg.
- I loved the Sky Wheel. I loved the view, I loved watching everyone’s excitement, and I loved the fact that our family could be in our own little clear pod where no one else could be bothered by my kids’ disregard for personal space or the weird comments they’re always making about poop and nipples.
- There’s plenty to do, but it’s not overwhelmingly large. 4-5 days was just right. We went in early June and the crowds weren’t bad at all, although there was a pretty big increase on the weekend. I think if we had gone a couple weeks later, crowds would have been an issue.
- Journey Under the Falls gives you a poncho, but you don’t actually get drenched. This is important when traveling with a baby. You’ll get sprayed a little, like you might in a very light rain, but nothing crazy. It’s lovely.
- Prices are reasonable. You just have to remember everything looks a little more expensive because it’s in Canadian Dollars. (I’m just going to assume you’re going to the Canada side here, because who doesn’t love Canada?)
- The Butterfly Conservatory was cool for most of the family. My boundless optimism prevented me from predicting that my brilliant but sensory-atypical son would be like, the only kid ever to be scared of butterflies. Fortunately, I found a solution in giving him my cell phone and asking him to take pictures of them. Somehow looking at them through the camera transformed them from fluttering specters into digital game pieces.
There were some cons though:
- We had to travel to get there. Did I mention that traveling with little kids is terrible? No? It’s terrible.
We chose to fly instead of drive, because there have been a few moments in the car with screaming kids that have really bothered me. When you’re stuck in traffic on a highway, and your baby is screaming, and you can’t do anything about it, it’s truly the worst. You start sweating. Your breathing gets raspy. Your eyes bulge out of your head. You may also begin to scream. If you have multiple children, this really freaks the other ones out. Anyway, we chose to fly. This was a terrible decision. I would have rather had the eye bulging. First of all, it turned out we were all in various stages of Fifths Disease, otherwise known as Hand, Foot and Mouth. I woke up with a fever and an awful sore throat the morning of our departure. I thought, “Perhaps we should just drive and leave later today or tomorrow. I used rewards points so it’s not like I’m losing any money.” This was my rational, flexible side speaking, and I should have listened. It’s about an 8 hour drive, I’m told.
Unfortunately, I didn’t listen to my good side. I went with, “but then I’ll waste my tickets! I have to stick with the plan!” By the time all the painkillers kicked in and I peeled myself off of the couch, we were already running pretty late. And since there were no good flights out of Philly, we were flying out of JFK. One should simply never fly out of JFK with children. Between the traffic and the parking and the fact that we had to walk for 9238479238 minutes to get to our gate, 3 kids and mountains of stuff in tow, it was absolutely not worth it.
We missed our flight. We got there about 5 minutes before take-off, but you have to get there 15 minutes before. OK, Delta, you greedy little snot. I know you resold my tickets.
Okay, so we’ll drive, I decide. Then I realize we’ve already checked the car seats, and they’re heading out on the flight we missed. So we won’t be driving after all. I spend about an hour standing on a Delta phone on the wall of the terminal, shaking and sweating, because I have a fever, in order to change over the four tickets. I end up paying $300 to change to a later flight that I don’t even want to be on. We spend a few fun hours hanging around in the airport with said children and stuff.
My oldest develops a fever (surely it’s his turn to begin the hand, foot and mouth disease cycle) and passes out in a stroller that’s much too small for him. I tell myself over and over that I’m a terrible mother for putting him through this, but we don’t even have car seats to drive home. I’m giving them all Motrin by the spoonful, and I’m popping painkillers like candy when I’m not intermittently crying. We get to our hotel some 14 plus hours after we started.
- Fortunately, that’s the only con I can think of. Being in a new place is fun, with your family, by yourself, with your significant other, your friends, whoever! It’s getting there that’s hard. And did I mention that traveling with little kids is the worst?