Travelling is a big part of my life. It’s my oxygen, my source of inspiration. I like the exploring, the not knowing what’s around the corner, the discovery of new tastes, a different palette of colours. I tend to over pack but really, the only thing I need with me is my camera.
Travelling with young children, though, changes everything. Timing matters more – meals, naps, bedtime. Activities have to be a good balance of fun (for them), cultural (for you) and sightseeing (for all but beware of tired little feet!). Restaurants have to be family friendly, even if they do not offer a kids menu. Let alone you will feel you are carrying half of your house with you (toys, change of clothes, pushchair, favourite snacks, nappies). I call it the “Just in case” syndrome. Yes, probably, you will find everything over there. But… do you really want to go hunting around? Shouldn’t it be a holiday?
And so we, feeling guilty, try and research beforehand. I once read than a worried mother will do a more thorough search than the FBI – that is so true! It also means that what starts as a relaxing activity often ends up as a chore, especially if you do not speak the language! I have just come back from Helsinki and not all the websites have an English option: I had to copy and paste the texts into Google Translate.And what about the age gap?My son is 6, my daughter 11 (teenage has struck) which makes it even more challenging. Both will want to jump, run, play. But, although we tried to get away from the stereotype “Boys like cars and knights”, “Girls like sweeter, quieter things with maybe a little glitter on them”, I’m afraid we sometimes struggle to find activities that will please both of them. We’re usually advised zoos and science/hands on museums but… there is only so many you can do as a parent/in different cities without losing your sanity.
This is where Momaboard comes in: bespoke itineraries made by local mums. Because who else than parents will know exactly how you feel and what you need? Which attractions are REALLY worth it, or whether there might be a cheaper, off the tourist track alternative to try? Which restaurants will welcome you warmly even if you have a fussy eater in tow? Or even give you tips on public transport (the Parisian métro, for example, is not designed for buggies. London buses will not take more than 2 on board) or tell you which day of the week the museums are closed. They will answer all your questions (can you find that baby milk brand easily? Is there any playground near the flat you are renting?). It’s equally good if you already have visited the city and now want to explore areas that are less covered by travel guides (which usually don’t focus much on the family side).
No stress. No planning involved. Simply explain what you are after (Slow or fast paced? Cultural or outdoors? Street art? Best brunch spots of the city?), the age of your children, any requirement you might have (vegetarian, babysitter options…) and Momaboard will send you a detailed itinerary including maps, addresses, time to go from one point to another, extra tips (the lockers are free in this museum, have a look at the vertical garden next door…). And you know what? The price is super reasonable – from $50/£35 a short trip! Think about the number of hours you are going to spend surfing the web otherwise. Think of the peace of mind – the activities have been tried and tested by mums, these are not sponsored ideas as you often find on big websites.
More time for you. More time to make memories. The best way to make the most of your family holiday.