We sat down with a mom of two to talk about fun things to do in the Caribbean, and why it’s great for children.
Thanks to her parents, Connie’s been an avid globetrotter since childhood. Traveling the world as a family, she says, helped establish the deep values like empathy, open-mindedness, and a love of learning she has today.
When she became a mom, she was excited to do the same for her two daughters. She told us all about her adventures through the Caribbean with her family, and offered her fellow parents tips on keepings kids happy, relaxed, and full of wonder when they’re away from home.
I hear you and your girls have traveled through the Caribbean. What makes you love that area of the world?
We’ve been to Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, Aruba, Cozumel… lots of places. The best part for me was experiencing the beautiful views, cultures, and histories of the older cities we visited. It’s just paradise.
How’d you travel there?
We did a cruise because it was very affordable, especially when I first became a mom, and very family friendly with lots of activities for children… games, dances, music, theater. Everything’s already prepared for you, which is great when you’re a parent.
What stands out to you as a parent when it comes to cruises?
I remember just how happy my kids were able to be in the children’s areas–painting their faces, playing with other kids. That was the first time I was leaving them alone, so seeing them happy was a huge relief.
What are some of the key differences when you travel with kids versus traveling alone?
It’s not as go-with-the-flow when you travel with kids. You have to have lots of patience, compassion, and consideration… Sometimes you’ll want to wake up early, but the kids want to sleep in.
But it’s also so rewarding. Kids really live in the moment and can teach us adults how to really enjoy the vacation day by day, get you out of our comfort zones, and enjoy new experiences.
What does the Caribbean offer that keeps the kids happy and not stressed, in your experience?
Kids love to play, and the Caribbean’s perfect for that. Pools, beaches, horseback riding, and ziplining! Wildlife tours… tubing in rivers, underwater caves.
As far as keeping them happy goes… I’m a teacher, so I understand how to talk to kids at their level. Kids are more emotionally smart than they get credit for. It’s all about communication. If you speak to them with compassion, listen to their needs, and explain what things need to be done at their maturity level, things will be easy.
Traveling with kids during the school year sounds pretty hard. How did you balance the shorter travel times and schoolwork?
It’s definitely hard when they’re in school, but it’s very affordable to travel outside of summer. I’m from Florida, so the Caribbean isn’t very far and short trips work out great.
For homework, my kids spent the whole day relaxing, so ending the day with some work wasn’t an issue. Just make sure they’re having fun and they’ll love to wind down with some reading and writing.
What was the best part of traveling with your kids?
Kids have natural empathy and letting them experience something new and different wasn’t just good for them, but for me too. Lots of people think that if you travel with kids, you have to sacrifice your needs, but for me I got just as much out of it as they did.
Any other travel tips for parents?
Be open to your kids’ wants, pack light, and do not overplan! Kids don’t need much.