Weekend Travel Inspiration – Dave Barry

Weekend Travel Inspiration - Dave Barry

You can get through anything if you laugh, right? Dave Barry might be poking fun at family travel, but the lesson is to just laugh it off. We have traveled with our kids, and our friend’s kids, and Girl Scouts, and school children. In fact, we keep traveling with kids even though ours are adults now. Our daughters grew up traveling. For our oldest, her first real road trip (not a day trip) was when she was five months old. We were all packed into a two-door VW Polo, and we camped all the way through Germany, Switzerland, France, and the Costa Brava of Spain. By the time number two came along, we weren’t counting trips anymore; it was a matter of course. It’s what we did.

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By the time the girls were about ten years old, not only were they packing for themselves, but they would pack for us. I’m not kidding. We were living in the great state of Alaska at the time, and we had a truck and camper that we spent almost every weekend in exploring as much of the state as we could. I would give the girls a call when they got home from school, and tell them they had a couple hours to pack the truck. As any mother would, I reminded them of the important things, but to be honest, I didn’t have to do much. They knew what we needed. A little after 5:00, I would get home, check off the list and off we went…to sleep next to another glacier or head down to the Kenai Peninsula for some salmon fishing.

Now people look at my gray hair and they say things like, “Of course you can jet off to Bilbao for the weekend, you don’t have kids!” or  “I have to wait to do things like that. My kids are too little.” I’ve learned to watch my tongue, because the first thing I want to say is “Don’t wait! Go now!”

For some reason, we believe that there is some magical age where it will be easier to travel with kids. Maybe it’s after diapers, or car seats, or maybe–just maybe–after graduation. I want to tell them that if you start early traveling with children, they get used to it.  They expect it. They enjoy it. They become great travelers.

If you ask any seasoned traveler what the best part of travel is, they will tell you that it is the interaction with the local people along the way. You might remember the Eiffel Tower. Well, you will remember the line waiting to go up the elevator for sure, but the memory that you will treasure most is having that conversation with the lady at the next table in a café. This leads me to the one big secret that traveling with kids brings, interaction with locals!

Going back to that first trip that we took Devon on, Jim and I used to joke that she could write a book about the kitchens of Europe. Why? Because every single waiter or proprietor in every restaurant took her back to the kitchen when they served our dinner. They held her, talked to her, pointed things out, and gave us ten minutes to enjoy our meal. And let me tell you, this is the one thing that we remember and talk about time after time. It’s been 30 years, and that is what we remember.

So, don’t wait!  Go now!  Travel with your kids!  Are you ready?


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Weekend Travel Inspiration - Dave Barry


































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  1. I have three grown kids and we have been taking them on travels since the oldest was 5 months old. Some of our travels were because we lived far from family – but some were just because I wanted to go somewhere and they had to come along. They now are great world travelers in their own rite – my family says I have a ‘travel bug’ and my kids caught it from me!

  2. Great memories Corinne. As you know I travelled as a kid and now travel with my kids, we’re not waiting around for any magical age.

  3. I still haven’t made it to the point where I’ll let the kids pack for me, although I’ve loosened up enough control to let them do it for themselves. I’ve decided that traveling with kids brings different challenges as they get older. Physically, it gets easier, but then they start having social lives and schedules to plan around. My teen got into a bit of trouble with a teacher because he “had a whole week” to do homework over Thanksgiving break, and we instead hauled him all over Washington DC to the Smithsonian, White House, Capitol Hill, etc. instead of doing chemistry problems.

    1. Michele, I agree. It is hardest to travel with kids when they are teenagers…for a lot of reasons! Although, c’mon even a Chemistry teacher should be able to see the benefit of visiting DC!

  4. I agree with what you say in here. I do not have kids, so, I hold my tongue when somebody says he/she cannot travel because they have small kids. On the contrary, I have a lot of friends that take their kids to trips and they all have a good time. I also have no problems road tripping or going out of town with out of state friends that are visiting with their kids. A lot of common friends shy away from them because of the kids but we just plan something with them and bring the kids along. I have enjoyed every single of trip.

  5. My 7yo has started packing her own suitcase and does pretty well. I do agree that too many people think there will be a magic age where kids will travel well, but the earlier you start, the more adaptable they are. Great inspiration!

  6. I couldn’t agree with you more. We started travelling with our boys when the first was six months old. He was born overseas so technically he started travelling before he came ‘home’ to Australia. Travelling with children is wonderful. It is so easy because they can see the magic in just about everything and you are right you see things you wouldn’t normally see and interact with locals you might never even say hello to otherwise. We once did what we still fondly refer to as the ‘playground tour of Europe’ and we had a ball.

    1. Lyn, I love that! I have close, close friends I travel with and they have two toddlers. Our goal when we travel with them is to find a playground with an iconic building or site behind it so we can photograph them playing. Too fun!

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