As parents, we often think that we have to spend our vacation time going to the same beach or renting the same casa rural (country house) with our kids. We can be more ambitious however and look at other destinations that might be more stimulating, attractive, and even farther away from home. You’ll be surprised at just how easy traveling has become.
Kids can now fly (in an airplane) practically from their first month of life, and they’re not required to occupy a seat until they’re 2, so instead of buying them a ticket you just have to pay the required taxes. The hardest part is probably take off and landing given the changes in cabin pressure; offering your child a pacifier at these times may help you both enjoy a more pleasant flight.
As for necessary documentation, in Spain kids need their DNI (national identity card) or passport. They also need a notarized letter of authorization if they’re not flying with both parents. Obtaining the letter in Spain is an easy process; all you have to do is request it at your local town hall or police station. Some parents also recommend that kids wear an ID bracelet or some other type of identification.
But the most important thing is to follow certain "unwritten" rules.
Firstly, forget about organization, agendas, and schedules: kids have their needs at specific times. It’s best to draft a general plan that’s flexible to changes.
Secondly, once at your destination, make short trips and stop as many times as necessary. You don’t want to see the entire old town in one afternoon; be patient. Going slower also lets you appreciate the smaller details that you’ll likely miss if you speed through your trip.
Thirdly, be open to suggestions. Keep in mind that your kids are travelers too, they’re not just "along for the ride". They’ll have their own preferences on what attractions to visit. So try to be flexible if they want to go a cute little ice cream shop instead of that historic Romanesque church.
Fourthly, be understanding. Kids will be amazed by their new surroundings, although instead of asking about the year in which the impressive monument gracing the plaza was built, they may want to know why more pigeons than sparrows have chosen it as a perching site. Put yourself in your kids’ place and respond as best as you can.
These are just a few basic points to keep in mind when traveling with children. We hope they’ve been helpful. And now… it’s time to start planning your next trip!