When Lucie and I had our first child we were determined to continue to travel and live our lives even though it would be with a lot less time for sessions and a lot less sleep. When Ellie (my eldest daughter) was 4 months old we packed up every baby product known to mankind and traveled to Villa Sessions (in Puerto Rico) for a week of vacation. It was a rough first go of it, but it has gotten much easier over time by following a few basic guidelines to traveling with family.
1. Keep It Semi-Local:
Plan a trip to a place that is kid friendly and easily accessible. You need to be in a spot that has things to do for the little ones to keep them stoked. Playing on the beach every day all day is going to leave you with cranky kids. Also go for the trips with the least amount of travel time and connections. Hanging on some remote island in the South Pacific sounds awesome, but if it takes 2 days to get there you will be torturing your kids and yourself.
2. You are a Pack Mule. Just Deal With It:
We bring so much stuff when we travel with the kids and all our kite/surf gear. It’s ok. The last thing you want to do is be in paradise and not have the right board or kite. I actually use my kids stuff to my advantage and put all their life jackets, floaties, tents, and other beach stuff around the outside of of my FCS 6’7 Triple Board Bag. When I check in I tell them that we way over packed our kids beach stuff and that I had to use my surf bag to fit it all. I then open the bag and show them that it is overflowing with pink and purple kid stuff, they often time believe me and let the gear bag on for free. Lucie also smooths over the curb side guys with some home made cookies too.
3. Communicate the Forecast With Your Wife:
Know when the conditions are going to be best and let your wife know ahead of time, so you can plan your family activities for when it is flat and glassy and not perfect overhead barrels. I see a lot of guys piss off their wives by leaving the house at dawn and not coming back til evening when the conditions are not that good. The reality is that 2 hours of perfection is better than 8 hours of mediocrity, and your wife and kids will be a lot happier with you.
4. Mama Needs Her Time Off Too:
What ever your wife is into, make time for her too. Vacation is only vacation if you get to relax. Any one with kids knows that moving them to a new location can be a lot more work than your routine at home. Put your time in with your kids and carve out time that your wife knows she will get a break from you and her children. Your wife will come back a better person after a few hours off from everyone.