Florida, May 2022

Holidays before kids Vs. Holidays after kids

If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you’ll probably know we just got back from a trip to Florida, and the time away got me thinking about some of the differences between our holidays pre-kids, and the trips we take now, as parents.

At 4, Max is actually at a pretty good age to travel with. He was well-behaved on the plane rides, is old enough that our days no longer have to revolve around his naps, as they did when he was younger, and, most of all, he has that level of excitement and interest in everything that only little kids have, which is wonderful to see. He thoroughly enjoyed his two weeks in the sun (And now keeps telling me he wants to live there. Me too, buddy. Me too…), and so did we. Travelling with a four-year-old, however, does mean adjusting your expectations just a little, so here are some of the differences we’ve found…

On the beach in Sarasota. FloridaBefore kids:

Staying up late to party, because you’re on holiday, and there’s nothing to get up for.

After kids:

You’re in bed by 10pm – and that’s pushing it, to be honest.

Before kids:

Spending an hour every morning doing hair and makeup, then another hour in the evening re-doing it before dinner. You’ve bought a whole new suitcase worth of clothes to wear, and you WILL look good in them!

After kids:

Lipstick and sunscreen for daytime, wet hair for dinner because you’ve been at the beach all day and ain’t no way you’re going home to change first. Oh, and you’ve been wearing the same shorts for three days now. You’re pretty sure they’re still clean, though. Or you hope so, anyway.

Before kids:

Sleeping as long as you want in the mornings because you’re on holiday and you need to “catch up” on your sleep.

After kids:

You’re up at 6am, just like you are at home. You are convinced your body clock is broken. (To be fair, you can’t really “catch up” on four years’ worth of sleep in two weeks, anyway. And at least the early starts mean you get to go out for a walk when it’s still cool enough. We loved our morning walks to Arlington Park while we were in Sarasota; one of the best memories of our trip!)

Max, Florida 2022Before kids:

Researching the history of the area, so you can visit all the best museums and places of cultural interest.

After kids:

You will be visiting every single play-park within a twenty mile radius. Twice.

Before kids:

Malls are a good way to pass an hour or so before dinner, browsing the stores you don’t have at home.

After kids:

Malls are good because they often have a play area in them. With an ice-cream store next to it.

Before kids:

Small, local restaurants, tucked away in areas most tourists don’t venture.

After kids:

Cheesecake Factory sounds good, thanks.

Max and me and the beachBefore kids:

Relaxing at the beach/pool with a good book and a cocktail.

After kids:

Having to be on high alert at all times, so he doesn’t go into the water on his own/get lost/be eaten by a shark. Leaving the beach more stressed than when you arrived. Doing it all again the next day.

Siesta Key Beach, Florida, May 2022Boring-Caveat-is-Boring:

Because I’m anticipating this post attracting comments from people wanting to tell me we’re doing vacations RONG because their 4-year-olds actively beg to go to ALL the museums, and have only ever eaten in fine dining establishments, I just want to quickly add that this post is supposed to be light-hearted. You can, of course, continue to do many of the things you did before you had kids when you’re traveling, and we obviously didn’t just stick to chain restaurants and playparks while we were away. In our case, however, there’s no doubt that it’s a different experience from the ones we’re used to, for both good reasons and bad ones, and these are just a few of the differences we’ve noticed.

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books by Amber Eve
  • Lori


    I have a good friend who lives in Cortez FL. I go to visit her about 2 or 3 times per year. I fly into Sarasota, which is 20 minutes away. Love the area!!

    June 8, 2022