To anyone who looks at these photos with any amount of jealousy, allow me to be frank: traveling with young children sucks. That’s not to say the water wasn’t warm, the sunsets beautiful, or the pineapples ripe because the water was glorious, the sunsets long and lingering, and the pineapple so ripe and sweet you’d wake up with mouth sores the next morning. Damn those mouth sores.  
But getting there required two long hours on a six hour plane ride with both kids screaming. And when the flight attendant offered Willy two bottles of Jack Daniels for free (because, hey, any parent dealing with two screaming toddlers damn well deserves a drink on the house), I swear the joke was on us when Van proceeded to spill it all over Willy’s lap. It was one of those plane rides. You know, the one where your child insists on bringing his beloved tennis ball on the plane only to have it rolling out of reach from one end of the plane to the other so then you turn to your grab bag of tricks and pull out a bag full of trail mix that you’re certain will entertain them for at least five minutes only the next thing you know the ground below you is sprinkled with trail mix like the steps outside a church are sprinkled with rice after a wedding. Needless to say, we got off the plane with our clothes smelling like liquor only to learn that Willy’s luggage was somehow lost. It was “found” hours later, because – you know – everyone there is on “Maui – aka lets all get stoned – time”.  
In any event, we spent the windy days exploring, the hot days on the beach, and every evening on the patio – drinks in hand – watching the sun go down with a mix of locals and vacationers alike doing the same.
Motherhood will always be a beautiful disaster. I’ll refrain from using the word vacation until the kids are grown and instead refer to trips like this as an adventure.  
What has your experience with traveling with kids been like? Do you consider it worth it?

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16 Responses

  • Your photography = amazing. Honestly, you’re one of my top inspirations. I’ve asked you this before (but lost the info), what lens do you use? I’m testing out a macro 60mm 2.8 and have another week to decide if I like it before I have to return it. I don’t know if I should stick with it or buy a 35mm 1.4? 50mm 1.4? or something entirely different. Any thoughts? AND…we’re also researching which Hawaiian island to vacation at this summer (August). I’ve been asking EVERYONE and so far it’s pretty even between Maui and Kauai. We’ll probably be taking my 2 year old…so maybe I should prepare myself for an “adventure”, too. She’s never been on a plane and I’m dreading it. If I had a money tree, you can be your ass I’d hire you to travel along and follow us around and take pics of us there all day 🙂 -Misty

    • I’ve only ever been to Maui. We love it there. Especially in Kihei (more low-key). I have a few lenses… 16-35, 35, 50 and I love them all. I go through phases. I think the 50 1.4 is the best bang for your buck and that’s the lens I suggest to those looking for a great lens at an affordable price. I wish you had a money tree too cuz’ that would be awesome, hashtag: dream job.

    • I recently moved (like, a week ago) from Maui and I highly recommend visiting it. Me, my husband and three year old daughter lived in Kihei and though it is probably the most affordable place on the island (if you don’t have a timeshare elsewhere), it is by far not the prettiest. Most tourists really enjoy the Lahaina/Ka’anapali. Wherever you stay though, everywhere is basically within driving distance and easy enough to get to. Kauai has a more province feel then Maui which is not as mainland and big feeling like Oahu but not as tiny and “rural”, if you will, as Kauai.
      If you are staying somewhere with a kitchen, Costco will be your best friend. If not, just kinda follow the locals for good, cheaper options of places to eat. If you do decide to go to Maui, DO NOT miss out on Cool Cat Cafe, in Lahaina. Best burger on the island. 😉
      Hope this helps and enjoy your stay wherever you go! 🙂

      • We stay in Kihei every time. I’ve been going since I was a little girl. Never been to Cool Cat Cafe, but we’re major fans of Coconuts. Thanks for the comment.

    • Ya, traveling is hard. Not always… sometimes you luck out… but when you don’t and you’re THOSE people… it erases any good memories you might* have had before.

  • This made me smile. I have twins that are about the same age as your youngest and a 9 year old and I was thinking, oh look how her kids listen to her and are behaving. Made me feel much better

    • Oh ya, they don’t listen for shit. And that’s the truth. They are hard work. I love them, obviously, but they are hard work. I can’t imagine twins. You’re a rockstar.

  • Love your honesty! Beautiful photos. I’m starting to get into photography (for fun & family photos) and you inspire me. We haven’t taken a on trip via plane for these exact reasons! Our son is 2, busy, loud, doesn’t sit still or listen very well at the moment. Some day, maybe when he’s 4, we will try to fly somewhere. We traveled to Seacrest Beach, FL a month ago. We were hoping for a 10 hour drive, really is was more like 12. He did great in the car with plenty of snacks, movies, games, toys, etc and enjoyed seeing the new landscapes.The day we arrived the Gulf looked more like the Atlantic, but the sun was shining even though it was overcast. We went in for dinner and called it an early night after traveling. The next 2 days were a monsoon, rain morning, noon, and night. Ugh. We were right on the water and couldn’t be out there, depressing. Trying to keep up with a toddler in a new place and not being able to go outside was so hard. Of course, he just had to try to get into everything he wasn’t supposed to the entire time. No fun. We actually left 2 days early because we couldn’t take it anymore! Those 2 days we were able to walk the beach for about an hour. The next 2 days were on and off rain all day, we were not about to sit around hoping for time on the beach anymore. We made the most of the little time we had finding treasures and the overcast lighting actually made for some great photos of my son and husband exploring. It was an adventure. We drove straight through on the way home. When my son got up then next morning he was not happy to be home, he wanted to be at the beach. We had talked up the beach for months then he only had one day there, poor guy was disappointed. But he was a trooper, for the most part.

    Love your blog and your hilarious honesty. I was so happy for you to see that you were getting time away in the midst of everything else going on. You so deserved it.

    • Best of luck with your photography, it’s a lot of fun 🙂

      Oh my, thanks for sharing your story… it’s not always easy and it rarely goes according to plan. Sending love.

  • I’ve always true believer that a “trip” is with children. A “vacation” is without children. 😉 I hope you had lots of delicious drinks mama! It gets easier, I promise!

  • traveling with children is not easy! we went to Tennessee last september and the plane rides were certainly difficult. car rides can be torturous as well but at least it’s just your own family and not innocent strangers that have to listen to the complaining and crying. we stick mostly to camping with our family and it’s always fun. you just need to make sure to always have a cooler of cold beer for when arrive to any destination 🙂

    • Oh yes, that cooler is clutch. And ya, I prefer the car too; if I get all zen-like I don’t even hear them whining. haha

  • i got an insight to this on an 8 hours (should’ve been 6 hour) road trip to the bottom of the country with a 13 month old, now i know what you mean by not using the word vacation, but an adventure indeed! never dull though


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