With over a month of traveling under our belts, what has life, traveling with kids, really been like?
For starters, you have to be highly adaptable to be in a new place every few days, though the things you have to adapt to are the same (finding the grocery store, light switches, figuring out how to get around locally).
Thankfully, the girls have been adaptable in spades. They run into a new house/room and claim their bed right away. They even made a fort out of the last set of bunk beds, just like they would have at home.
In terms of daily routine, many things are similar to life at home, with slight changes. For example, our morning and nighttime routines are similar, except we aren’t always waking up at the same time every weekday the way we would if the girls were in school.
Making meals has been interesting, as you can’t buy a lot of groceries, particularly perishables, if you’re only staying in one place for a couple of days. This means you either eat out, subsist on yogurt cups and eggs, or bring the leftover instant coffee and tea bags with you. Some kitchens have been well stocked, others haven’t had a frying pan (boiled eggs it is!).
We never fully unpack anywhere, but rather put the packing cubes we need out. Even then, it can still take a good couple of hours to pack everything back up again to move to the next place.
We’ve managed to do laundry about every 5 days. Sometimes we have to pay for a laundry service and sometimes it means stringing up the laundry lines we brought throughout bedrooms, bathrooms and laundry rooms. Only one apartment has had a dryer so I always have to plan for a full day (if not longer) to allow for the clothes to dry.
In terms of money, ATMs and debit cards have worked. ATMs are few and far between in the countryside, but then we can use a debit/credit card to pay for major activities. It’s been interesting getting a handle on the value of each currency, both in relation to the U.S. Dollar and in it’s own right. For example, is Nutella expensive? Maybe when we convert the cost to US dollars it’s not, but compared to the cost of peanut butter or other items it is.
Language hasn’t been too much of a barrier so far. It was definitely harder to communicate in Portuguese than in Spanish, since Portuguese has different letter combinations and sounds.
The ‘traveling’ part of it has worked out fairly well as the girls manage to keep themselves occupied in the car, in airports and train stations. We’ve downloaded some shows and movies for them on the iPad, so that has definitely helped, particularly when a plane doesn’t have individual TVs.
In terms of accommodation, sometimes we have a whole house and the girls get their own room with their own bed and other times the four of us share a room and the girls share a bed. Whatever the situation, we just make it work.
As for how we’re getting along, it’s just like at home: sometimes we have fun together and sometimes we fight, only there is greater opportunity for both since we are always together.
All in all, I think we are managing well and hope the next 5 months go as smoothly as the first.