They say your life changes once you have children. I can definitely attest to that. My life has changed in unimaginable ways: I can’t use the toilet at home without a little hand knocking at the door; the diaper bag now doubles as my purse; and I no longer mind my lengthy commute to and from work as it is the only “me” time I get.
My kids have also changed the way my husband and I travel. We rarely travel without our children so there is a lot to take into consideration. For example, we choose flights to our destinations based on nap and sleep schedules. This means that the cheapest flights may not always be our best option. Mixed dormitory hostel rooms are out of the question. Pub crawls in new cities that last well into the night… those are a thing of the past.
And we are more than okay with these changes.
Another major change in our travel ways is where we stay. Before my oldest child reached a year old, we learned that the most convenient type of accommodation for a family with children is a self-catering rental, be it a condominium, a villa, or an apartment. Such venues tend to offer the comforts of home while allowing guests the ability to live like the locals, even if for a short time. My husband and I choose to have our children come along on our travels so we may provide them with unrivaled learning opportunities and real-world experiences. Being able to live like a local, entrenched in a residential neighborhood, is as real an experience as it gets.
And then there is the cost-effectiveness. Instead of dining out for every meal, families can save a buck or two by making their own meals at the apartment. The cultural factor does not get eliminated by doing this since the groceries will be of the local variety, bought from small, local markets or even regional chains. Speaking from experience, doing our own cooking is HUGE for this traveling family, especially breakfast. It can be quite the daunting task to get the kids and everyone else up and ready and out the door first thing in the morning to go searching for brekkie. If my husband and I were traveling alone, we could wait to have breakfast, possibly bypassing it and starting the day with lunch instead. Can’t do that with kids, though – well, not with MY kids. My daughter needs breakfast the minute she is awake.
And then there is the laundry factor. We tend to opt for vacation rentals that have private laundry facilities. Do you know how many changes of clothes kids can go through in just one day? Being able to do laundry is priceless and cuts down on the amount of clothing we need to pack.
Here is where GowithOh comes in.
GowithOh offers vacation rentals in seventeen cities across Europe. Right now they are looking for apartment “guest testers” and I want to be one of them.
Well, technically I would be THE guest tester, but GowithOh would be the real winner in this competition, for I’d have a couple of kids and at least one other adult along for the experience. That equals heaps more stories, photos, opinions, points of view… We could be GowithOh’s very first Guest Tester Family. Insanity will ensue. Every traveling family visiting Europe will then be clamoring for a GowithOh apartment.
Before I get too far ahead of myself, I will unveil my GowithOh city and apartment of choice: this modern flat in the New Town neighborhood of Edinburgh, Scotland.
Why this apartment? Because it’s in Edinburgh.
You see, I’m soon going to turn 40. It’s not a big deal, really. Though I did tell my husband years ago that I do not want a big party or anything; I want to take a BIG trip. I want to travel someplace that has been on my wish list for a long time. The top of my wish list looks like this: Iceland, Mongolia, Argentina, and Scotland. GowithOh doesn’t have apartments in Iceland, Mongolia, or Argentina (yet); therefore, Scotland is the winner.
There is another layer to my decision: my daughter’s budding obsession with Scotland. She’s at that age where she watches all those animated movies and knows all the princesses… These days she identifies with Princess Merida of the movie “Brave“, which just happens to take place in Scotland. We have watched “Brave” dozens of times and after each viewing, my daughter says, without fail, “Mommy, I want to go to Scotland!” Now, she knows she won’t see Merida there or anything specifically “Brave”-related, but she does know that Scotland is home to a whole lot of castles. Moreover, I use our post-film discussions as teaching moments and give my daughter as much of an introduction to Scotland as I can give without having visited myself. Apparently I’m succeeding since she seemingly can’t stop dreaming of Scotland, either.
GowithOh has two apartments in Edinburgh. I chose the flat in New Town because of its central location and the walkability of the area. Old Town, the historic city center, is nearby, as is Edinburgh Castle, which no doubt will be the highlight for my little lady. My husband and I can celebrate my 40th birthday at one (or all) of the pubs within walking distance of the apartment, after a homemade meal we will share with the kids. No, we will not leave the kids alone at the apartment while we throw back pints and sip whisky; Grandma always travels with us for a reason!
As for the actual flat, there is enough space for all of us to sleep comfortably, along with a well-equipped kitchen and the highly valuable washing machine. The apartment is on the first floor of the building, so the kids should not complain about having to walk up and down flights of stairs. More importantly, there will be no one below us to become annoyed by the sound of little feet moving across the floor above. As a traveling parent, what really makes this apartment stand out is the option of renting a high chair for our stay. This is a big deal, as my little guy will probably need one. Trust me: traveling parents appreciate such amenities. It is one less thing we need to worry about.
A lot to take into consideration, yes. It is enough to dissuade parents from ever traveling with their young children. But it can be done, and I always encourage it. It’s not easy – I won’t lie – but knowing there are options like the GowithOh apartments, with all the desired features, makes me even more excited to show my children and teach them about the world.