Synthia Simenson is a mother of five (almost six) children ages 10 and under. She went through the struggles that I think we can all relate to when we first become moms—overwhelm, unsure of where to focus her time and energy, and not even sure what she wanted life to look like. I hope you are as inspired by her journey as I am, from those survival years to making intentional changes that created space for her to dream. 

Things like minimum baselines for taking care of herself and her home, weekly out-of-the-house dates with her husband (a minimum of 3 hours!), and creating a schedule so she wasn’t reinventing the wheel every single day (notice the 3 pillars of thriving there?!). 

She also began asking this life-changing question: “What is something you want more of?”

As she and her husband discussed this on their weekly dates, their answer was travel. They both love being in new places, connecting with people, and spending time together as a family while having new experiences and discovering things. Leaning into that dream has turned into years of trips all around the world.

Synthia’s Hacks For Traveling Internationally With Kids

  • Plan trips that you are excited about because it is overwhelming and stressful, and you need something to really motivate you to do it because there are so many benefits
  • Each kid has a day bag and night bag (toothbrush, pajamas, night diaper, etc.)
  • Pack a swim bag with everything needed for swimming or a beach day
  • Church bag with everything for church – bows, snacks, activities, etc.
  • Make a customized packing list on the computer, print it out, and modify it according to the trip. Then, hand the list to the older children and have them pack by a deadline. This keeps you organized and lets the kids step up.
  • Bring everything into a dining room or guest bedroom so it is consolidated into one space
  • If going on a two-week international trip, start packing two weeks before because there are going to be that many details and things that go into it.
  • Have a babysitter come over to help with packing
  • Everyone gets their own snack bag that lasts for the entire trip. They get to pack 10 healthy snacks and some candies. She never regrets packing lots of food options to help with hungry moments.
  • Have a restaurant bag with diapers, wipes, and black t-shirts for  little kids instead of bibs to cover their clothes, and use it all week to keep them clean
  • Listen to podcasts or YouTube videos about the place you are going to (start 6 months before) to get lots of ideas about what you can do without sitting in front of the computer all the time (though there is plenty of that, too).
  • When I plan trips with kids, I skip over any blog that talks about travel without kids. I only read from sources that include “…with kids.”
  • Have a toiletries bag that is 90% ready to go for travel with duplicates of everything
  • Have bags with long handles that go over the headrest in the car to help keep the kids’ things organized so things are up off of the ground
  • Always have 10 empty grocery sacks with you – there is always a kid who throws up, or has an accident, or there is garbage – and it helps you feel really prepared

Traveling with your family might not be your dream, but I hope that this week’s episode inspires you to ask the question, “What is something I want more of?” and see where it leads. 

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