Lessons Learned Through Traveling

I learn something new every time I travel.

Not in a deep, philosophical, uncovered a previously unknown character trait about myself sort of way. Not even in a I went to a new place and now I have a better understanding of it sort of way. I mean I know more about what my travel limitations are—and how to prepare for them—with each trip.

Camera and passport sitting on a map of the world.

Last week the Agents and I flew to Orlando for five days with our favorite Mouse. We met three of my four siblings and their kids there, so it also served as a mini-reunion. Hubby did not participate, as the US Navy had other plans for him. This was a first—traveling by air with all three kids solo—and the longest vacation we have spent by ourselves. A final hurdle in the game of what can we realistically pull off with only one adult, if you will.

Yes, there were a few hiccups along the way: a bit of jet lag, some rain, a lunch reservation mishap. We did not spend as much time with the bigger group as we had envisioned, and I regret that now. But, in general, we nailed it and would totally do it again.

Spoiler alert: It all turned out fine.

We did, however, figure out some things along the way that will prove useful on future Disney escapades. {Although some of these relate to travel in general, I am specifically thinking of a Disney vacation with the following list.}

Change Is Good

Before we left, I found myself feeling nostalgic about certain aspects of the parks that have been phased out, but once we arrived I realized how much I love when the parks change and grow. Even though a favorite ride might be gone, or another might be made over, or a new twist is presented with a show or character, I no longer feel like I am missing anything. I am excited to see where they go with it

Space Is Needed

Because we were a party of four, and trying to be conservative with our vacation club points, we booked a studio instead of a one-bedroom. In the recent past this would have worked out swimmingly. However, now that the Agents are older {currently 13, 11, and 8} I can honestly say that the extra square footage would have made a huge difference. More room to spread out, a washer and dryer in the room {only an option at that resort for one-bedrooms or larger}, and the extra bathroom space would have been extremely helpful.

Humans Are Weird

By the end of the week, we had a running joke about Humans of Disney. The anthropological observations one can make while at Disney World know no limits. Instead of getting angry at the outright cluelessness of the population, we decided instead to accept it and then move on. If there is one guarantee about traveling, it is that someone, somewhere is having a bad day and might try to take it out on you. I think we have finally reached a point where we have embraced this and can bounce back from negativity without it ruining the moment.

Patience Does Improve

This visit was game-changing as far as the stamina and tolerance of our party and what we could reasonably do in one day. We wisely still built in rest periods, and we had a pretty firm deadline for when we retired to the room each night, but overall we kept up a fairly quick pace and did things {longer lines, different parks on the same day, earlier starts} that would have been deal-breakers on past trips. Dare I say Disney with teen/tween/big kid is even more fun than Disney with wide-eyed littles. Instead of balancing all decisions based on what is novel without being overstimulating for a young child or baby {and basically dragging them around to activities I wanted to do}, we actually could decide together what to do next and plan on the go and roll with it.

Packing Is Hard

I have been on many excursions all around the world. Whenever I pull out the suitcases I think, this is going to be the instance when I get it right. I will only take exactly what I need and no more. I will not forget anything essential. I will plan everything out to the last detail and travel light yet prepared. Guess what? I make mistakes every. single. time. However, with rare exceptions there are few ways to really screw up. We can do without, or buy something when we get there if it is critical

There were more tips picked up along the way, but these were the biggies. I have no doubt that our next vacation will provide even more insights and more lessons learned through traveling.

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