404 Parks, Playgrounds, & Picnics

Parks, Playgrounds, & Picnics


Before I had kids I thought authentic travel experiences had to include places where locals drank or ate. Once I had my own kids, I worried that finding that local connection might not be so easy. Especially now that I prefer drinks and food via room service many nights – don’t judge, I never realized how enjoyable eating at a desk-turned dining table could be when the alternative is dealing with over-tired toddlers in a public place.

Then I discovered that parks and playgrounds are filled with locals. The conversation that used to be struck up over a drink, now starts while pushing a swing on a swing set. The parents I meet at the parks and playgrounds, they’re the ones that can give me the inside tips that I worried I would miss having kids. Only these tips are more suited for my new travel lifestyle because these tips are suited for my children.

So feel free to let your kids run loose at the playground, you never know who you’ll meet.

What about the food, though?

In my pre-kid days I enjoyed tasting new dishes at restaurants. These days, I’m rediscovering my love of picnics. Plus, it’s a complete cultural experience. Shopping in a local grocery store and figuring out what treats are perfect without heating or plates is just the half of it. Then there’s searching for the perfect spot to snack. A place with a view and a playground. Some of my favorite travel memories are those that happened while eating a picnic.

Know this – if you’re travel changes when you have kids to include more parks, playgrounds, and picnics, it’s really not a bad thing.

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  1. Nope- it’s absolutely not a bad thing at all!

  2. Ann, What a great post. It is so important to keep your kids happy playgrounds and picnics are so important, and I love that you can meet locals there..the best part!

  3. I definitely don’t judge you on room service – it can serve a useful purpose. We had to use it a couple of times on the holiday where I ended up in plaster*, and it felt quite romantic being served in our room and getting a window seat! Mind you, that experience is not like yours with small children….

    *As described in D for Daintree!

    • I will have to try it sometime without the kids. I really don’t think I ever ordered room service before, but I could see why you had to!

  4. Playgrounds are a given in our travels!

  5. It’s interesting to read how your travels have changed with children in tow – although not in the ways others might think. Great post 🙂

    • Thanks! I actually love seeing how my traveling friends changed their personal travels once they had kids. Everyone does something different, what works for their family.

  6. We couldn’t afford to travel with our DD was young, so our travel then was local and geared towards camping. My card on picnics is wayyyyyy over punched, lol. She’s grown and gone and now we’re beginning to travel in style and I’m really enjoying it. But eating in the room is also something we’ve done after a long tiring day touring when we want to relax.

    • I know what you mean. There are certain things that I feel like I’ve way overpunched my card on, too. I don’t do picnics on everytrip, so it’s still a lot of fun for me. But, I definitely don’t want to have every meal, or even one meal a day, be a picnic while I’m on vacation. (The exception would be in Paris as I just think Paris and picnics are the perfect combination.)

  7. We have been traveling with children for so long, I barely remember what it was like without them, but I am sure it was different. Now that they are older we go to beaches more than parks.


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