Before my family's trip to Italy, I laid out the differences I expected between traveling overseas with my daughter as a 4-year-old compared to our previous trip overseas when she was 2. Now that the trip is done, I wanted to revisit those predictions.
Plane: I called this category a toss-up. I would still agree. The fare was the same, and the space was similar. I had hoped my daughter would sleep better on the plane as a 4-year-old. She did sleep more, but only by a half hour, and getting her settled in and quiet was still difficult.
Transportation in Europe: I gave the advantage to having a car rather than age. I still agree. On the part of our trip where we rented a car, we enjoyed the flexibility of leaving when we wanted without worrying about catching a train. That said, I think my daughter enjoyed riding the trains even more at 4 years of age than at 2.
Stroller: I predicted another toss-up for this category. We used a stroller 2 years ago, but not his time. Although we did have to be mindful of taking breaks when we walked, I never once found myself wishing we had the stroller, so I would revise this and give a slight advantage to the 4-year-old.
Food: I gave Italy a tentative edge because pizza and pasta--some of my daughter's favorites--were available just about everywhere. Finding menu items she would enjoy was fairly easy for this reason. She enjoyed these foods 2 years ago, so traveling to Italy with her when she was 2 might have been just as easy on this count. So I give the advantage more to the location than to age.
Naps: I gave the advantage to the 4-year-old because it was easier for her to skip a nap on a given day. This in turn gave us more flexibility in terms of what time of day we could do things. I still agree. Although jet lag messed us up a bit and led to days where my daughter didn't nap even when she truly needed it, the same thing happened 2 years ago, so we weren't any worse off this time. In fact, I think we were better off because she was better at just having quiet time than she was in the past.
Potty time: I gave the advantage to the 4-year-old because our daughter was reliably potty trained on this trip. I still agree--most wholeheartedly! We were very diligent about having her use the facilities before going anywhere and asking if she needed to go when we saw restrooms elsewhere, and this proved to be successful.
Bath: Another toss-up accurately predicted. At age 2, my daughter did well when the accommodations didn't include a bathtub because she enjoyed the hand-held shower. Fortunately, we got the same reaction again.
Communication: A 4-year-old can express herself and understand more than a 2-year-old, so I gave the advantage to the 4-year-old and still agree. It was easier to prepare her for what we were going to be doing and involve her more in the trip.
The updated tally:
Although I would still travel with a 2-year-old, the 4-year-olds have it--at least for an overseas trip.
Thanks for reading! I'll keep catching up on past travels.