Though the latest trend seems to be "kid-free travel" with another airline offering a kid-free zone, I'm a big proponent of travelling with kids. It's important to show your kids places beyond their own backyard so they get a sense of just how big and different the world really is. And you don't always have to go a long way to change up the scenery. I'm just back from a quick weekend getaway with my family. We had a great time popping over to Richmond, BC, and a quick jaunt into Vancouver to see a couple of family members. My husband rode out on his Harley, while my toddler daughter and I flew out from Calgary. I'm a fairly well-travelled mom at this point so I knew to pack light, but still with all the essentials to make our stay comfortable and entertaining for the little one. She had her own backpack with a bunch of goodies to keep her occupied on the flight as well as during our meals since we were dining out the whole time. [caption id="attachment_2887" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Our home away from home at Richmond's Westin Wall Centre"] [/caption] I booked a lovely suite at the Westin Wall Centre hotel, near the airport, making it quick and easy to settle in once we arrived. A suite is really the only way to go when staying at a hotel so that you can put the babe to bed, and still be able to stay up and enjoy the room. Otherwise, you're stuck having to go to bed at the same time as the kids and where's the fun in that? The Westin was also very family friendly, providing a comfy crib for Annabel. We also had a kitchen area with a fridge to store her milk and other snacks. It was genuinely a relaxing home away from home. [caption id="attachment_2885" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="View of the Richmond Night Market from our hotel, the Westin Wall Centre"] [/caption] Another plus was its proximity to the Richmond Night Market so we were able to walk instead of getting stuck in the parking madness that happens at any busy venue. Richmond is home to two night markets that run all summer, and we loved being able to toodle around, trying out all the delicious market foods like BBQ squid, skewers of all kinds, fresh fruit smoothies, steamed BBQ pork buns and more. The markets have a decidedly Asian flavour, but there are foods from many ethnicities including Romanian, Slavic, German and of course, good ol' North American street fare. Go hungry because it is the place to eat your face off. And we did. The morning of our departure, hubby left early at 6am to try and beat the traffic home. So I was left with Annabel on my own, which was no biggie since I've travelled alone with her before. We were ahead of schedule and I was just zipping up our luggage when she decided to run around like a crazy person while eating a snack. Well lo and behold, she throws up all over herself and the carpet. By the time I cleaned her and the carpet up, we were no longer ahead of schedule. We became a harried mess rushing to the airport and hitting every possible hiccup along the way. What should have taken five minutes to return our car rental turned into nearly 25 as everyone decided to show up at the car rental at the same time. That's, of course, when Annabel decided to have a meltdown. Trying to steer her wonky stroller along with dragging our luggage into the terminal was a gongshow at best. We get there only to find out our flight had already been closed. I think Annabel's tear-streaked face and me, drenched in sweat and short of breath (did I mention I'm 15 weeks pregnant?), must have looked overwhelmingly pathetic because the Air Canada employee called the gate staff to reopen the flight for us. Thank goodness. We got to the gate just as it was finishing boarding and I thought the worst was over. That is until Annabel spilled her juice all over herself and had, yet another, meltdown. And I, the well-travelled mom, had failed to bring a spare set of clothes on board with me. So, she had to sit the whole flight in soaking wet pants. Thankfully, we had a lovely flight attendant who made her as comfortable as possible, which in turn helped me to survive the flight. Moral of this story? It doesn't matter how well-travelled you are. Things can go sideways, especially with kids. All we can do is try to stay calm, ask for help and make do as best we can. As they say, whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. And this flight home certainly built me up for the next trip. Because there will definitely be a next trip. No matter how stressful travelling can be, its rewards are always worth the effort. Here are some tips on how to travel with kids without going crazy.