I wanted to chat today about traveling with kids, because there seems to be a misconception that once you have kids, traveling will cease to exist. When my daughter, Julia, was born, we were ready to hit the ground running—or at least ready to hop on the first train out of town—and even got her passport process started just four days after she was born (talk about a funny looking picture—the guy took it while she was mid cry). We waited until she got her first round of shots (and for me to recover from delivery) and then we went on her first road trip.
For our first trip we went all out, driving to Lake Como, Italy (sadly no George Clooney sightings); Lucerne, Switzerland; and through the Alsace region of France. It was delightful! Of course it took a little longer than usual since we had to stop every few hours for feedings and diaper changes, but other than that, traveling with a newborn was a piece of cake. Europeans tend to love children and were always extremely accommodating wherever we went with her.
Sadly, we moved away from Italy when Julia was four months old, but that didn’t stop our traveling. We’ve already been on a cross-country road trip, lived in a hotel for three months, went on a Caribbean cruise, been on countless plane rides (and a mama/daughter soloride at that), and we’ve spent weekends in Savannah, Charleston, Atlanta, and Gatlinburg. In the works for the rest of the year are a few more weekends away, another solo flight, and another cross-country road trip—we like to keep busy.
|At the beach in the Bahamas (and the drink this mama had later that day).|
|Ready for the cruise!|
|Still going about our day!|
While we may not have any more wild weekends in Vegas or be able ride any rides at Disney yet, having a little one in tow hasn’t prevented us from going places and seeing the world. I will admit that traveling with her as an infant was easier than as a toddler (strapping her into a baby carrier was a lifesaver), but now that she walks around it's still totally doable.
In my 16 months of traveling with my little one, I’ve conjured up three pieces of advice:
1. Go with the flow. Your plans will most likely change (there may be a diaper blowout or a toddler who won’t sit still during a meal out), so you can either stand firm with your agenda or roll with the punches. Starting your trip with the mindset that things may change at a moments notice will help you embrace your new adventure.
2. Flexibility. Be willing to change and adapt to your new situation, which can be easier said than done when you’re in a new place. My daughter, for example, has a really hard time sleeping in the same room with us. We forgot about this priceless piece of information when we embarked on our cruise (you know…in a room the size of a matchbox). Luckily, we were flexible with our options and figured out a solution: her pack ‘n play went into the bathroom for the night. Now, whenever we travel, we either make sure there’s a divider in the room or pray the bathroom is large enough for her bed!
3. Patience, patience, patience. Kids will be kids. They will scream and yell and poop at all the wrong times. They won’t sleep when you need them to on the plane, and breastfeeding could sometimes feel like she’s attempting gymnastics when you’re in a public place. I’m still working on keeping my cool when things get crazy, but when having patience is at the top of my mind, things go a lot better.
Long story short: kids are just little humans. They like seeing the world and experiencing new things just as much as we do. Even though it may take a little extra effort (and more diapers and pit stops), I love that I’m seeing the world with my daughter. We love it so much that we’re adding another little one to our bunch (coming in February)!
We’re still pretty new at this, but we’re taking it one trip at a time. Do you travel with your kids? I’d love to hear your favorite tips when it comes to traveling with little ones!