Themed Weekend: Family Travels

red suitcase couvetureI go back-and-forth about the worthwhileness of traveling with wee ones.

On the one hand, I think: traveling with babies and tots is just plain crazy. It requires an over-the-top amount of energy, planning, and patience...not to mention - STUFF. It involves strollers, car seats, teethers, toys, nursing covers, baby carriers, diapers, wipes, extra pairs of tiny underwear, lots of little onesies, and much, much more. Throw in sleepy kids, a few public tantrums, trying to get a car seat into a foreign car, and one or two "I need to go potty" quips in very inopportune locations - and any parent might decide that it's much better, much more comfortable to be at home. Especially considering that your little ones won't even remember the Statue of Liberty or the Grand Canyon or the Leaning Tower of Piza.

On the other hand, I think: traveling with babies and tots is all kinds of fun. After all, what better time to just get out and go than when parents are young and adventurous? Sure, adding little ones into any travel itinerary is bound to add a little (or a lot of) extra stress, but it also adds laughter and magic. It's kind of nice to get away from the "day-to-day" of macaroni & cheese and naptimes and mopping the floor in favor of something magnificent, something new. And even if they won't remember it, YOU will. You'll remember nursing on top of the Eiffel Tower or holding a tiny hand as you take in the grandeur of Yosemite or hearing a little voice sing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" as you paddle through Venice. You'll remember it all - with precision and nostalgia and joy. And there's a good chance that the trying moments will fade to a beautiful blur over time. If you do remember them, you'll remember them with laughter and reminisce at the sweetness of those precious times.

YOUR TURN: If you currently have a baby or a child under age six, do you travel often? Why or why not? If you have older children, did you travel when they were young? If yes, are you glad that you did? If no, do you wish you had?

This weekend is about traveling (more specifically, traveling with tots in tow). As usual, there will be tips, product reviews, giveaways, and photos. Stay tuned.

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15 comments on “Themed Weekend: Family Travels”

  1. We travel often - our 4 year old has been a lot of places, partly as family is far away and partly as travel is our hobby. Next up Australia, then a cruise, then China!

  2. we take our kids pretty much everywhere. neither one of our families live close so when we do go home to visit it is a big trip. we also have taken three larger trips to date over the past three years. And you are right, even though there were trying moment on the whole it was a wonderful, magical time that we remember fondly.

  3. Our idea of traveling is driving 4 hours to Omaha! LOL. That was the furthest we had gone before. Over the summer we decided to drive (yeah) to Kentucky. Nebraska to Kentucky and back again, with a 9 year old and 22 month old. The trip was excellent! I felt like it brought us closer together as a family, we spent so much time together that after we came home it was sad to get that to work.

    We can't wait to do it again! We are planning on Disneyland in 2011, but we'll fly this time!

  4. I took my oldest round trip from Atlanta to Honolulu when she was about 3.5 and then more recently I took my triplets who are now 3 on a short flight from ATL to Memphis, TN by myself to visit my sister. I thought flying with the trio would be more than I would be willing to do again, but it wasn't bad at all!! I was amazed and completely impressed with their ability to travel. We fly free standby so in my opinion we don't travel nearly enough... we should take better advantage of this benefit!!

  5. We took our son with us on a 2 week trip to Saudi Arabia this past spring. He was just under two so he sat on our laps (thank goodness... $$$). We did have grandparents with us so that helped a lot, but he did pretty well all things considered. We had to check luggage since we were bringing things for friends they can't get, but I was surprised at how much I had overpacked, even for my son!
    And my ERGO was SUCH a good thing to have! Even on some of the international security checks they didn't make me take it off, just had a lady run her fingers under the straps to be sure there wasn't anything hiding.
    We also have a Trunki and it was the perfect size carry-on for the little guy. Held enough clothes and diapers in one side for the ride plus a day (in case our luggage didn't make it!) and snacks and new toys on the other side! Plus it was a good distraction in the airport while waiting since it's a ride-on toy as well!

  6. I traveled (flew) alone with Calvin when he was 2...twice
    I checked our bag, which I found easier than dragging it around with me.
    I carried a backpack.
    I lugged a car seat for the airplane. I wish that part would have been easier, but I don't know what better options I had. And once on the plane the car seat was perfect because he already "knew" how to sit in a car seat.
    I traveled to visit a couple girl friends who had kids. We had wonderful visits, so it was totally worth it!

  7. We have two kiddos, however we haven't been on any trips with both of them. They do both LOVE the car though, so we will do some road trips soon. We did travel by plane a few times when #1 was smaller. We flew to Arizona when she was just 3 months, so that was easy. Canada when she was 6 months, again, she was small enough that it was a great flight. About 1 1/2 years ago when she was 15 months old we flew to Boston and that was much harder. She was at the age when she did not want to sit in a lap the whole time, if at all, and it was a turbulent flight so she had to sit most of the time, that was not fun. We will be traveling to Austria in August with both of the kiddos...I will have to have a great bag of tricks to keep them occupied and we will bring the car seat for #2 as he will most likely be more comfortable in that rather than the normal airplane seat.

  8. We don' travel too often. I've taken Levi to visit family in Georgia, but that's it. Honestly it's a tad daunting to me. And, Levi really isn't even a bad traveler.

  9. I love to travel, and so does my husband, and we have traveled a lot with our young kids. (We wish we could do more!) We've traveled across the U.S., in the Middle East and Asia with our kids so far. There are so many more places we want to visit, and hopefully will!

    One book that has inspired us is "Adventuring with Children" by Nan Jeffrey. I think you'd enjoy it. (I was going to mention it on an earlier post when you talked about taking a year off to travel the world, but forgot!)

  10. I took both my boys to my grandfathers funeral three years ago. They were age 3 and 2 at the time and we flew from Minneapolis to Raleigh then drove to New Bern NC. My wife had to work so I did it solo. It was a huge pain in the butt, but I still enjoyed myself (other than the funeral part). I felt like a grew as a parent during that trip. I gave the Eulogy and my parents took care of the kids in the pews. They were really well behaved and I got all sorts of compliments on my parenting abilities. I still think that was the trip that I became a real full time care giver. I needed that education to become a better parent.

  11. We don't travel nearly enough. Jasper is not as happy away from home as Roo always has been, so it makes travel challenging. Truthfully, it's hard to take that kid out to a restaurant! So we're kind of laying low until he mellows out.

  12. I have an 8 month old and an almost 3 year old. I travel with them a lot since we don't live near family. My most recent trip I flew up to Northern Cali with them and drove around for a week solo, then my husband drove up to join us for 3 more nights. It was nice to get out of the house and do something different for a little bit. It was a ton of work. But the kids got to meet/see a lot of family. All in all it was worth it. Even though I was sick most of the time with congestion. I tried to travel light. I have a quick post about the trip here:

  13. we travel all over with our kids - we've flown all the way across the country twice, plus tons of shorter jaunts. Not to mention, we took our kids to India when they were 3 and 4. And despite being so young, they remember the trip and talk about it often. (and are constantly asking when we can go back!!)

  14. We have a 6 year old, 4 year old and almost 1 year old. We take car trips fairly often but have only flown with the kids twice (the baby hasn't flown yet). The first time was to Florida when they were 2.5 and 6 months. We just set our expectations as low as we could and that way it wasn't hard for the trip to exceed them! It went much better than we could have hoped for. The second trip was with a 5 year old and 3 year old while I was pregnant with #3. We flew to Arizona and did the Grand Canyon/Meteor Crater/Flagstaff/Sedona and visited friends in Phoenix. Also went well...and was significantly easier logistically because no one needed any "equipment" or diapers aside from their carseats. We hope to gradually increase the amount of traveling we do. I think that even though they may not remember all of the sites, they do remember the family time and those make for great memories. It is a lot of hard work when they are young but I am glad that we did it! We are off to Boston next month with the littlest one only. Am trying to gear up for the energy it takes to tote a one year old and their belonging around!

  15. I have a 17 month old and we travel a lot with her. We have lost track of how many flights we have been on. Some short (2 hours to visit one set of grandparents) and long (9 hours to visit the other set). It is difficult. I have done it by myself too many times to count. We don't always have a ton of choice as we live a flight away from most of our family. Once she turns two it might be a different story though, buying her a seat is going to change our travel habits a LOT! I do think it is worth it. If you just go with the flow and plan well and remember that you will eventually get off that plane you will survive. Now, add number two and I might be changing my tune! We would love to travel with our kid(s) for a year if we could, taking our time and making amazing memories.

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