Sometimes when I tell people about the places I’ve been with my little ones, they look at me like I’m crazy! But I’m here to tell you that there are some GREAT reasons to travel with young kids! Here are just a few:
1) It’s cheaper! Going on vacation while the kids are little definitely has its financial perks! The big saving can be on airfare; many major airlines will allow you to take a child under 2 as a lap baby and this is often completely free. Even if you do pay for a seat for your child (if they’re over 2, or just if you prefer them to have their own seat), some airlines (United and Jet Blue, for example) offer a cheaper child rate on tickets. Aside from airfare, everything from attraction tickets to eating out to hotel rooms can be cheaper with young children, and plenty of these things can be completely free with babies. Considering the cost of travel, saving money anywhere is a big plus!
2) It’s easier! No wait, hear me out! I know traveling with little ones doesn’t sound easy, but it really can be! Babies especially are so great to travel with because they are usually so adaptable. Babies will usually be able to fall asleep easily on a plane (something about the engine noise has always sent my babies right to sleep!), you don’t really have to worry too much about bringing a bunch of things to entertain them, and feeding them is generally easier than having to worry about snacks and kids meals. Long car trips are usually a lot less painful the younger the baby is too. When it comes to sightseeing, popping a baby in a carrier as you tour is about as easy as it gets. It really can be less challenging than taking an older kid.
3) No worries about school vacations. This ties in with numbers 1 and 2, but if you travel before the kids are in school, it makes a huge difference! You can travel any time of the year, and that opens up so many doors. It is almost always cheaper to travel when the kids are in school; airfare and hotel rooms will be cheaper because there is less demand since less people can travel. You can be more spontaneous with your trips, and are therefore able to take advantage of last minute deals (you can get some GREAT flight deals this way!) Seriously, get out there before school vacations mess with your plans!
4) They get used to travel. If you know you’re going to want to travel with your kids once they get older, then get them started young! Travel can be stressful for anyone; I’m not sure anyone can say they find airports a relaxing place to be! But the sooner kids get to experience all of the aspects of travel, the more used to it they will be, and the easier they will find it in the future.
5) It gets YOU used to traveling with them! It’s not just that the kids get used to travel, but you get used to what it’s like to travel with them! Before we had kids, we’d maybe start our vacation with a glass of champagne in the airport lounge, then relax on the plane with a book or a movie we’d been looking forward to seeing. Sightseeing included museums and fancy restaurants and staying up late to go dancing. On our first vacation with our now 3-year old there wasn’t room in my bags for books because it was crammed full of toys, the fancy restaurants were replaced with places that served food quickly before the baby woke up, and late nights were replaced by horribly early mornings. It was a shock to the system! But we’ve adapted our travel style, and it’s gotten easier with each vacation we’ve taken to adjust to traveling with the little ones.
6) It’s educational. I am a true believer that children learn best from experiencing things, not just reading about them in books or learning about them in school. I love that my 3-year old learned about the British Monarchy while standing outside Buckingham Palace in London; that he knows which ocean is the Pacific and which is the Atlantic because we’ve looked down on them from 35,000 feet; and that he’s learned about endangered green sea turtles from watching them being released back into the ocean in Hawaii. You don’t have to incorporate education into your vacation, kids will pick things up and remember experiences that they have had and learn from them.
7) It teaches kids about other cultures. The neighborhood my kids are growing up in is not a diverse one. When we travel, I like that they get to see that not everyone looks the same, not everyone has the same values or traditions, and that is all OK. I want them to go out into the world, no matter how small they may be, being curious of others, not wary.
8) It improves their flexibility. Both my kids love their routines – and so do I! They like knowing when to eat, when to sleep, what comes next in their day-to-day lives…and that’s great! But it’s also fine to teach kids that sometimes they have to be flexible, and in my opinion, the sooner they learn that, the better. I’m not suggesting getting young children settled into a routine only to completely shake it up on vacation – that might end in tears for all involved! But helping kids learn to sleep in new places, to try new foods, to expand their horizons and go with the flow a little isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
9) It will bring you closer together. I’m sure I’m not the only mom who has looked up from her laptop to find the family in the room together with no one paying any attention to each other! My husband will be dealing with work emails or catching up on Facebook, my 3-year old will be on my iPad or watching a movie, and I’ll be on my laptop or my cell phone. It’s terrible and I hate it, but it often happens in everyday life. Traveling and getting away from it all gives everyone the chance to put down the electronics and spend some quality time together actually talking and making memories.
10) It means you still get to travel! This is my ultimate reason! When my husband and I decided to start a family, we knew our life would change; almost everything would be different. But we also knew we didn’t want to put our life on hold while the kids were young and never do anything. We have always loved to travel, and we couldn’t imagine not really going anywhere just because we had kids. The simple fact is that we want to travel, so the kids are coming with us! I must say, we haven’t regretted it yet!
Why do you think travel with kids is a great idea? Leave a comment and let me know!