My daughter and I traveled a lot together when she was a baby. Easy and super flexible, she was my favorite little travel buddy. So when my son was born, I figured we would have the same relationship. I was wrong.
I traveled with my son for the first time when he was 3 months old. Everything about that trip sucked. I was still recovering from my C-section, and that, along with an aisle seat on a crowded plan and milk-filled boobs made our trip a nightmare for me. The flight was a 6-hour nonstop from California to Florida, and I vowed to never travel with my child again.
The next month, however, the opportunity to go to Hawaii came up. Nightmare trip or not, I’m not bonkers enough to pass up a trip to paradise. I was alone with my son on our trip to Orlando, but our entire family traveled to Hawaii. It was great to have help. Because of them, I was able to really engage in the trip with my little guy and remember the benefits of traveling with a little kid again.
A lot of folks believe that it’s best to wait to travel with kids. They don’t want to spend money on experiences that they won’t be remember. But when I look back at pictures from our Hawaiian vacation last year, although my baby boy was just 4 months old, my heart is filled with memories. I think about how we woke up super early in the morning for him to nurse while I watched the sun rise over the ocean. I remember his little scrunched up face when I put a pineapple to his lips and let him taste it. The photos I have of my 8-year-old daughter and him smiling together as they splash water in the pool make me super happy.
He may not remember the trip at all, but I’ll never forget.
I asked some of my mom friends to share why traveling with little kids is worth it. These mamas will make you want to book a ticket to take your little one somewhere right now.
1. New experiences teach babies to be open from an early age.
Both of my children are really flexible whenever we go places. It’s easy for them to adapt to new environments and to be around different people. I know that has to do with going lots of places with them often while they were little. I didn’t even have to be intentional about showing them how to be flexible. It comes naturally from their experiences.
2. It’s almost like traveling alone.
When you travel with a small child, you can strap them on your chest in a carrier, or put them in a car seat or stroller. Virginia D. compares it to traveling alone because you can get the baby set and then do whatever you want.
3. Little kids have no expectations when they’re traveling.
Babies don’t have opinions about packing or itinerary, so if you want to get away with little to no stress, take a little kid with you. No matter what you decide to do or where you decide to go, they’ll be down. Being able to pack what you need, instead of everything they think they will need, and not having to decide on what to eat because of an extra personality are huge perks to going away with little kids according to Natasha N.
4. It sets the stage for easier travel when they get older.
When you start traveling with a child when they’re little, they know what to expect and are better travelers as they get older. Aaronica has been traveling with her kiddos since they were infants, and now that they’re older, their trips are pretty smooth. Cam B. started taking her kids on trips at 3 months old and says they’re now better travelers than she is.
5. Getting away is great for your mental health.
One of the most important reasons traveling with a little kid it worth it is for our own mental health. Emelia C. has been traveling with her child since they were 4 months old. She says that getting out of the house was great for her mental health and helped to ward off depression. A change of scenery can sometimes do wonders for the psyche.
Just this summer, I took my children to the East Coast to visit family. It was a beast of a trip. Just me, two kids, five hour plane rides each way, a twelve hour round-trip road trip, and another six hours in the airport. Baby memories be damned. Seeing my 14-month-old’s face light up when he met family members, and watching how observant and alert he was in all of our adventures was absolutely worth it.