To travel or not to travel internationally with small kids? That is the question and everyone’s answer may not be the same. One family decided to take the plunge and fly to Europe with their newborn and toddler in tow – here’s how they made it possible
Let me start by saying, we may be crazy. But when our good friends from Germany sent us a “Save the Date” card last December for their wedding coinciding with Oktoberfest 2011, we knew we had to figure out how to make it possible for us to bring our kids on a European vacation. At the time, I was five months pregnant and could hardly fathom what life was going to be like with a five-month-old baby and a two-and-a-half-year old toddler, let alone traveling to Europe with them. Luckily, we like adventure and my husband had the time to figure out the itinerary, so we booked the trip.
Purchasing our Plane Tickets
At first we only purchased two tickets. We weren’t sure if we would bring our toddler along. I knew I would be breastfeeding (and with strong emotional heart strings) so leaving the baby at home was not an option. As we talked through ten days away from our oldest, we speculated the excitement of the trip would be dampened by how much we would be missing her so we immediately began scheming about how she could come with us AND we could still have an enjoyable vacation.
We have traveled enough with our toddler to know it is by no means relaxing. She is busy and opinionated about how we spend our time. After trips to Cancún, Maui and Puerto Vallarta where we missed out on excursions due to nap time and the night life due to a 7:30pm bed time, we quickly came to the conclusion we needed to bring someone with us to help us watch her. The price of the trip was rising but our travel budget for the year was mostly unaccounted for due pregnancy and a new baby.
Bringing Along Help
Our daughter is fortunate enough to be close to both sets of grandparents and all three of her aunties so we had a tough decision on our hands. After much thought and weighing various aspects of all sorts of scenarios, I called my sister and asked her if she wanted to go to Europe with us as our pseudo-nanny but we also wanted her to enjoy the trip as well. She talked with her husband and checked with work and then happily accepted to help us bring our kids on a European vacation the following day.
Preparing for Europe
So now here we are, months later, on the eve of our big trip, planning last minute details and wondering if the baby’s ears will bother her on the flight as well as how many repeat showings of Toy Story 3 the toddler can sit through. We are asking ourselves questions like, “Do we take both car seats?”, “What is the battery life of the iPad?”, “What should we bring for a stoller?” and are slowly piecing together a travel strategy.
Check out the next installation in the sags where I discuss in-depth what we are doing to prepare for Europe with two kids under three years of age.
In case you are having reservations about bringing along the babies, find out what other moms had to say about bringing young children to Europe!
Alecia Hoobing is project manager and aspiring freelance writer who is happy to call Boise, Idaho her home airport. You can read all about her adventures traveling with children at Hoobing Family Adventures.