Most people avoid traveling with their infants due to all the extras that are involved. However, once their babies turn to toddlers they quickly realize how easy it actually is to travel with a baby.
Like many new parents, my husband and I found that our anxiety and fear of traveling with a baby so small (and colicky!) limited where we were willing to go with her.
We mainly did road trips for the first year of our daughter’s life because we couldn’t wrap our heads around how we were going to fit a stroller, car seat, diapers and extra clothes, and baby bathtub (because we had no clue how to bathe her in a sink!) into our suitcases without incurring extra fees. Clearly we weren’t strategic packers!
I can laugh at it now because traveling with infants is a lot easier than the setup we currently have – a school aged child and a toddler. Looking back, I wish we had taken the leap and traveled farther with our kids while they were infants. Here’s 6 reasons parents should travel with their infants, and what you’ll miss when they’re toddlers:
1. Sleeping in My Own Bed
Gone are the days where they can sleep in a play yard or portable crib. Being able to sleep in our own bed without being kicked rolled on or waking up to find a little foot in my face is something that seems so foreign to my husband and I now.
Baby toes are cute but not at 5 am right next to your nose.
2. No Such Thing as Fussy Eaters
Meal time was easy with infants. It was either breastfeeding or bottle feeding and there were no arguments about why a toy didn’t come with their meal.
My husband and I now have to take into consideration our children’s food and restaurant preferences. Dinner at a nice steakhouse is almost impossible when we travel with our kids.
3. No “Are We There Yet?” Questions
There was a time when we could travel with our children without having to be asked “Are We There Yet? How Much Longer?” every 10 minutes.
Ask any parent and those two questions are like nails on a chalkboard. We miss the days where we could listen to our own music during road trips and our babies would sleep for long periods of time which made for less pit stops. A 3 hour road trip on Google Maps actually meant 3 hours!
4. Being Hands Free
These days I have a stroller in one hand, diaper bag on my arm and sometimes holding hands with my daughter. It’s very rare that my husband and I are hands free — you know so we can walk and eat at the same time! Or maybe hold hands.
Carrying kids around in a soft shelled carrier or sling made eating and walking so much easier. Yes, it did get hot quickly in the summertime but that was the trade-off for being able to multitask!
5. Small Souvenir Budget
Now that both our kids can talk and ask for things they want or like, our souvenir budget has grown from about $0 to almost $30-50 per child!
Gift shops are “conveniently” located near the exit of almost all museums, science centers, tourist attractions, rides and shows.
“Can I have this? Do we have enough money to buy this pencil case? I REALLY LIKE THIS HAT and I know I have 10 hats at home but I don’t have one like this one yet!”
Traveling with kids at any age is fun and it makes me giggle that we were so nervous to take the plunge and explore more of the world when our first born was an infant.
So my advice to new parents is this… DO IT. Parents should travel with their infants!
Don’t second guess yourself. You never know when you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy a good steak and glass of wine (in peace) again!
Cheryl is a Canadian mom who documents her family’s travels over at KidsOnAPlane.com. She’s a list maker and frequently annoys her husband and two kids with her pen and paper when they travel together. But they realize the method behind her madness and are always thankful afterwards!