Vacations with Infants: Should we wait or travel now?

Vacationing with infant and toddler

As both a travel enthusiast and a newborn care professional, people often ask me what the best age is to travel with children. Should I really take my infant on our family vacation or should we wait until the kids can remember the trips we go on? Is traveling with a toddler too much trouble? The simplest answer I can give you is take the trip, bring the kids; you won’t ppregret it. While obviously the argument stands that you won’t get this time back and people tend to regret the trips they didn’t take more than the ones they did, the benefits to vacationing with your infant or toddler are numerous. There are many positives to bringing children along when you travel, and while they may not remember exactly where they’ve been to recall it later, they will gain valuable skills and insight that will stay with them throughout their lives. 

How to Travel With a Toddler

Expect the unexpected, and learn along the way

The day-to-day life with an infant or toddler can feel monotonous at times. So many diapers, bottles, snacks, and feeling tethered to a nap schedule – the rhythm of the day gets very repetitive. Why would you want to pack all that up and do it somewhere else? Well, the change in environment can actually be a major positive for your child. Learning to adapt and problem solve are crucial life skills that begin developing even in infancy, and having to improvise in a new location encourages the development of these skills. Whether it’s a weekend trip to visit family, a drivable distance getaway, or you hop a plane to somewhere unfamiliar, navigating the different sights, sounds, and smells of new places is good for your child. Even when travel doesn’t go as planned and you encounter delays or cancellations that may require changed plans and improvised excursions, learning how to go with the flow a bit is another important lesson. It’s good for children to understand that life can be unpredictable sometimes, and even better for them to learn that they’re still okay in the end. Getting away from your everyday routine teaches children adaptability and patience. With the building of these skills, comes confidence, security and a positive self-image. Think of traveling as a deposit towards your children’s futures, and with each deposit comes more happiness, confidence, and understanding. 

Family Unity: A bond like no other

While travel is great for the skills your child develops and the new experiences they gain, it’s also great for the family as a whole. When you experience new things together as a family, it promotes family unity and strengthens the bonds each member of the family has with each other. Adults benefit from a break from everyday life as well. A U.S. Travel Association survey found that when asked, 75% of children said their parents brought work home with them, and six out of seven said their mothers and fathers feel stressed about work at home. The more stressed out you feel, the harder it is to be fully present for your children’s needs. Children can also sense when we are unhappy or stressed, and it impacts them, too. Setting aside time to bond as a family, and relax together, is important for the well-being of your whole family. The memories you make, and the bond you build, will last far beyond the trip. 

Expanding your worldview: Why curiosity is important

Seeing more of the world broadens a child’s view of the world around them. The further you travel, and the more people, places, and cultures you explore together, the wider your child’s vision of the world around them becomes. The more your baby and toddler see unfamiliar faces, especially of people who look and talk differently than their everyday caregivers, the more they understand these normal differences and begin to expect them and accept them. The more comfortable your child feels with differences, the more curious they become about trying new things and exploring the unfamiliar. This begins to build an understanding and empathy for others in a meaningful way that can not be taught in a classroom or mimicked in the home, it comes from lived experiences. 

Don’t wait! Take vacations with infants and toddlers

Don’t wait for your children to become ‘old enough’ to remember or ‘big enough’ to appreciate travel. It’s not the ability to recall where they’ve been and what they saw that’s the most important takeaway from traveling. The trips you take, and the time you spend out traveling with your children literally helps to shape who they are becoming. Your child might never remember that they went to Barbados as a baby, or they dipped their toes in the Atlantic Ocean, or explored national parks from the view of a baby carrier, or heard the native languages of a foreign land. Your child will, however, know the curiosity it gave them about other creatures and people we share the planet with, the spirit and thrill of adventure that comes from not knowing what the day will bring, the confidence that comes from trying something new and learning you like it (or don’t!), the joy that’s felt sharing time with those you love most, and how alive and carefree they feel with their feet in the dirt and the wind in their hair. 

How to travel with a toddler or infant

Ready to conquer travel with your infant or toddler but want to know how? Join our webinar on June 26th to cover all your travel with baby logistics questions with a seasoned travel expert and postpartum doula who has traveled the globe taking care of plenty of babies, toddlers, and young children along the way.