Avantika was planning a trip to Italy with her toddler son, and asked her friends/family for travel planning advice and was surprised to receive this response: “Sorry, but you’re a parent now. No more grown-up vacations for you. Try a theme park or something.” This comment left her feeling judged, as though “I was dragging my son to an adult destination for my own benefit”.
Having a kid couldn’t really be the end, could it? Don’t think so, just refuse to listen to those around you!
It would be a lie if I said traveling with a baby is easy. It’s not. But it might not be as daunting as you might think it would be. Surely, bringing a baby stroller is a pain in the ass, but with every trip you take together it would get easier and easier. Surprisingly, kids are very good at adapting to new environments (often better than adults) !
There are plenty of misconceptions about travelling with children, but the following myths might be the most common ones –
Why travel with kids when they won’t remember or appreciate it?
There are many things we do with small children they don’t remember later. We may take toddlers to music class or read them books they don’t fully understand; these activities are good for their development and are bonding experiences for the parent and child. The same is true for travel. Small children may not remember their first family trips, but being in a different place surrounded by new things is good for their development. The travel experience is a chance for the family to bond and discover the joys of travel together.
Parents of older children may be concerned that their children won’t appreciate travel. Kids and teens may not be good at expressing appreciation, but every trip has the potential to change their perspectives on culture, people, and the environment while creating special family memories.
Travelling with kids is expensive
Family travel can be expensive; in fact, it’s often more expensive than those trips were before the kids were born. The first thing to do is consider where you want to go and when and if you’re on a budget, but there are plenty of less expensive options.
The largest expense of family travel is airfare and accommodation, but with careful planning, a family trip need not be expensive.
Transportation: Destinations that can be reached by car may be more affordable. Check into train travel, and if you’d still like to fly, travelling in the low season is the best bet for very low airfares, and look for airfare sales.
Accommodations: Try vacation rentals, hotels in the low season. Vacation rentals have the added bonus of a kitchen, where you can prepare your family’s favorite meals and spend less than eating in a restaurant.
Travelling with kids is not safe
Every family needs to decide where to go based on what they’re comfortable with, but it’s important to remember that many places have low crime rates and are quite safe for family travel. Parents should take precautions to stay safe and healthy while travelling by getting children the necessary vaccinations, bringing medicines in case of illness on the road, using a car seat when necessary, and teaching children some basic safety rules.
Travelling with kids is too hard
There is no denying that travelling with kids is different from travelling without them, but with a positive attitude and accurate expectations, it doesn’t have to be hard. Working some kid-friendly activities into each day’s agenda certainly helps. These activities needn’t be big ones; an ice-cream cone and some playground time may be enough to keep your kids flexible for the rest of the day.
Finally, travelling with kids usually requires slowing down. One big activity in the morning followed by a small one in the afternoon with plenty of downtime may be a realistic travel agenda for travelling families. The key ingredients to a smooth trip when traveling with kids are to pay attention to their needs, and finding the right balance between plenty of rest time whilst also having lots of activities for them to do along the way. Bored and overtired children become cranky and frustrated .
The ways that children can learn from the world around them are countless. Once we see through these myths about travelling with kids, we can start planning to give our kids the gift of travel !