I’ve been thinking about how different our recent trip to London and Paris were with Dylan at 2 years compared with our last megacity experience in New York when he was 6 months.
At 6 months old he would happily sit or lie in the stroller for the whole day while we walked the length of the city from Midtown to the World Trade Centre memorial. For a change of scenery, he’d be happy to go into the carrier.
Before Dylan could crawl baby travel was easy peasy. When your baby is young all they need is to be close to you (and fed and cared for, of course) and they are happy.
That means you can put your baby in a carrier or stroller and walk the world with them before they start to crawl.
Last month in London we were lucky if our 2-and-a-bit-year-old stayed in the stroller for an hour, and now he has worked out how to shimmy out of the straps without undoing them we think the stroller might be reaching the end of its life. Thank goodness we had a great Airbnb in London to relax in, that was an exhausting trip!
Dave’s shoulders ache from carrying our child around Europe because he doesn’t want to walk himself, he wants to sit on Daddy’s shoulders and be ‘King of the Castle’.
I truly believe if we had waited until this age to start travelling we would have lost patience within a week and given up, travel with toddlers is that different.
Gone are the days of napping in the stroller – now we have to bribe Dylan with treats if we want him to stay seated – and yes I bribe, I’m a survivalist.
Compared with travelling with a young, non-mobile baby, toddler travel is more physically and mentally and relationship-testingly challenging.
We know we chose this life and we definitely wouldn’t change it, but sometimes its really tough, and while most of the time we are a wickedly strong team sometimes we take it out on each other and are the couple politely screaming – not actually making a scene but totally blaming each other for whatever the current predicament is – at each other on the street while their toddler cries. I’m not proud of it, but it’s the truth.
7 Reasons You Should Travel With Your Baby (before they get to toddler stage!)
There are a ton of other reasons to travel with your under 2. Here are 7 of my favourites:
- The price of airfares. Most airlines let under 2s fly free or for 10% of the adult fare when they are seated on an adults lap. We’ve just started paying for Dylan to fly in his own seat – which he never stays in – but before he turned 2 he circumnavigated the globe a couple of times for less than $500!
- You can pretty much have the holiday you want to have – minus the late nights out clubbing. Small children are so portable and easy to tote around museums with, not to mention the stimulation they get will keep them entertained, just don’t overload them.
- Everyone loves a baby. This is universal. You will be shown untold kindness and compassion when you travel with a baby, grumpy old men will smile and coo, and people of all ages will chat to you. You might even get a little more local interaction than a regular tourist would!
- Save your sanity. Ok, not really. Travel with a baby can be hard but if you have the time and money to travel with your child it can be a great way to spend some of your maternity leave. I know for certain that travel saved me from a sure path to post-natal depression. The first thing I did when I suspected I was pregnant was grab the nearest travel with babies guide I could find. The saving and planning gave me focus and resolve and allowed me to continue being the person I was before I was a mother – an obsessed traveller.
- Create wonderful memories as a family and don’t listen to people who say your child won’t remember it – you will, and you’ll be able to tell them all about it when they are older and show them the pictures of your family travel adventures.
- Your child will be astute and respectful of the world around them from an early age, by being exposed to and interacting with people from different cultures who speak other languages and may even grow up bilingual as is our plan for Dylan.
- Having time together while they still totally adore you! I’ve been told that my child will start to need me less and less from about age 3. This is just another reason I’m so glad we decided to travel with him from birth. Considering the alternative to this life is a couple of hours together after daycare in the evening when all three of us are exhausted, I’m delighted to be here with him every day reaching milestones and showing him the beauty and wonder of this world before he gets bored with me!
What do you think? Would you travel with a young child?