There are some parents who do not believe in traveling with small children because they think that they won't remember the trip, or maybe there's too much to pack, or sleeping with a baby in tow might be difficult — or maybe they're worried it's too expensive. But then there are the other parents, like me, who love to travel with their children.
I think that these trips we take together help to build life long foundations with deep emotional roots and memories. My wife and I have traveled often with our kids, from inexpensive road trips, driving up the coast and staying in small motels or camping, to flying across the ocean to Hawaii, and we’re happy to say that every trip has been wonderful – in one way or another. We're raising our three-year-old, two-year-old, and 4-month -old to be great travelers.
Treat your trips as though the journey together is more important than the final destination. Teach them that the experience of going somewhere together matters just as much as the actual destination or vacation. Riding on a shuttle bus, an airport transport train, an airplane, a boat, or even just walking through large crowds and experiencing all the different sights, sounds, and types of people in the world matter so much to a child. Being there to experience with them? It's priceless.
When we travel with our kids, we start talking about it and planning for it weeks in advance. We collect special books and toys and we discuss the things we'll do. I think it is important to help set expectations and then review them once they actually happen. So we talk about going to the beach and the pool and about how we are going to fly there in an airplane; we discuss what things we need to pack and what items are important to bring with us. If we are flying and we pass a pilot walking through the airport we point him or her out and talk about their job and duties with our children; we do the same with TSA officers, airplane workers, and others.
Traveling with young children can definitely be hard at times — but you have to remember that you’re not going on an adult trip or vacation; there may not be any cocktails by the pool, but it’s going to be great nonetheless. It is a time to truly help grow and build your family bonds and in the end create a lifetime of travel and memories.
How do you prep for your family vacations?