- Traveling With Little Ones: Introduction
- Traveling With Little Ones: Before You Go
I will never forget the day we found out we were expecting our first child. A million emotions were racing through my brain, and while I eventually became ecstatic about welcoming this incredible little person into the world, I have to be honest… those first few days I was a complete mess! While we knew we wanted children eventually, we hadn’t exactly planned on a pregnancy at that time. And we had so much going on in our little world. Having just started a nonprofit with both of us devoting 100% of our time to it, we had only spent 4 months of our first year of marriage actually in our home- the rest had been out on the road fundraising and getting the word out about what we were doing. The root of all my fears in bringing a baby into the picture were less about my ability to be a mother or the way our budget was about to be affected. No, one of the biggest causes of my apprehension surrounded one major part of our lives- traveling.
When we got engaged I was so excited about our future and everything that was to come. I would day dream about taking our children along with us one day to see the world and introducing them to all of the incredible people we’d met… and then someone said to me, “Just wait til you have kids… you won’t be traveling like you are now! Enjoy the freedom while you can…” Traveling was a huge part of our lives and work and actually how Shawn and I met in the first place. How would we do this with a baby? Would we ruin her by strapping her in a carseat or making her sit on an airplane for long stretches of time? Then the reality that, oh no- we were we about to be those people! The ones everyone else on the airplane scowls at because their baby is crying. Goodbye to binge watching movies on international flights and hello to endless walks up and down the aisles of the airplane. What would we do about schedules and feedings and naptimes? I just couldn’t wrap my mind around it all. I was so. overwhelmed.
Looking back now, I know what the person who spoke those words to me meant. And she was right- life does change when kids enter the picture. It has to. But what I didn’t understand then that I do now is that not all of those changes are bad! While I will always have the wanderlust bug in me, something about becoming a mother has made me take a step back and reevaluate some of my priorities. It’s also made me realize how selfish some of my thoughts had been early on. I wasn’t losing anything by having a child, I was entering into an adventure all it’s own! And I cherish every moment I get to spend with my daughter. Our lives have only been enriched since she entered them. She is without question one of our greatest blessings.
No, we don’t go with Shawn on every single trip these days, but we do go on a lot of them! I realize that not everyone is in a position with their work, finances and lifestyle where they can travel, or even want to travel for that matter. But if you are one of the ones who, like me, questions if including the littlest members of your family on your travels is even possible, let me tell you that it is! And not only is it 100% possible to travel with small children in tow, it’s also possible to do it without losing your mind. In fact, I’ve found it to be much easier and in many ways much more enjoyable than I ever imagined.
In this series, I plan to talk about several aspects of traveling with small children. My hope is that you will find some encouragement and walk away a bit more informed and empowered about traveling with your own little people!
Traveling With Little Ones
3.) Traveling With Little Ones: Flying
4.) Traveling With Little Ones: Roadtripping
5.) Traveling With Little Ones: Accommodations
*I feel like I should acknowledge the fact that everyone has their own preferences and personal opinions about what works and what doesn’t when traveling with small children. I remember taking to google before some of our trips and trying things others had suggested. I quickly realized that what works for some of us won’t work for others. So I promise to share my honest opinion, but I’m not going to begin to pretend like I’m an expert or have all of the answers! While I hope these things can help make your traveling experience all the better, you might find that some of my suggestions don’t work for you and your family… and that’s ok! I would love to hear about your experiences and what has worked for you in the comment section!