Just like all babies are different, so are all parents. Some love to travel and can’t wait to take their kids, and others think it might be the absolute worst idea possible! Even those that loved to travel previously might find themselves apprehensive about taking trips away with a baby.
But having travelled with Baby B since the early days I want to let you know, there are so many amazing reasons to travel with a baby!
Travel doesn’t have to mean long-haul flights and weeks-long vacations. It can be as simple as a weekend getaway within a few hours from home, or a day out exploring a new area nearby. Whatever it is, trust me, there are actually positives to travelling with a baby.
Don’t think for a minute that I’m saying it’s all sunshine and roses. By no means! We’ve definitely had our fair share of messing up sleep and dealing with a grumpy baby due to travel. Or stressing about everything we need to take and how we’ll make the whole trip work. The thing is, it always seems to work out in the end one way or another… because it has to!
So when everything seems to be going haywire and I just wish we had stayed home, it really helps me to think of these things!
For a change of environment and a “break”
Let’s just start by saying that travelling with a baby isn’t exactly getting a break in the traditional sense. You’ll still have all the same responsibilities as you do at home with a baby, so you’re not getting the same escape as you might have pre-baby. You know when you go on a super busy holiday and when you’re back you think, “wow, I need some time off to get over that time off!” Well, travelling with a baby can be a bit like that!
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Yes, you’re still looking after the baby, but you’re in a new environment and that’s what can make all the difference.
When we stay at home too long we can sometimes get stuck in a rut and fall into familiar patterns day after day. There’s something to be said for a routine, but also for getting out and showing the baby new things. It can be hard to continue to be motivated to explore new places at home, even if you know the baby loves it.
Changing up the environment is good for all of you and it’s a break from the usual grind.
Your baby might surprise you by doing things they don’t at home, and you will hopefully gain something from being in a new place. It might force you to chill out a bit about the routine, or realise what you might be able to change at home to make things easier.
And if things don’t seem to be going right, just remember, they might not have at home either!
It gives you more confidence at home
If you can travel with a baby then you can do anything!
That’s what you can tell yourself when you’re back at home and things aren’t going quite to plan. People called us brave for taking a baby on a long-haul flight around the world. Since we were visiting family we saw it more as a necessity than anything! That doesn’t mean it wasn’t a challenge to get through, even though it all went pretty well (not counting the 6 outfit changes…).
Now that we’ve done it, smaller trips and busy days at home seem much more manageable!
You learn to slow down
Travelling with a baby teaches you to slow down and appreciate the little things. Babies find magic in simplicity! Taking time to go for walks while the baby sleeps or sit and people watch while the baby feeds can end up being some of the best parts of a trip.
I think in some ways travelling with a baby gives you some insight into what it would be like to live in the place you’re going with a child. You might need to go to the supermarkets and explore family-friendly places that you wouldn’t have otherwise.
You’ll also figure out what’s most important to you when you travel because you’ll need to prioritise what you really want to see. If your baby is really small you may be able to get away with putting them in a sling and seeing as much as you did before, but as they grow they become ever more demanding! You never know, maybe you’ll just want to spend the time together and not even be bothered what you do… although this is so not me!
Feel normal again and like your old self
I love hanging out with my “Mum friends”, seeing how all the babies are doing and chatting away about their various antics. But recently I went to brunch with some of my travel blogging friends and I realised how much I missed talking about travel too. And other things! Sometimes we get stuck in a bubble with our baby. It becomes all about them (for good reason of course) and we forget to indulge out other interests.
Travelling can help you to break out of that and feel a bit normal again, maybe even like your old self! And you’re doing something for all of you, and your family, so you can’t feel guilty about it either.
Yes, travel with a baby is totally different than before and there are so many things I didn’t realise, but that’s life in general now.
By travelling together you can at least prove to yourself that some things don’t change. That you can still do it, even if it’s a little different.
You get quality time together
As a couple, not just a family! As an expat in Scotland my family lives very far away, and Phil’s live scattered around the UK. This means that we don’t get a chance to drop the baby off with relatives and have a “date night” or a little time to ourselves. We get that little bit of time in the morning before Phil goes to work, then at night after Baby B is in bed when all we feel like doing is eating dinner and watching some mindless television.
Going away means we get to spend time together 24/7!
We can have “lunch dates” with the baby in tow, and spend time together throughout the day. After Baby B’s asleep we have the evening together and being in a different place seems to force us to make better use of the time. We know there’s no work the next day or sole parenting, so staying up a bit later seems more manageable.
When we visited the Isle of Arran when Baby B was 5 months old we didn’t have any wifi and we ended up having a movie and games night at our Airbnb once he was in bed. Something we might want to do at home but put off because we fall into doing the same old thing!
People love babies
Ok, not everyone loves babies. But we’ve found that travelling with a baby is a great conversation starter. People talk and interact with us more because of him, even at home. When we’re travelling this means we get to have more encounters with locals and get a feel for the local culture and the importance of family in many places.
It’s cheaper to travel while they’re younger
Child tickets are usually cheaper than adults, and infant tickets (under 2) are even less! Flying with a baby at that age means usually paying a small fair or nothing at all, and the same goes for other forms of public transport.
In addition, when a baby is really young they’re often in the same room as you, so you can save on accommodation costs and not have to book larger places or multiple rooms.
Flying to New Zealand isn’t cheap, so I’m hoping we manage to go a few times before Baby B is two, and take advantage of the cheaper costs.
Babies are easier to travel with
I’m not going to deny that babies come with far too much travel gear for their size! We have a list of baby travel essentials that we take everywhere we go, and it’s definitely growing.
But at the same time, babies are also relatively simple. They need a few toys for entertainment, and are pretty portable, as long as they have somewhere to sleep and a break eat. It’s also (fingers-crossed) pre-tantrum time, so you’re able to take them most places with you and not worry about things like that.
While the baby is young they can come with you most places, like out to eat, or to attractions that you want to go to but that wouldn’t be very interesting for an older child. Babies are just happy to be taken along and see things!
As children get older they’ll require more entertainment and take over a greater part of the things to do during a trip.
It helps the baby’s development
Babies thrive with stimulation and new environments. Taking them travelling will broaden the things they get to see and be a part of. It can help with language skills as you have more different things to talk to them about than at home and expose them to new experiences they wouldn’t otherwise get.
You learn flexibility
This goes for both you and baby!
The dream is that travelling with a baby helps them to be more flexible and go with the flow, not getting upset when they’re in a different environment or their usual routine is changed up a bit. Obviously there’s no guarantee this will happen or that it will straight away but things are always changing! At first Baby B decided that after transitioning to his big cot he wasn’t that fond of sleeping in a smaller travel cot. Within a couple of trips that had changed again.
Travelling with a baby will also hopefully make us more flexible. Baby B has somewhat of a routine and when he was younger he would get a bit upset when he didn’t get the naps he needed. While he’s much better now it seems to have given me a level of anxiety about taking him out of the usual pattern. Travelling helps me to relax and see that it’s ok if it doesn’t always go to plan.
You make amazing memories
Just because the baby won’t remember the trip doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go. Because YOU will! And making memories as a family is super important. Babies are constantly changing and learning new things and travelling helps to cement how the baby was at that time in your mind, as you can picture them in a particular place. Plus you’ll hopefully take more photos!
It can be so easy to forget as they move onto the next thing. This is a time that you can’t get back, so take every opportunity you can to be together and living it to the full!
It’s cliche, but having a baby is the most challenging and rewarding thing I’ve ever done. And travelling with a baby is no different! There are the highest of highs and some pretty stressful lows too, but I wouldn’t ever change it and we’ll continue to have adventures with our little Baby B as much as we possibly can!
Want to know more about family travel?
- 17+ Must-Have Items for Travelling with a Baby
- The Reality of Travelling with a Baby: 6 Things I Didn’t Know
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