One of my best friends moved to New York City a year and a half ago. Last spring, I had a severe hankering to travel, and after a stressful winter, desperately needed a vacation. Obviously, the first trip I had in mind was visiting my friend in the Big Apple.
My daughter had just turned one at that point, and I had already done at least two road trips with her. But a trip to NYC, just the two of us, was a daunting endeavor. My mom advised against it. Her claims were valid: my daughter would be out of her environment and off her schedule, etc.
Skeptical of my mom’s advice, I turned to the mommy bloggers of the internet and read so many horror stories of traveling with kids. Don’t do it. They warned me.
I did it anyways.
I can see why many people think traveling with kids is a bad idea, or at least avoidable, except for the occasional trips to visit relatives. On our New York trip, (almost) everything that could go wrong went wrong. The airline delayed our flight for a total of four hours, and we spent two of those hours just sitting on the tarmac. They lost my daughter’s port-a-crib, and she had to sleep on a makeshift bed of couch cushions and pillows. During the entire trip it was freezing, and I had only packed spring clothes. The list goes on.
I don’t consider myself qualified enough to argue that everyone should travel with their kids. It’s truly up to each family. Traveling with a little one is very involved. I mean, flying alone with her was a feat in itself (I had to carry two huge bags, plus a stroller, plus a baby around the airport and onto the shuttle, onto the plane, off of the plane, onto another shuttle, and back into another airport).
So traveling solo would be a heck of a lot easier.
That being said, I think it’s important to travel with your kids.
Traveling has taught my daughter to be adaptable. She follows a schedule at home, but she doesn’t need to stick to it to function. She can nap at weird times or not at all and be totally okay. And she can also fall asleep anywhere because she doesn’t depend on the normal bedtime routine. Whether we’re stuck on an airplane or spending the day at the beach, my daughter has also learned to embrace new and different situations. Having these experiences early on means she does not become dependent on her routine or the normalcy of life at home.
Having to spend time waiting (at the airport, on a train ride, or even at a restaurant) has helped my daughter learn patience. When stuck on the tarmac, she learned to wait and ended up engaging with the people around her. When trapped on a train for eight hours, she again waited patiently and enjoyed exploring this new environment.
Young minds constantly grow and form, and travel fosters that growth and curiosity. When on a trip, kids are exposed to new places, experiences, people, and even language. This deepens their knowledge of the world, fosters creativity, and helps them experience learning hands on.
So, where are you and your kids going to explore?