6 Myths About Travelling With Toddlers
Before The Architect and I had kids we loved to travel! Once they arrived we were keen to keep it up but didn’t know how it would go. We’ve now down two overseas trips with the kids – the first was a 3 week trip around Vietnam when Bliss was 18months old and the second just recently taking Bliss, almost 4 and Bear, 16 months to Malaysia and Bali. We’ve loved our experiences thus far but often get met with strong apprehension when we talk about it so today I want to dispel the top 6 myths I hear about travel with toddlers…
1. Travelling with kids is really hard work.
It doesn’t have to be promise. But, it’s really a mindset issue. If you go into the holiday thinking you’re going to do and see amazing things and the kids will figure themselves out then, depending on the ages of your children, it’s going to be frustrating and seem like very hard work. If you go into it thinking that it will be a totally different type of holiday, willing to see things a little more like my husband did when we went to Vietnam declaring “parenting is not for holidays” and bribing Bliss with M&Ms, then you’ll be fine! ;)
Oh, and if they are tired enough kids will really sleep anywhere…
2. You won’t get to see everything you want to see.
In some ways this is true, travel with toddlers won’t be the same as without. But, traveling with a partner is different to traveling by yourself, traveling with friends is different to traveling with family and each scenario requires a different level and type of compromise. The expectations you have of a trip differ according to the purpose of it and who you are going with – it’s no different with toddlers. As you’ve seen from the pic above, kids can sleep pretty much anywhere – having them with you doesn’t mean you have to go back to the hotel whenever they need a sleep. You need to do it sometimes but not all the time.
When we traveled through Vietnam we met a lovely Irish couple during our first week and had a great time hanging out with them. We re-met up with them by chance at the end of our trip in a totally different city and they told us that along the way they had met people who had seen us and would say “He we saw this Aussie couple with a kid – the dad’s carrying her around on his back!” and they would say “Oh yeah, we met them!!”
It cuts both ways as much as we would have done other things had we not had Bliss with us we also met people and saw things we never would have seen had we gone without her!
3. It’ll cost a fortune.
It doesn’t have to. For us Aussies, travelling to Asia is pretty comparable to travelling around Australia. On our Vietnam trip we stayed in $10/night hotel rooms and $100/night resorts. What sparked the trip in the first place was that we were planning to put in heating that year as our house was just so ridiculously cold. Then we realised that for only a little bit more, we could go to Vietnam! We spent that winter sleeping on a mattress in the living room with Bliss beside us and spent the money on the holiday. Such a great decision!
4. There’s no point if they won’t remember it.
There are a couple of things I’d like to say about this. Firstly, since when did everything become about the kids? So they won’t remember it. So what?! If travel is something you want to have as part of your family life then they may not remember each trip but they will have an evolving member of doing cool stuff with their parents (not to mention some great photos to look back on!) Secondly, they may not have a true memory of it but you can bet that their other senses will be in overdrive and that being exposed to new sounds, smells, tastes, people will be great for them. If you don’t believe me, have a read of what an expert told us.
5. Travel is something you get out of the way before you have kids.
We’re big believers that life doesn’t have to stop when kids arrive. We’ve taken our kids to cafes and restaurants since they were born. We’ve slogged out months and months of teaching them how to behave in those environments, ready to give up but holding on knowing that if we don’t go, they won’t learn and then we won’t be able to go. Same with travelling. After leaving uni I went overseas every year until we had Bliss. It was amazing. The Architect also did a lot of travel and we both knew it was something we wanted to keep up. Going overseas doesn’t have to be about what the kids will enjoy or remember, but about the kind of life you want to live and the kind of family you want to have.
6. Home is where the heart is.
It’s true that as long as you are with the people you love, you can be anywhere. It’s also true that it’s really very nice to come home. We’ve found that 3 weeks is about the time our kids start to get a bit ratty and a bit more sensitive. Our kids are little and they miss their toys, and friends and the familiar. And that’s more than OK with us. We love our trips with the kids, but we really love coming home too.
Do you travel with your kids? Would you?
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