Travel with kids is different from the travel you enjoyed while single or newly married. Just as being a parent is different in a hard, joy-filled way. But don’t let anyone convince you it can’t be done. Yes, travel with kids requires more luggage, more planning, and less packed itineraries. But so does life in general with kids and at least you and the kids are enjoying the excitement of travel.
Don’t wait until they’re grown because at each stage of their development they see and experience travel in unique ways. Don’t miss out on witnessing the joy and wonder that comes from a first train ride, or learning how the metro system works, or starting to enjoy the paintings at a museum.
Don’t let fear keep you home, whether it’s a fear of strangers’ glares on the plane or fear of temper tantrums at UNESCO World Heritage Sites (I’m thinking about you, Hermitage Museum and TPK baby #2).
We’ve been traveling with our kids since they were about two months old. In my son’s first year, I was still working at a 9-6 job in the management of a non-profit and traveling across the country, enough to earn a companion pass on Southwest. Since I was nursing and my son wouldn’t take a bottle, it was only natural to bring him along. He flew on 6 trips before he was a year old. When he was 14 months we went to France for 3 weeks.
My second child started traveling at 3 months and before she turned 2 (and would no longer qualify as a lap child), we spent 3 weeks in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and nearby with our now 4 year old and the 2 year old.
Mr. TPK and I truly believe that each trip makes an impression on the kids. Even when infants, travel seems to make the kids more flexible and the time spent with us while traveling helps them grow in leaps and bounds. After 3 years old, the impressions start to stick and we discuss our trips long after the suitcases are unpacked.
So no matter what the age of your children or how many you have, travel with them now and enjoy every minute.