to think I could still travel with a child?

(80 Posts)
shoesandwine Wed 10-Apr-13 09:30:02

Bit of background info: currently TTC after many years of indecision smile DH and I are BIG travellers. We probably do 3 or 4 foreign holidays a year, at least one long-haul (I don't mean that to sound boastful - we have a small flat, no car and no expensive holidays, and while I appreciate that we are financially comfortable, we do cut back on other things to prioritise the travel). We also live out of the UK anyway, so also do 2 or 3 trips back to England a year to visit family (very important to me, and I think that would be more so if we did have kids).

AIBU to think I won't have to stop travelling completely if/when I have kids? Every time I talk about our next trip/future holiday plans, my friends/colleagues invariably roll their eyes and make some comment along the lines of "well, better fit those holidays in now, if you have kids that will all be over". MIL actually thinks we should stop the travel now because "it will make it easier on us when we (obviously) have to give up".

I'm not completely naive and know we'd have to reduce the amount of travel a lot (maybe just one or two trips a year??). I also know that it would require a lot more organisation and patience. But I know so many people who travel with kids (never been on a long-haul flight without some young children there) - my parents travelled with me and my DSis when we were very young (even to Australia). My Dad worked for an airline so it was part of life for us. Why do people imply it will be impossible with kids?

At the risk of sounding overdramatic, the comments really get me down. Travel is the whole focus of our year - I've always said that if I had to give up anything in life, travel would be the very last thing I'd give up. To see the world is the only thing I've really wanted from life. AIBU to think it's not incompatible with having kids?

DeepRedBetty Wed 10-Apr-13 09:33:49

Absolutely no reason why not. I'll fiddle about and see if I can link you to my friend the travel journalist's site where he describes various longhauls including Kenya and Thailand with children of varying sizes.

dadofnone Wed 10-Apr-13 09:34:45

Of course you can travel. We did and still do. Our boys are 16 and 13 now and have been to so many countries now. The youngest one was 3 months when we did a package holiday and then a few months later we went independent. We normally book 4 bedroom roms in hostels and never had any trouble on long haul flights.

shoesandwine Wed 10-Apr-13 09:35:47

Oh thanks, DeepRedBetty, that's really helpful.

I think the bit that gets me down most is that MIL implies I wouldn't be able to fly back to see my family "because you can't take children on planes" (I live in her country). It would be really important for me for my kids to get a bit of exposure to the UK. I don't think she understands that.

Bejeena Wed 10-Apr-13 09:36:21

Well I live abroad too and we have always travelled a lot and spent our money on nice holidays and weekends away as opposed to stuff. We earn well and enjoy it. I felt/feel the same as you when thinking about conceiving.

Now I am 21 weeks pregnant, of course travel isn't off our agenda but in all honesty I think it is no longer a priority, our baby is. Don't get me wrong we'll still be seeing the world. But now it is no longer that important to us and maybe even less when the baby comes along. You might find you feel differently, you might not - who knows and more importantly only you should care. Just ignore other people.

I would personally rather my child grow up learning that experiences in life are more important than any amount of stuff or toys you can have. I have friends who are just about to leave Australia (been living there few years= and spend 4 months travelling around Asia with their 2 boys (3 & 5) before coming back to Europe to settle down. It is not impossible.

Flobbadobs Wed 10-Apr-13 09:37:05

YANBU, it will be a wonderful experience for your child! As long as you're prepared then go for it.

Blissx Wed 10-Apr-13 09:38:37

Of course you can travel-in my experience the younger they start and the more frequent, the more used to travelling they get and easier for you it becomes. Well, it did for me anyway. My SIL has basically resigned herself to staying in Britain till hers are at least 5 (her words) and it works for her. However, I still get the moans about how hard the car journeys are-not enough room in caravans-Centre Parcs too expensive etc. etc.

AnyoneforTurps Wed 10-Apr-13 09:39:19

I have friends who took a year off after their 2nd baby after he'd had his jabs) and went travelling with 2 kids under 3. They now have 4 kids and still travel lots. It can be done!

13loki Wed 10-Apr-13 09:39:30

My eldest is 7. He's been with us to Australia (3 or 4 times, I can't remember), America, Budapest, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Copenhagen, Brussels, Belfast and now we live in Sweden. It has changed the way we travel - I would never have considered an all-inclusive resort before, but now with nearly 3 kids it seems a little more attractive, but it hasn't stopped us travelling. We wouldn't now do what we did without kids and just turn up in a random city and try to make plans then and there. Be warned though, our son did get upset that "everyone else has been to the beach in Cyprus/Turkey/Greece". He wants a "normal" holiday.

MrscremeEgg Wed 10-Apr-13 09:40:18

It depends how high your standards are! It's not much fun 'roughing it' with children, in my opinion.

They also don't really tend to appreciate amazing views and the more difficult food, or the tiredness/jet lag that comes with travel.

Good things: activities you can do abroad: swimming, diving, mountain biking etc. lots of other cultures love children. Your kids making friends with local kids is quite special.

Hulababy Wed 10-Apr-13 09:40:51

No reason why you can't keep travelling with children.

Just be prepared to add in things to entertain the children as well as your self, and not too long spent travelling in each day, but it is perfectly doable.

Besides they are only tiny for a very short period of time - so as they get older each year you have less restrictions anyway.

Ujjayi Wed 10-Apr-13 09:41:14

Of course you can continue to travel. We always have (DCs 12 and 9). I find it amusing when people become all "doom & gloom" about overseas travel with little ones. That it is too much hassle etc etc. I'd rather do a flight than spend 5 hours in the car to Cornwall!

bdbfan Wed 10-Apr-13 09:41:15

Of course you can still travel with a child, and I say this as someone who flew back from Australia yesterday with a 4 and 6 year old. (and despite the utter exhaustion, the dcs were amazingly well behaved and coped brilliantly with 36 hrs of travelling)

The only thing I would say is that when your dc starts school, you need to avoid term time holidays.

noblegiraffe Wed 10-Apr-13 09:42:01

Just remember when they start school you are tied to the school holidays and it suddenly becomes a lot more expensive.

Rosa Wed 10-Apr-13 09:42:37

Bah humbug to your MIL . I travelled so much when I was small , my first memories just 4 of a safari in Africa - I can still see the elephant !!
I live abroad ( in Europe) and take the dds back at least once a year - usually alone and have done so since the first was 6 mths, now they are 7 &4. This involves 2 flights and a long transit normally at LGW. Due to family visiting which for me is a huge priority we have not done so much long haul with them but when we have it has been fine. We also do short breaks here .We are saving towards a big long haul for summer 2014 and I don't think twice.

Of course you can.

DS is 2.2 and has been to New York, Barcelona, Egypt and turkey.

We're not going abroad this year because his little sister will only be 6 months and my nerves can't handle my mother a baby and a toddler at an airport.

Hulababy Wed 10-Apr-13 09:43:20

MY SIL is Australian but they live in the UK. They have taken both their girls back to Australia every couple of years - and their age hasn't stopped them. Only of them was only a few months the first time. Eldest is now still only 6 but been 3 or 4 times.

DD is 11y and has done several long haul and short haul flights from being small.

Mondayschild78 Wed 10-Apr-13 09:43:30

We travelled a lot before we had DS1 and we continue to travel since we've had him too. We have probably curbed our more adventurous travelling as access to healthcare, supplies required etc feels much more important now we have DS with us. He's never been a great sleeper but he has always slept on the plane journey so it's been easy peasy!
We have also found so many other cultures to be very family friendly so it was quite a different experience in many ways and lovely and we felt very well looked after. Well that's been our experience anyway!

shoesandwine Wed 10-Apr-13 09:43:35

MrsCremeEgg - I see what you mean. I totally appreciate that we would have to change certain aspects of travel for at least some years. I'd be fine doing resorts with a kids club for a few years and leaving the more adventurous stuff until they're older.

TeWiSavesTheDay Wed 10-Apr-13 09:46:11

I think your friends are mad. You've clearly got enough money and experience to be able to put something together that will work for all of you, so why the hell not!

I used to travel a lot when I was young and I loved it (and airports grin)

As a parent the only thing that limits my ideas apart from money is that when they are babies/toddlers they often want to go to sleep quite early and can be grumpy if they don't get enough rest, and it's a question of whether you end up staying in all evening, or taking them out with you in a pushchair, but avoiding very noisy places... certainly nothing that would stop you going anywhere at all though!

BegoniaBampot Wed 10-Apr-13 09:47:18

we've travelled a lot with our kids from when they were a few months old. we did often keep it simple at first with child friendly hotels and seaside resorts etc. we still managed some far flung places like OZ, Hong Kong etc. think you might have to reign it in a little but it's up to you and how up for it you are. the small flat might have to go though, and you will have less money to spend.

SmellieWellies Wed 10-Apr-13 09:49:29

Your friends are mad, as others have said. I did volunteering overseas (Kenya, Mongolia, China) when i was in my 20s and PLENTY pf people not only travelled with their kids, but a fair few of them country hopped for years with their children.

hotcrosbum Wed 10-Apr-13 09:52:30

I backpacked around the world with ds. It was wonderful.

Astelia Wed 10-Apr-13 09:52:31

Our two have travelled widely through Europe, the US, India, Thailand, Oz, NZ, Vietnam. It is hard work and not much fun with under fours, so we did smaller breaks when they were young and gradually got more ambitious as they got older.

We always stay somewhere reasonable and factor in rest, a car or driver and washing machines.

neolara Wed 10-Apr-13 09:55:56

Before kids my dh and I traveled a fair bit, mostly long haul and involving trekking through jungles and up mountains. Now we've got 3 dcs all 8 and under, frankly the thought of doing anything like this seems like an impossible dream. We could go on those kinds of holidays, but I suspect it would be pretty unpleasant for all concerned. At any point we could have rebellion over looking at museums / walking further than the end of the road / eating food that isn't familiar / an insect bit me / just being tired etc. Add to that one dc having a serious food allergy complicated by not being able to speak fluently the language of the countries we are visiting - it's just not much fun. (I don't think my dcs are particularly intolerant, spoiled, or stroppy by the way - pretty normal.)

I've come to the conclusion that the best kind of holidays for families (or maybe I should say my family) is one where the kids are basically happy, because if they are NOT happy, then you, the parents, are the ones to suffer. For us, this means a good holiday is somewhere hot with a pool and the sea, slightly off the beaten track. Also, instead of getting our enjoyment from seeing new places, we now go with friends so we get enjoyment from spending time with people we like.

I think holidays are different after you have children and it can take a while to find out what works for you and your family.

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