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?

juneau Fri 12-Apr-13 09:17:50

Something else to add - while our travel destinations nowadays are a lot less 'exciting' than they used to be - I've been amazed and pleased by how many lovely places there are to visit close by. We went to Belgium three years ago. I can safely say that apart from maybe a city break I wouldn't have gone there otherwise, but we had a lovely week - the countryside is beautiful and there was TONS to see and do.

Ditto a holiday in Dorset a few months after DS2 arrived. It's so pretty down there and there's masses to see and do, lovely beaches, castles, charming towns, etc. So your travel will change, but it can still be lovely.

shoesandwine Wed 10-Apr-13 18:23:52

I'm feeling a lot better after reading these answers, thank you so much to everyone who replied.

The need to plan doesn't put me off - I'm not a spontaneous person at all smile I'm glad so many of you enjoy travelling with your kids. My nicest childhood memories all centre around holidays, so I'd hope to be able to pass that on.

forevergreek Wed 10-Apr-13 18:10:37

You can def be spontaneous still. I suppose it depends on how much planning you need to do.

Many times we will see cheap flights to say Copenhagen on wed, and fly fri eve for the weekend. Pushchair not possible, take a sling. Naptime web museum open, either sleep in sling/ pram or change Naptime. Museums may not have climbing walls, but children can cope fine, if boring to them we just do something they like before or after.

Unless you are traveling to outer Mongolia everything for a child can be brought pretty easy if you need or forget anything.

Example of our weekend in Poland is say-
fri eve flight ( get children to nap late), arrive 10.30pm in hotel ( youngest asleep in sling). Get some food if they want then settle down.
Sat spent leisurely breakfast in bed due to late night, head out around 11am, wander through bazaar/ church/ square. Grab some food and eat along river, 2pm children nap on picnic blanket under tree- we sunbath. Late afternoon we hied a tour cart/ cr thing with guide. Kids loved ride and info headsets, we see what we wanted. Evening meal out, back in hotel around 9.30pm. Kids sleep, we have wine on balcony.
Sun- wander gardens and parks, checkout hotel ( only have two small rucksacks anyway- it is only 2 days), head to river for boat trip. Lunch, taxi back to airport for 5pm flight. ( kids nap in taxi for hour). Fly- home.

Same pretty much as we would have done pre children.

Jinsei Wed 10-Apr-13 18:03:04

DD's first overseas trip was to rural India at five months old. She is now 7 and we've taken her on 6 long haul trips to Asian countries and 4 holidays in Europe. We've never had any problems at all, she loves travelling as much as we do! She absolutely relished our last 12-hour plane journey, is willing to try all kinds of different foods, loves trying out words in different languages and happily makes friends with the local children. Yes, we do now ensure that our itinerary includes some stuff for her, but we do the things that we want to do too and we all enjoy all of them. It can be quite fun to see things through a child's eyes. And kids learn so much from overseas trips! smile

I do remember meeting a woman in India when dd was small, and it was obviously a revelation to her that you could still travel after having children. I think she'd decided not to have a family as she thought it would stop her from living the kind of life that she wanted. I found that quite sad. At the end of the day, it's about sharing your life with your children - yes, you have to make adjustments of course, but you don't have to become an entirely different person!

If travel is that important to you and your DH, OP, you will find a way to work your family life around it. And you may find that you start to see the world from a whole new perspective! smile

Empress77 Wed 10-Apr-13 17:57:52

"it's never the adventure you have as an adult, you'll have to carefully plan everything around the child, they won't remember it anyway"

- It will be a different adventure but still such an epic adventure. Part of the fun of travelling is the planning and itll just be different planning. And they may not remember some boring museum or some things but their definitely going to be very positively influenced by playing with the local children on the beaches, remember the first time they see an elephant etc. And surely the pushchair could be left at home.

Im very for the view that travel and a child is an adventure.

popebenedictsp45 Wed 10-Apr-13 17:32:20

"You can travel, but you can't have a life dedicated to travel and adventure and have a child. Sorry."

I disagree. We're lucky because DH and I both work in an 'exotic' location that is on the doorstep of lots of affordable and pretty amazing countries. We moved here precisely for that reason: travel and adventure. It's not the same, no, we don't go out to restaurants at night and we can't snooze in a hammock all day. But we DO go away on a whim and we have plenty of adventures, even with a toddler in tow.

realtalk Wed 10-Apr-13 16:37:31

Sure you can travel.

It'll never be the same though. All those spontaneous moments where you decide on a whim, hey let's go and see X - those won't happen. Things need planning. Is it pushchair accessible? Does it only open at naptime? Or you want to go to a museum - too bad, it's not child friendly. You want to check out the local nightlife, too bad, your child's up sick all night, and even if they weren't, you either have to trust a stranger with them or you can't go.

No last minute getaway when you spot a deal or decide you like the look of Poland. There's school to consider, you've booked the childminder and the grandparents are coming over. You can't go in February, silly, that's in term time! No, you'll have to go in the holidays, where if you're going anywhere but the most obscure places (you won't be able to for various reasons) it'll be overrun with children and vastly more expensive.

Sure you can drag your kid round to Mozambique and Saudi Arabia like several posters on the thread, but it's never the adventure you have as an adult, you'll have to carefully plan everything around the child, they won't remember it anyway, it'll cost twice as much and take ten times the planning.

You can travel, but you can't have a life dedicated to travel and adventure and have a child. Sorry.

elsbells13 Wed 10-Apr-13 16:14:20

Speaking from the other side of things, I was a child whose parents took me everywhere - it was great! They lived abroad and I went to Africa at ten days old, we travelled every year to Asia, Middle East, east Asia, US, Australia. Very, very lucky. I have great memories of these times and I'm sure your children will too. I think my parents were just of a generation that they did not worry about these things and children were expected to just fit in. And it was a time when airlines had really poor entertainment and everyone smoked, not ideal for children!

SmellieWellies Wed 10-Apr-13 14:51:45

Agree about travelling with toddlers not being that much fun.. especially long haulk if they are that little bit too young to understand that the plane trip will come to an end, and too young to watch the inflight entertainment. We do short stuff (europe) when they are little then will do the bigger more adventurous stuff when they are old enough to also find it an adventure.

Alligatorpie Wed 10-Apr-13 14:46:05

Thanks so much for all the safari info. smile

OP - i am seeing a trend of people who travel a lot with kids live overseas. Maybe it is easier once you are overseas as you need to travel to get home or anywhere else.

And backpacking with a baby is easy, all you need is a sling, clothes (easy to wash and dry in hot countries and diapers are available everywhere.) travelling with a toddler - not so fun. BA does bassinets untilthe baby is 2, so we fly with them as much as we can.

Mumsyblouse Wed 10-Apr-13 13:41:17

But I have loads of friends who travel extensively with their two, the one thing that the travellers tend to have in my experience is money, so they get ok flight times, stay in a lovely villa in an interesting place and basically throw money at the problem. I think going cheap is harder especially if one child is quite unadaptable (see above!)

AvonCallingBarksdale Wed 10-Apr-13 13:40:58

The absolute, only thing that stops us from travelling far and wide with the DC is the money!! I travelled loads with my parents when I was little and it was fab. It's something I really miss and I would love the DCs to see more of the world than they currently are (Europe once a year...)

Mumsyblouse Wed 10-Apr-13 13:39:29

Someone said it depends on the personality of the child and I agree with this to some extent. If you have one easy going child who loves new experiences, your wings will not be clipped in the slightest. If you have one like my youngest, who hates new things, hates new food, hates routines and change then travelling is doable but there are a lot of tantrums and a lot of eating chips and nothing else. It doesn't stop me going abroad, as I think it's very important not to just give in and give up, but it does affect the spontenaity of the whole trip, as she has sobbed through some really amazing experiences like midnight fireworks (too loud) and it does then spoil it for the rest of us. What can you do?

EspressoMonkey Wed 10-Apr-13 13:38:12

I think whether you can travel and have fun will depend entirely on your DCs.

Mine are 3 and 1 and we have not travelled back to the UK as much as i thought we would. DC1 is very travel sick, so any journey over 30 mins means several changes of clothes and lots of disinfectant. DC2 has food allergies and so can't eat anything on an airline. DC1 is quite used to flying but still gets very over excited at the airport and tends to bolt a lot, by the end of a flight i feel like i could really do with a holiday from the DCs, not with them.

However my sister's DCs are a dream to travel with; they are happy to fly, not too loud, not travel sick, will sleep anywhere, no food allergies etc.

Wait until your DC/DCs arrive then see how you go. Pre DCs we would travel a lot, approx 10 - 15 foreign trips a year. Now we average about 2 - 3. I don't miss travel that much now. Funny how your priorities change when you have DCs.

WorriedMummy73 Wed 10-Apr-13 13:36:54

Surely the question here is not whether you 'could' travel with your kids, but whether you'd 'want' to?

I have 3 dc and there is now way in hell I'd take them on a plane, long-haul or otherwise as both DS's are spawn of Satan and would somehow make the plane crash into an island, a la Lost. It would NOT be fun!

If it was just DD, I'd think about it. And probably still say no. grin

popebenedictsp45 Wed 10-Apr-13 13:35:56

Toast Colombia was part of our tour! It's an amazing country.

popebenedictsp45 Wed 10-Apr-13 13:34:08

Absolutely no reason you can't travel! Your friends/colleagues must lead very boring lives.

We've just taken our toddler on a month long backpacking trip around South America! It isn't always easy, but we had a great time.

Toasttoppers Wed 10-Apr-13 13:28:14

DS had visited seven different countries by the time he was about five. However there are some I will not visit due to high chance of illness and just a bit too dangerous. DH would still back pack round Columbia if he had it his way but I won't do stuff like that.

Obviously there is the cost implication and of course you may just be too knackered.

sashh Wed 10-Apr-13 13:14:46

OP

I worked with someone who took her new baby to visit his relatives in a number of middle eastern countries.

She said the only time she felt nervous was leaving Baghdad with tanks rolling in on the other side of the road.

Your options with children will change. You might prioritise differently and once the children are in school in can be difficult but if you get itchy feet, you get itchy feet.

forevergreek Wed 10-Apr-13 12:57:55

Of course. We have done many trips. Some luxury hotels, some backpacking trips.non those trips we still pack extra light, have x2 toddlers now and basically travel with a toddler in sling on back and a smallish rucksack on front each. They can both walk when they like and we carry when tired. We travel light ie just clothes basically and some first aid, and buy things like nappies/ suncream etc on arrival.

Some people need half the house to travel so it depends on you as a family. For example we could have spent the last 3 years travelling with a double pram/ travel cots/ portable highchairs/ toys. Instead we sling abroad, they co sleep when abroad or now a bit older maybe a spare bed or matteress ( they are 2 and 3). We fits naps into the day, so they aren't as tired in eve ( many countries eat later than uk), toys are usually gathered along the way when there ( ie we will just buy a new cheap bucket and spade if at beach, then leave for another child when we go).

This year we have a summer sports/ hiking holiday in the alps planned. We will be based in one location in a log cabin on a lake. We will hire mountain bikes with kids seats/ trailer etc on arrival, there are boats etc we can use. A couple of trips will take us away for a night so will just pack a few bits into rucksack and stay in a b and b for the night. Later in the year we have a long haul flight to brazil for a friends wedding, will prob stay in hotel for a week for that, then go off exploring the next week

pinkdelight Wed 10-Apr-13 12:42:57

You can still travel, as lots have said, people do, sure you will too. But this:

"Travel is the whole focus of our year"

Will change. They will be the whole focus of your year. You can't really imagine it now, it's impossible so not worth upsetting yourself about. Just enjoy your travelling now and see what happens. It'd be boring if we never changed after all.

lightsandshapes Wed 10-Apr-13 12:21:19

Traveling WILL be different with a little one. You cannot be so self-centred as to go when and where you like, dining out in the eve will be a lot more difficult. Sorry to burst your bubble, but things will be different. If you want to maintain your lifestyle exactly as it is don't have kids or your will be resentful (I have been a big traveller too but happily settled down now with my little one - he comes first)

Beamae Wed 10-Apr-13 12:17:04

It takes a lot more planning but if travel is important to you, you will definitely be able to make it work. We first flew long haul with our twins when they were 6 months old. Night flight was easy. Day flight back was horrendous with more feeds and nappy changes so lesson learned! We have also had to change the style of our holidays. We used to just book a flight and maybe the first couple of nights of accommodation and then travel around wherever we fancied, but now we are doing resorts. We have to think about their eating schedules and whether we can get hold of fresh milk or formula, sterile water, nappies etc. Resorts aren't our bag at all but the children are still young, so at some stage we will be able to be more adventurous again. Our children love holidays. Love flying. Love hotels! Two very 5 star toddlers. grin

specialsubject Wed 10-Apr-13 12:16:55

holidays and 'travelling' are the same thing - the latter is the more pretentious term. :-)

of course you aren't locked in the house! there are some things you won't be able to do with kids at a certain age (the aforementioned safari as an example) - so you do it later. There are some things that you will think too difficult for the reward. Children don't generally care about scenery but there are things that you may not notice that will fascinate them.

it will be more expensive and once school starts, there are some things you may no longer want to or be able to do for a few years. And of course you have to do all the organising for them for a while.

if children shouldn't be on planes, it is news to me and the thousands of kids that fly every day. :-)

StanleyLambchop Wed 10-Apr-13 12:11:01

A lot comes down to the personality of the child, which you cannot predict in advance. One of mine is really adventurous, would travel anywhere, the other is complete opposite, gets very nervous about going away, needs routine & familiarity. It really is not worth forcing her to get on a plane when she will hate it and react badly- holidays are supposed to be relaxing! So for now we take UK holidays so we can drive ourselves, and just go home early if we need to. Actually we are really enjoying visiting different parts of the country and I really am not missing going abroad at all at the moment. (I also used to travel alot and could not ever see myself giving that up!)

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