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.

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.

HazleNutt Wed 10-Apr-13 10:01:44

YANBU, my niece has been travelling since she was 2 months old and DSil has always had several long haul trips per year. The kid has been to more countries than most people in their lifetime! Sure, takes some more organisation and you need to haul more luggage around, but besides that, why not? I'm already planning our first trip with DS who is due in June.

The people claiming you can't are like a friend of mine, who claims as well that the reason she stopped travelling is because of her DS. She has never tried. Her DS is the same age as my niece and a very well behaved little boy, I'm sure would be a total pleasure to travel with. But she won't and simply believes it's not possible.

juneau Wed 10-Apr-13 10:06:24

You sound a lot like my DH and me before we had kids - we were living in the US at the time and we travelled back here a couple of times a year, plus a couple of city breaks and a longer trip each year. We loved to travel, we had the money to do it, and our passion for travel was a big thing we shared.

For the first two years of DS1's life we were still living in the US and I wasn't working, so I brought him over here 2-3 times per year to visit my family. Now we have a second DC and live back in the UK, so we don't choose to do long-haul travel. I know families that do, but for us it's much easier to drive or keep flights short - particularly with a toddler - which is the worst age for travel IME.

So, we still travel, but the way in which we travel and the destinations we choose have changed a lot. In the year before DS1 was born we went to Rio, Alaska, Savannah and back to the UK - three long-haul trips and one city break. Last year we flew to the Alps for a week's skiing, we drove to France for two weeks in the summer, and we had a long weekend in the Cotswolds in Oct. It's a bit of a come-down, TBH, but the stress of going somewhere exotic is too much with small DC and they don't care where they go, so it's a case of balancing what you need to have any enjoyment at all (for us, that's some cultural diversions), with what they want (a sand pit, a toddler pool, a petting zoo, etc). As they get older I'm looking forward to sharing some more adventurous destinations with them, but for now it's just easier to keep it simple. And, of course, they don't care whether they go to Cornwall or the Caribbean.

DeepRedBetty Wed 10-Apr-13 10:08:10

this is my friend's site. I know he's written a book about doing Thailand with kids, at the time they were a nine year old girl and three year old boy I think.

Alligatorpie Wed 10-Apr-13 10:12:02

These sort of posts depress me. Children do not end your life, you are still the person your were before you had a baby, you just need to adapt a bit. Why not focus on sharing your passion for travel and adventure with your children?

When dd1 was four months old, we spent 2 months travelling around three countries in SE Asia. She has been to several countries but only one all-inclusive - Mexico when she was 2 and we all needed a relaxing break. We now live overseas - dd1 is an amazing traveller, dd2 is almost 10 months and has been on 11 flights. I have flown without dh on a long haul journey with a baby and a six year old and they were both great during the 27 hour journey.

I recently signed up for a travel with kids blog, its called Walking on Travels and would be good for new parents and is an ok read for people used to travelling with children.

"You can't take children on planes"? Really? Has she ever been on a plane? Ignore her- she sounds like a loon. Of course you can travel with children.

shoesandwine Wed 10-Apr-13 10:13:06

Thanks to everyone for your stories, it's nice to get an insight into what everyone else is doing and to hear that we're not completely insane.

Alligatorpie Wed 10-Apr-13 10:16:28

Just reread my post. It sounds a bit ranty - sorry, it just drives me nuts when people complain how they can't travel due to having kids. You can, you just have to adjust your expectations smile

shoesandwine Wed 10-Apr-13 10:16:53

*Alligatorpie" - she can be a bit of a loon to be honest smile She generally disapproves of travel because she thinks it's a waste of money and she resents the fact that my DH enjoys travelling to see my family (???), so I think she secretly hopes they'll be scrubbed out of the picture altogether. To be fair to her, it is a different culture, she's from a very conservative rural area of southern Europe and hasn't quite accepted the fact that we haven't chosen to move into her village, let alone lead our outrageous lifestyles smile

manicinsomniac Wed 10-Apr-13 10:28:01

Absolutely, of course you can!

My eldest was born during my second year of university. During her first summer (8-9 months old) she came to Brazil with me doing voluntary work with street children and travelling, her second summer she came back to Brazil doing much of the same and her 3rd summer she travelled round India with me, stopping for several weeks in an orphanage.

After that I had a job and a year after that I had my second daughter but we still do a fair amount. The girls are half Brazilian so we go there a lot (not because I have any contact with their father or his family but because I want them to know their other culture and speak their other language) and have many friends there and a project we are very invovled in. I've also taken them interrailing with my sister around Europe and to Africa. This summer we're going to the Amazon.

To me it's so much more important that they have these experiences than stuff. My children are well travelled (well actually they're not because it's mainly one country but they go there a lot!) and do a lot of activities but they have very little in the way of possessions. I don't believe they need them.

lljkk Wed 10-Apr-13 10:29:22

What if your kids hate new situations? Or have medical needs that are hard to meet on the road? I know a New Age Traveller family & their lifestyle is very disruptive to the children's social lives (imho). Travelling with my kids is my idea of Hell (did loads of travel before DC born, and my family are 4000 miles away so still do some big trips).

An extra person is as expensive as an extra adult from about age 8.

Don't mean to sound down, just that OP sounds a little naive about how much children change lives. Obviously many can travel widely with 1-2 kids just fine. Travelling with one small person is a heck of a lot easier than travelling with 2+, though. So you might hope you don't get twins.

Xiaoxiong Wed 10-Apr-13 10:32:44

YANBU, but I agree with juneau that babies are great because they are portable, older kids will enjoy new things and a different culture, but toddlers are the worst age for travelling. You just have to adjust your expectations slightly, and be realistic about what's possible, so it may not be a question of "giving up" travel but perhaps adjusting your plans during the toddler years.

DS is 16 months and has been to the US twice, Spain twice, and Kenya a couple of months ago. We went on safari under canvas a couple of years ago with a friend's four year old which was absolutely fine but that was probably the youngest age limit I can imagine enjoying it.

However, odd things do sometimes trip you up - we were planning to go to Spain this weekend which we have postponed because DH has to work, and the problem really is the car seat. We can't get where we're going without a car or taxi, I can't find a taxi company that will guarantee they'll turn up with a car seat, and no one will help me with a Britax 2-way elite on Ryanair while also wrangling DS and a rucksack.

I have traveled alone before just fine with DS in a soft carrier (no pram), co-sleeping (no travel cot) and a maxi-cosi pebble (easily carried in one hand), but now he's in an ERF car seat it's a PITA travelling alone if a car is necessary.

We will certainly be travelling a lot again when he's older and the logistics are a little easier.

BertieBotts Wed 10-Apr-13 10:34:43

Read "My Mother Wore Combat Boots" or "The Hip Mama Survival guide" - both fab real life accounts of mothers/families going travelling with their children!

Alligatorpie Wed 10-Apr-13 10:44:56

Xioaxiong - do you remember the safari you went on? I wanted to go to Kenya and do a safari at xmas (dd's will be almost 8 and 18 months) but i can't find one that takes children of that age. They all want me to leave dd2 at the camp while we go out for trips, which i don't want to do. Any info you have would be great. I think we will go to Zanzibar for a beach holiday if I can't find one.

Op - sorry for the hijak!

soapnuts Wed 10-Apr-13 10:49:11

of course you can still travel - of course you may not want to for a while if/when you have several small children and not much energy spare! (that's my situation) but DS1 has been some very cool places and he's only 3 - now we've got DS2 we're not massively interested in travel but I know that's a passing stage (he's only 3 months.... already been halfway around the world though!!) - for us it's a bit more important to have some time in the UK (we live abraod - it's still travelling but home to home if you see what i mean) but we still have plans to take them out of school for a year when theyre a bit older and they can appreciate it and there will be other trips before then - kids may change your life for a while but it doesn't change who you are - if you love travel, chances are your kids will too!.

For those people who doubt you, just nod and agree - they have their opinion, you have yours (and guess who wins!) or mention that you can't wait til your baby can swim so you can take them white water rafting down the zambezi and watch their face!

i did huge amounts of travel as a child - so did my mum (as a child too), i adored it and still do. don't let it depress you - yes your life changes when you have kids but it's pretty temporary even if it does. and def right about start them early - everyone complains about their kids flying - DS1 is a bloomin angel on board a plane wish he'd learn to be like hat the rest of the time

also i think travelling with kids really opens doors - I can't go anywhere here (asia) without strangers striking up conversations with/about the kids - it's a whole new level of experience.

BarredfromhavingStella Wed 10-Apr-13 10:54:58

Alligator you'll probably have to book a private vehicle as the age limits are for other peoples comfort-a lot of the animals are disturbed by noise. I think the age limit when we went was 7.

lljkk Wed 10-Apr-13 10:55:55

If you want inspiration you could check out Dervla Murphy's book Where the Indus is Young. I was born about same time as her little girl & often think that could have been my childhood adventure.

But as a parent I would have lost all nerve for it. Give me civilisation instead, thanks.

whokilleddannylatimer Wed 10-Apr-13 11:06:18

I have been thinking of doing this for a few months tbh.

We have only ever spent the holidays in uk/spain/greece but we have been talking about using the six week holidays each year to back pack somewhere. Mine are older but i wish i had done it before constraints of school.

kinkyfuckery Wed 10-Apr-13 11:08:51

You sound like you are as well prepared as you can be. You are right, all you need is more planning and organisation and it's perfectly do-able.

kinkyfuckery Wed 10-Apr-13 11:09:50

Maybe one of the reasons people feel travel isn't as easy with kids is because of the timings and trying to fit everything in? i.e. juggling holiday dates with annual leave from work, but also with school holidays etc?

MummytoMog Wed 10-Apr-13 11:11:36

My DD went to Hong Kong with DH when she was 8 months old. No bother. Cathay Pacific were awesome (especially when they got trapped by the ash cloud) and the flight was not a problem, very helpful air hostesses, nice little bassinet for bubba to sleep in, very contented baby. My friends went backpacking to India with their one year old in a backpack, my other friends took their four month old to Barbados. All very possible.

Empress77 Wed 10-Apr-13 11:15:18

I cant wait to take my children to Africa for the first time, i think its totally totally doable -my Mum is also horrified by the idea-but having been there plenty of times I know it will be fine. You can always go to places youve been before and can know it to be ok & know your way around abit etc. And if your travelling at your own pace you can just take your time to your childs needs - like planning shorter journeys - cutting back on those horrific 15 hour bus journeys through india etc. My sister took her boy camping for a few months of her maternity leave & he loved it and is such an outdoor boy now its brilliant, and she loved it as they took it really slow and relaxed. Plenty of overland companies like dragoman do family orientated safari trips too to make travelling super easy. Only thing I would worry is health wise - My brother took his son to barbados very early and he got ill there and had some terrible times in the hospital. My dh is a doctor so I feel we are very lucky in that regard - id definitely think on health stuff/first aid etc & pack well equipped - planning ahead & knowing where the good hospitals are in case of an emergency maybe too?

Empress77 Wed 10-Apr-13 11:24:42

oo just looking on amazon at those books mentioned above (thanks for that!) and see lonely planet even do a travel with children book!

cantspel Wed 10-Apr-13 11:26:31

All depends what you mean by traveling. Are you talking a nice flight and then pick up a rental car then staying in a hotel or with family or trekking around the amazon in a canoe.

The first one is called going on holiday and the second one traveling.
I never stopped going on holiday long and short haul but i wouldn't fancy traveling with a baby.

Plus you have the fact you will probably be skint by the time you have to go back to work and start paying out for childcare and just as skint if you decide to be a sahm.

shoesandwine Wed 10-Apr-13 11:41:18

All of the links are great - thanks so much smile

Xiaoxiong Wed 10-Apr-13 11:48:14

Alligator we (ie. my aunt who lives out there) organised our own trip and hired our own guides. The friends with the four year old live out there too so we joined forces - they drove their own jeep and had their own carseats and stuff. The rest of us were in a landrover and there were two guides and three guys sorting the camp. I don't think it would be too difficult to organise a bespoke trip if you really wanted to... but now I have a nearly 18 month old DS I do know that would be quite difficult to keep him both interested and quiet for a few hours on game drives.

Never been to Zanzibar but I can highly recommend Lamu for little ones, Shela beach might have been designed for toddlers. Having done both I would rent a villa in Shela and save the safari for a couple of years till your DC is a little older smile

Those of you going to Africa, do be aware of certain illnesses - DS got rotavirus while we were in Nairobi. While you can get sick staying right here at home, I didn't realise it was quite so endemic that kids there are routinely jabbed for it and the travel clinic here in the UK didn't advise me of it either. He was fine, the children's hospital was brilliant and we had insurance, but he did take a while to get over it and also had a bad reaction (IPT) afterwards. We also made sure to avoid malarial areas in the wet season.

girlwhowearsglasses Wed 10-Apr-13 11:50:44

Also worth remembering that kids are all different - chances are YOUR kid will enjoy travel, as you do. Also one child = much easier. We have twins and an older one and I dearly wish we'd travelled when they were small - even though it would have been bloody hard work - now they have to pay through the nose

cleanandclothed Wed 10-Apr-13 11:55:51

Of course you can. It will be a bit different though. Babies (4 months to 8 months) are quite easy - portable, cute, and breastfeeding, so you only really need to worry about nappies (and carseats if you want to use a car). And they are cheap! Crawling to about 20 months is more difficult as they are into everything but don't have any sense of danger etc. Get one more holiday in before they are 2 and you have to pay for a seat. 2 children are much more difficult than 1 so do as much as you can with the first, then it won't be so scary doing it with 2!

Emsmaman Wed 10-Apr-13 11:57:01

Absolutely you can still travel - but it's likely to be different! All our travel now involves visiting family as we live in the UK but are from Europe and Aus, so of course everyone wants to see DD as much as possible and it gives us free babysitting once we get there smile. DD 2yo has been to Aus twice and various bits of Europe where family is many times. It was easier to travel when she was under a year as I wasn't working so I could go alone to see family and DH could join on weekends. Flying alone with a baby is fine - you get lots more help at the airport than you would with your DH! Also since back at work all my A/L goes on the days I need to stay home when DD is sick so that has curbed any chance of proper holidays, however as working part-time we can do long weekends away.

Beksybob Wed 10-Apr-13 12:00:21

For me, it all comes down to money. I'm really keen to go to Mexico. Keen for a baby too! It think it has to be one or the other.

I have heard of baby-packing though. Not sure how it works with all the nappies and laundry and whatever else you need for a baby...

Flying long haul next month with a 1yo and 2yo. I'll be back after that to give you my revised opinion on how possible it is to travel with children grin

Emsmaman Wed 10-Apr-13 12:08:38

One more thing, I also look forward to the possibility of being able to leave DD with her grandparents for a couple (few?) days and being able to drive or jet off somewhere with DH for a less child friendly holiday, hiking or something like that. Of course I know people who have done this when their children have been tiny babies but personally I think I will be comfortable at around 3yo.

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!)

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. :-)

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

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)

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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.

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?

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 13:41:17

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!)

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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