We’ve heard all sorts of reasons why it’s not a good idea to travel with a baby, or why people are hesitant. Everyone wants to do what’s best for their babies. We love our babies fiercely, they become our whole world. I get it, I’m right there with you! But if you really want to continue traveling or start to travel when you have a baby, you can. I’m going to debunk some common myths we’ve heard about why you should not travel with your baby. They are all valid reasons, but hopefully, this will break down some of the barriers to traveling with a baby for those who want to.
Reasons NOT to travel with your baby
1. It’s too difficult
Perhaps the most common myth, some people think it’s too difficult to travel with babies. I’m not going to pretend it’s easy, but it’s not as difficult as some imagine either. The baby market is huge and we’ve gotten into this mindset that babies “need” a lot of stuff. We certainly have our fair share of baby stuff, and then some. If you think critically about what a baby really needs, however, it’s not all that much. You can leave most everything for baby at home, and still travel lightly with a baby in tow. You can borrow (e.g., crib from the hotel), rent (e.g., stroller from BabyQuip) and buy (e.g., diapers) at your destination to help move a little easier from place to place.
In terms of activities, unless you’re doing extreme sports, you can usually carry along a baby with you anywhere. Some places may not allow children, but still allow babies. Take advantage of this short window!
In my travel experience, love for babies is universal and relatable. More people have proactively offered to help us while we were traveling with our baby (e.g., carrying the stroller off a bus, distracting and entertaining a crying baby on a plane) than without. It’s great, let people help you!
2. It won’t be relaxing, it’ll be stressful
Taking care of a baby is a lot of work. This is true no matter where you are. Nevertheless, while on a trip, typically you can slow down from your regular life and instead go with the flow. This in and of itself tends to take the pressure off and helps everyone relax. Invite your parents, other family members and/or friends to join your trip and I’m sure they will be glad to help you out.
Use your new environment to help you when traveling with your baby. Babies are so curious and can be entertained easily, being in a new place means there are so many new things for you to show and share with your baby. The excitement of exploring someplace new can give you some extra energy. It also helps (hopefully) not having to work and worry about household duties while traveling, so you can focus more energy on your baby, special family time and fun travel adventures.
If your baby is on a set schedule, you may be concerned about how travel will affect it. I think babies are more adaptable than we sometimes give them credit for. I also think it’s good to get baby used to different places and experiences. Most babies will realize, either through sight or smell, they’re not home and won’t necessarily expect the same schedule. You will have to do things a little differently, but it’s possible. Pay attention to your baby’s cues and anticipate his needs to keep him happy throughout your travel. Babies sense our stress level, so try to relax and enjoy yourself, and the baby will follow your lead.
3. It’s not safe
Safety is relative and personal. Everyone has a different comfort level with taking risks. You can select your travel destination based on your own comfort level. I check the U.S. Department of State’s travel advisory site when planning trips. We’ve traveled to countries identified as levels 1, 2 and 3 as a couple, but only levels 1 and 2 with our baby.
In regards to the baby’s health and wellbeing, you should discuss any travel plans with your baby’s doctor beforehand. Remember, there are babies all over the world and medical help in most places, but you must consider your baby’s personal medical needs and your comfort level with different medical options in case of an emergency at your destination. For both our babies, we consciously decided not to fly with them until they had their 2-month-old vaccines. Plenty of people travel before this point, and many parents wait until later, everyone has a different comfort level.
4. It’ll be too expensive
Travel can be expensive, but you can also travel cheaply. It depends on your personal travel choices of where, when and what you do while at your destination. Regardless, it’s unlikely that bringing along your baby will increase your travel expenses by much, if at all. Flights are where you may need to spend a little money. If you fly domestically, you only pay taxes for a lap baby; and if internationally, you pay a small percentage of the adult fare and taxes. For other forms of transportation, attraction tickets, food, accommodations, and other travel things, you probably will not have to pay anything for your baby.
5. They won’t remember
Yes, it’s unlikely your baby will remember any early trips you bring her on. She may sleep through an attraction or landmark. Your baby also probably won’t remember you bringing her to see Santa the first few times, or on that boat. Even still, you do these things and many others knowing she won’t remember. We do things with our babies because we as parents want to, or we know it’s good for them, or maybe we do it for someone else in the family. It’s okay to travel with your baby because you want to, even if she will not remember. You will remember the fun family time and there will certainly be photos to share with her when she’s older.
If you need more reasons why it’s actually great to travel with your baby, check out 5 reasons why we travel with our baby.
- 5 reasons why we travel with our baby
- How early is too early to travel with your baby?
- Preparing for your baby’s first flight
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