5 reasons why we travel with our baby

Why in the world do we take our baby away from his comfy home environment? Disrupt his routine? Wrangle squirmy on a 15-hour flight? Carry a sweaty love for hours trekking? It’s not always easy, sometimes it’s really difficult, but we think it’s important. If you want to travel with your baby, here are some reasons why we travel with ours that can convince you to do it too.

Reasons why you should travel with your baby

1. For the love of travel

Travel was a huge part of our lives as individuals, as a dating couple and a married couple. We couldn’t imagine stopping our travels only because we expanded our family. Travel is our passion, and while I think it’s important and natural to do things our kids want to do, I think it’s also important for parents to take some time for their own passions. We tend to be happier and healthier people when we take care of ourselves, and I think pursuing your passions (even if only a tiny bit of time here and there) is important.

If you were fulfilled by hiking pre-baby, I’m going to bet you’ll find a way to hike post-baby. You might get a hiking baby carrier and avoid extreme temperatures. Maybe when that baby becomes a toddler you let him down to walk part of the trail and it gives you so much joy that your own child is experiencing what you’re so passionate about. We love to travel, plain and simple, and babies were not going to change that. 

Jessica & Steve on Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska

2. It’s easy

What? Let me expand on that. While traveling with a baby is more difficult than as only a couple, it is easier than with small children. Typically the younger the baby, the easier it is to travel with one. They only need milk for sustenance (if breastfeeding even easier), sleep a lot and on the go, and their little clothes don’t take up much room in your luggage. They can actually be great travel partners. 

3. It’s cheap

Adding a baby to your travels should barely increase your travel expenses. On US domestic flights, babies can fly on a parent’s lap for free until they’re 2 years old. You only have to pay taxes which should be minimal. On international flights, you usually have to pay 10% of an adult fare for a lap baby (e.g., where an adult fare is $500, you would pay $50 for a lap baby) and taxes and fees (typically more than domestic flights).

In my experience, you shouldn’t have to pay for babies to go on a train, bus or ferry. It’s unlikely you’ll have to pay anything extra for accommodations with a baby. Baby only drinks milk (at least for a while), which should be free from mom or the same formula expense you would pay if at home. Normally you don’t have to pay for any attraction/event/museum ticket fees for baby. You shouldn’t have to pay much more, if anything, extra when traveling with your baby.

Steve, Jessica & Elden (6 weeks old) in Austin, Texas

4. It enriches travel experiences

Although parents around the world have very different lives and customs when it comes to babies, truly, babies are not actually that different from one another. You can draw comparisons across baby and parent life for the first year or so. Have you seen Thomas Balmès’s documentary Babies? It’s fascinating! We have had so many interactions with locals because of Elden, and if not for his presence they wouldn’t have happened. Babies break down cultural barriers, and that is where travel magic happens.

5. It helps shape baby

Even though the baby doesn’t realize he’s traveling and won’t remember the earliest moments, the travel still affects him. We think it has a positive shaping effect that will last through life. Babies learn and absorb everything around them, quicker than we realize. Exposing them to different sounds, different smells and eventually different tastes. Letting them see and experience cultures from all over the world, and gain an understanding and appreciation for life beyond their home. Having them realize early on that not all people look like, talk like or act like them and that’s perfectly okay. Mark Twain said it best, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

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