Traveling With Children: Why Traveling With Young Children is Great
Traveling With Young Children
When you tell other people that you are going on vacation with young children, or are going to travel with young children, you get hit with the usual responses. Why are you traveling with children? Is it really a vacation if you bring your children? Won’t it be a pain to have to deal with them? I say, let people continue to ask those questions. I’m going to tell you the reasons why traveling with young children is actually a great idea.
You will be able to enjoy all of your favorite vacation or road trip activities, but with the added benefit of sharing that experience with your children. Part of being a parent, and part of having children, is to teach them, spend time with them, and share your experiences with them. What better experience to share than a vacation in a new place. Your children will be grateful that you took them on vacation or a trip away from home and were able to experience a new place and a new culture.
Under 2 Are Free!
Children under the age of 2 are always free. Also, some places will not charge until the child reaches an older age. This would apply to activities that require purchasing tickets or seats. Usually, the rule is, if your child can sit on your lap and does not take up another seat, they are free. Be sure to look into specifics of the places you are going to visit, but you will be safe until at least 2 years old.
My wife and I traveled to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida in January (2014) with our son, who was only 8 months old at the time. Family and friends thought we were crazy for taking an 8 month old to Disney. They thought the flight would be miserable and figured he was too young to appreciate Disney. I am happy to report that they could not have been more wrong.
Do you enjoy traveling with young children?
First of all, we only had to pay for two plane tickets, not three. Because my son was an infant, we did not need to purchase a separate seat for him. He was considered a lap seat and sat with my wife the entire flight. Because he was so young, he slept through the majority of the flight, as it was only a 3 hour flight. Even though we did not have to pay for his ticket, we were able to check a car seat (although we did not because we did not need it in Disney), check his stroller at the gate so it was ready for us upon arrival, and bring an extra carry-on bag, in the form of a diaper bag (or similar bag). We were still allowed to check our baggage as well as have carry-on bags.
Unfortunately, I did over hear a woman complaining, obviously louder than she thought, that she had to sit near a baby. Ironically, this woman was petrified of flying and made more noise than the baby. I guess what I am saying is to not worry about what other people say. Your baby will be fine on a flight.
Suggested Items to Bring
Plenty of clothes
Jackets (children get cold easier than adults)
Pacifier/Stuffed animal/Other security blanket
If you plan on driving to your destination, traveling with young children can still be fun. When my son was only 1 month old, my wife and I drove across the country. We drove from Colorado to Rhode Island, but took a huge detour, swooping south into Tennessee to check out Gatlinburg. A great aspect of driving with young children, especially infants, is that they do not cost you anything extra. Of course, you have to pay for gas and food for the adult travelers. If you are driving with infants, they will not account for additional food costs (unless you formula feed). Because my son could not yet eat solid foods, we did not have to buy him any food on the road.
Because of his age, he slept the majority of the trip. My wife did still sit in the back seat (because he is our first child and was only 1 month old). We did have to change his diaper often, but other than that it was no hassle at all to travel with him.
My son is still under 2, and my wife and I continue to take him places. Similar to the flight, he gets free admission to those places that charge an admission fee. We have taken him to place such as zoos and aquariums.
Most notably, we took him to Walt Disney World, as I mentioned. We did not have to pay for a separate ticket for him to go to any of the theme parks because of his age. We were all able to enjoy the parks without having to pay for a third ticket.
We also saw a Cirque Du Soleil: La Nouba show while we were in Disney. Let me start by saying that the show was fantastic. It was worth every penny and I will definitely see it next time I go to Disney. That being said, we did not have to pay for a separate ticket for my son. During the beginning of the show, he was having a great time looking at all of the moving people with all of their different colors on. About fifteen minutes into the show he managed to fall asleep. This was impressive considering the noise and lights. Anyways, he did not wake up until we got up to leave.
When we stopped in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, we were all able to enjoy the Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies, as well as all of the other Ripley's attractions there, and we did not have to pay a separate admission fee for my son.
Be sure to look into specifics, but places like zoos, aquariums, theme parks, sporting events, fairs/feasts, and a number of other places do not charge you admission for children under 2, and sometimes for children until an older age.
No matter what the age of your children, take them on vacation and on trips. What better way is there for your children to experience the world then to actually get them out there? I am in no way downplaying the role of a proper education, but supplementing education with experience cannot be beaten. Letting your children experience culture and art and different places is a great way for them to learn. They get to learn and have fun at the same time.
Yes, It's Still A Vacation
Just because you are bring your children with you does not mean it is not still a vacation. Some people may think it is hard to "get away" when you bring your children, but I think that can't be further from the truth. Why would you not want to share time away with your entire family. Speaking for my wife and myself, we would not have had children if we did not want to be with them and/or take them with us on family vacations. I am sure the vast majority of parents feel the same. So, yes. It is still a vacation.
You can enjoy yourself just fine whether your children are there or not. You can still have fun and you have still gotten away from the stress and bustle of your everyday life. I wouldn't want to spend time away from home in a relaxing place without my son being there.
They Are Your Children
As I mentioned, some people may say that traveling with young children is a burden. I must say that your children should never be considered a burden. They are your children. Traveling with young children is a great experience. The children may not fully remember the trip (if they are too young), but that's what pictures are for. Whether they will remember without pictures or not, taking your children on vacation somewhere new is a great experience for the children. It gets them out and about, and shows them somewhere new and different.
© 2014 Jay C.