Last month, I announced I’d be featuring monthly columnists on this website. I’ve introduced two so far, and now it’s time to introduce our final one! On the third Friday of every month, Cameron Wears from Traveling Canucks will be here giving tips and advice on how to travel better with your kids. I know this is a much-requested topic for many of you, so I’m excited to have him on the team! His column starts this month.
“Get your traveling in now, because you won’t be able to do it once you have kids.”
I heard this statement many times while my wife and I were backpacking around the world. And, sadly, the more I heard these words, the more I started to believe them.
Travel has always played an important role in our lives, so the thought of giving it up to raise a family seemed like a crappy deal to us. But having kids was also a big part of “the plan” we made when we got married in Mexico in January 2008, so we resigned ourselves to the idea that family and travel don’t mix.
After our first boy was born in 2011, we applied for his passport and booked a trip to California (we live in Vancouver, British Columbia). We wanted to prove that the idea we had internalized was wrong and that our days of travel didn’t have to stop. We chose a destination close to home, closed our eyes, and hoped for the best. Having a kid couldn’t really be the end, could it? We didn’t think so and refused to listen to those around us.
And we’re glad we didn’t. We realized on that trip that everyone was wrong.
I’d be lying if I said traveling with a baby is easy. It’s not. But it wasn’t as daunting as we thought it would be.
Sure, bringing a baby stroller and a car seat is a pain in the ass, but every trip we take together gets easier and easier. Flights aren’t that bad, provided you come prepared, and sharing accommodations is actually quite nice. Surprisingly, kids are very good at adapting to new environments (often better than adults).
Now every time we return from a trip, I’m reminded of that opening statement: “Get your traveling in now, because you won’t be able to once you have kids.”
And every time I think of those who warned us of that, I remember just how wrong they are.
It’s true, you won’t be able to travel the way you did before kids, but that doesn’t mean you have to exchange travel for family, and vice versa. You can do both, but you must change your expectations and accept that your travels will be different.
We’ve often heard newbie parents say, “We’re just going to wait until our kids are older before we travel again.” There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that plan…unless, of course, you actually want to continue traveling. There’s always an excuse to put life on hold, kids or no kids, but rarely do people regret pushing their comfort zone to pursue their passions and achieve their goals.
Generally speaking, there seems to be a lot of fear and confusion when it comes to traveling with babies and young kids. It’s easy to read blogs about family travelers and think, “That would be great but…” You can always find a reason why their situation wouldn’t apply to you. And when no one around you “gets it” or has done it, it’s easy to think maybe you shouldn’t either.
But we’re here to change that. In our monthly column, we’ll be sharing tips and tricks we’ve learned firsthand while traveling with our toddler and infant — practical travel tips, advice for when situations go wrong, stories from our travel, and much more.
If you have a specific question about baby/family travel, please share it in the comments section below. I’ll be checking in periodically and would love to know what’s most interesting to you.
Traveling with our little boys has forced us to slow down and appreciate each travel experience we have together. Seeing the world through their curious eyes has given us some of the most rewarding moments we’ve ever had, and we want to use our eight years of travel experience to help new families hit the road!
Cameron Wears is one half of the duo behind the award-winning Canadian travel blog TravelingCanucks.com. Having traveled to over 65 countries and territories on six continents in the past eight years, he now lives in beautiful Vancouver, Canada, with his wife Nicole and their two young boys. You can follow their family travel adventures on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.