There is something about Spring that makes me start itching for a vacation. The funny thing is that traveling and vacations look so different for us now that we have Logan in the picture. Traveling before having a child is so easy and relaxing but when you add one to the mix, that all changes. Trust me, I know what traveling with young children is like!
Can I be real and honest with you? Traveling with Logan when he was small was so hard. It’s one of those things that I have struggled with as a parent. However, I am so glad that I pushed through and we took the few trips that we did while he was young.
Our First Weekend Away with Logan
I still remember the first time we went away for the weekend when Logan was only eight or nine months old. Moreover, let me tell you, it was kind of terrible (I know, I’m a bad parent :)). I can remember that I ended up with hardly any sleep. Thankfully, it was just one night.
You know, I do think about and remember how hard that trip was, but I also remember the fun memories we made too! It was just a quick trip to a state park about three hours away, and we stayed overnight at a Bed and Breakfast with my parents.
I could dwell on the fact that my baby, at the time, would not sleep if he was not at home in his bed. Instead, I look back at the pictures and remember our fun hike and the beautiful dinner. The memories we made on that quick overnight trip far outweigh the terrible sleepless night I had.
Another Trip Two Years Later
I had hoped that as Logan got older, he would do better away from home. However, that did not happen on our trip to Columbus, OH two years ago. We decided to visit the zoo for the day and spend the night in a hotel, and then head home that next day.
Logan was about two and half years old. I thought for sure at this point that he would sleep through the night and we would have a great family trip! I mean, he was sleeping well at home. Ha! He had me fooled for sure! He barely slept the entire time…
I do remember the sleepless night from this trip; I also know that the memories we made were worth the sacrifice of sleep. Hopefully, when my child is all grown, and I look back at pictures from these family trips and vacations, I am not going to think about the negative moments. I am going to look at those pictures and remember how much fun we had and all the laughter and smiles!
Why You Should be Traveling with Young Children
My whole point in sharing all of this with you is to encourage you. I know that the thought of traveling with a young child that doesn’t sleep well at home, let alone in a new place is daunting. I know how easy it would be just to throw your hands up and say, “Forget it! We are staying home!”
Please don’t do that. Just remember to go into vacations knowing it will not be easy but it will be worth it for the memories that you make with your family. Those early years go by so quickly so don’t miss out on the opportunity to watch your children learn and explore different environments. It’s so worth it in the end.
My parents tell stories of how they took my brothers and I camping and traveling all over when we were very young. They took me camping when I was still a baby. I cannot even imagine having done that with Logan. I love hearing those stories and looking back at the pictures my parents took during those trips.
The memories made are worth every minute of the difficulties. I want to encourage you to plan those vacations and don’t give up on your dreams of traveling. You should take them with you on your adventures. Just keep in mind that traveling with young children may look a little different.
A Few Things to Keep In Mind When Traveling with Young Children
Here are a few little tips to bear in mind when you do decide to travel with small kiddos.
1. Go on vacation knowing that you may not get a whole lot of sleep and it may not be as relaxing as you are hoping.
2. Have moderate expectations. Know that you need to be flexible!
3. Do not pack too many activities into one day. Keep your children’s ages in mind when planning the vacation. Make sure that what you plan to do each day, your kids can keep up with and will not get too exhausted.
4. Plan in nap times (if your kiddos still need them.) Plus, you will probably need one too, and hey, it’s vacation, so curl up and take one right along side them.
5. If you are driving, make sure and stop every two to three hours and let your kids out of the car. Let them stretch their legs and run off some energy. Keep a ball or some small outside toy in the backseat so they (and you) can run around at a rest stop for a few minutes.
6. While on vacation, keep their bedtime routine as close as possible to what you do at home. It is not always easy to shut a door after you put them to bed, especially in a hotel room. So keep their normal routine so they know when it’s bedtime.
7. Make sure to bring comforts from home that they sleep with, like special blankets, pillows, or stuffies (this is what Logan calls his stuffed animals).
8. Have fun! Take lots of pictures and make memories!
9. Be prepared for a meltdown because it will happen, but five years later, that will not be what you remember, I promise! Of course, if it is something you remember years later hopefully, it will be something you can laugh about 🙂
10. Have a positive attitude! Your attitude and mood will affect your children and spouse. So try to stay positive and encouraging.
So Go Plan That Vacation
At the end of the day, it is about sharing your passions with your children. If you want them to be good travelers, you have to teach them and work with them. Not all babies and children are born great travelers, but that doesn’t mean they cannot be. It just means you need to travel and show them the world and teach them how to enjoy it.
If you happen to have that child that just doesn’t sleep anywhere but at home, in their bed, I have been there. That tough age does end. We are starting to see the end of it now at four years old. I am so glad that we did not hold off on vacations or traveling just because we were afraid it would be too tough. It was hard, but I have loved every single memory we have made on those trips. And you know what? The sleepless nights were worth it!
Be sure to check back because we have a family trip in the works for this spring! So, do you or have you traveled with little ones? Do you have any tips or tricks to make vacations a little easier and more enjoyable?