Try, Learn, Grow - An Approach for Traveling Parents

Try, Learn, Grow… Try, Learn, Grow… My husband and I continually remind each other of this “approach” as we embark on this adventure called parenthood (truthfully, he reminds me more of this than the other way around). Like many new parents, we don’t really have a clue what we are doing. We ask questions, read books, look for advice from seasoned parents then make our own choices based on what we feel will work best for our family. Sometimes we are bang on and sometimes we fail miserably.

Specifically for travel, we use this approach and take the time to discuss what worked and what didn’t on our trips. We recognize that our daughter is growing and changing every day, so what worked last time may also not work the next time. We take all this into account when making plans and make adjustments where necessary.

TRY: During a recent drive, we were discussing our upcoming trip to London and Paris. Following our “Try, Learn, Grow” strategy, we discussed our last trip to NYC and some of the challenges we faced (more on this in a future post – Taking a 10.5mth old to one of the most vibrant and busy cities in the world). We laughed as we recalled eating “Halal Guys” takeout for dinner in the dark on our bed while our little one slept.

Halal Guys - NYC

LEARN: As much as we love dining out while travelling, when our little girl needs sleep we are willing to compromise. Besides, the takeout food was amazing so it wasn’t really a hardship! That being said, maybe there was an improvement that could be made here?

GROW: We tried the hotel room and learned that having a single room didn’t work unless we enjoyed being quiet in the dark as our daughter slept. This time around we’ve decided to rent a one bedroom flat in London and Paris, rather than stay in a hotel room. At least if we need to get some takeout for dinner, we can still talk and enjoy each other’s company!

TRY: There’s no question, sleep was a challenge in NYC for our little one. NYC being as busy as it is, she did not nap on the go all that well. By the end of the week, she was way past the point of “tired” and it came to a head on our flight home. We hadn’t purchased a seat for her, so she was on our lap the entire flight, along with a “not so happy to be sharing a row with a baby” guy on the aisle.

LEARN: Our flight home was less than enjoyable as she managed to stay awake for 11 straight hours with only two 15 minute “naps” (including the time before and after the flight). “Sleep begets sleep” is a true statement for our little one, but so is the opposite! Trying to hold a wriggly, squirmy baby for five hours while she wants to explore and engage everyone around her instead of sleep was not fun! Thankfully, the guy behind us was quite amused when she would peek through the seats at him and smile. Unfortunately, she did not have many smiles as we were trying to keep her “disturbances” to a minimum for the other passengers.

GROW: We tried having her on our lap for a five hour flight and learned it can sometimes be miserable for all, so this time around we booked three seats. Even if she decides she would rather sleep on our laps, the extra room will make the flight so much more enjoyable. Also, having the ability to put her down in the car seat should help her to sleep better (fingers crossed!). Booking the bulkhead seats with a bassinet would have been a cheaper option, but a call to the airline revealed that the bassinets were already booked. Thankfully, we managed to find flights cheaper than we expected so purchasing a third seat was the next best option.

TRY: On past trips we have traveled as lightly as possible by taking public transportation with her in a baby carrier instead of bringing a car seat. We’ve also rented a stroller to avoid bringing our own.  This trip we need to bring a car seat for the flight, so we are also bringing our own stroller to ease the load.


These are the three big adjustments we’ve made for our upcoming trip based on learnings from past trips. We have yet to find out how travelling with the both the car seat and stroller will go. We also hope to find some solutions to some of the challenges around eating and sleeping that we encountered in NYC.

How do you react to challenges you face when travelling with an infant? Have you made drastic changes to the way you travel?

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