Parents who love to travel will want to share their passion with their children. Your best chance to raise a child who loves to travel is to make travel a part of your baby’s life right from the very beginning. I created Baby Can Travel when our daughter was just 3 months old after we took our very first family trip to Barcelona with a baby.
One more child and many years later, we are still traveling the world with our kids. As you can see on our Family Can Travel blog, our kids love to travel the world with us. They’ve hiked to the Lost City in Colombia, gone cycling in France and so much more. We have successfully turned our baby travellers into kids who love to travel.
8 Tips to Turn a Baby Traveler into a Kid Who Loves to Travel
How did we do it? We believe the key to turning your baby traveler into a child who loves to travel is to start traveling with a baby early, and as often as possible. Below, we share our best tips for a successful start to traveling with your baby, thus increasing your odds of raising a child who loves to travel.
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1. Travel With Your Baby Early and Often
Our top tip to raise a child who loves to travel is to start travelling with your baby early in their lives and keep the family trips coming as often as you can afford. As with all things in a baby’s young life, the things they grow up doing are “normal” and your baby will grow to learn that travel is an important part of your family life.
As a bonus, children under 2 typically fly for free – enjoy this perk as much as you can!
Traveling with a baby doesn’t need to be an epic, overseas family vacation. The key is to introduce new experiences to your baby away from home and their usual routines. Your experiences traveling with a baby can be hiking with a baby, camping with your baby, a road trip with a baby, or anything else that gets your family out the door together to try something new.
2. Share Your Travel Pictures with Your Baby
Babies learn so much by looking at their world and asking “what’s that?”. Once your baby is old enough to be interested in pictures, show them your travel pictures and tell them stories about your travels. Treat it like storytime – tell them where you went, what you did, what the people were like, what the food tastes like, etc.
Even if your baby is not old enough to fully understand or ask questions, they will love seeing pictures of you in different settings and you can be rest assured they will be paying attention to every word you say.
One of the best ways to share your family travel photos with your child is through photo books. We have photo books for all of our family vacations and we loved flipping through the colorful pages with our babies, sharing our travel stories with them.
You always hear that traveling with a baby is a waste as they never remember anything. That’s complete garbage – now that our children are older, they love looking at our photobooks and seeing the amazing places they traveled as a baby.
If you want to turn your baby traveler into a child who loves traveling, we highly recommend capturing your family travel memories in a series of family vacation photo books.
3. Share Beautiful Pictures of the World with Your Baby
Another travel-related activity we loved to share with our babies was to look at visually stunning coffee table picture book. Our babies found the bright, colorful pictures in these books fascinating and would listen to us talk about them for a very long time.
Some of our favorite coffee tables books to share with our kids are:
- National Geographic Simply Beautiful Photographs
- National Geographic Destinations of a Lifetime
But, there are many beautiful picture books to share with your child and teach them the world is a beautiful place filled with wonderful people and animals.
4. Share Your Travel Souvenirs
Just as pictures are wonderful visual learning tools, travel souvenirs are excellent tangible learning tools for your baby. If you have any treasures that you have brought back from your travels that are safe for baby to play with, let them hold it for a while (with your careful supervision of course).
Let your baby explore your travel souvenir with their hands, eyes, and yes, probably their mouth, while you tell them stories about where it came from and what makes it special to you.
As you travel with your baby, be sure to buy them their own travel souvenirs from each trip. As they grow, they’ll start to have their own collection of travel souvenirs. Our kids have travel souvenirs from every trip they’ve taken and they look forward to each trip for an opportunity to add to their collection.
This important family travel ritual gives your child a tangible memory of their travels and is a big step towards turning a baby traveler into a child who loves to travel.
5. Make Everyday Outings an Adventure
Going on family trips is an adventure, so prepare your baby for the realities of travel by making everyday activities an adventure! It doesn’t matter what you do, but make your outings with baby fun & exciting and full of discovery.
A trip to the park can be all about finding or listening to birds. Even a routine stop at the grocery store can turn into a fun challenge to find and count the number of other children in the store. Your attitude is key – if you are excited about your “adventure” and discovery, then your child will be too!
6. Adjust Your Routines…Slightly
Most adults crave travel as it disrupts boring old routines and brings amazing new experiences to your life. What makes travel so interesting and satisfying for adults, may be a challenge for your baby.
All parents know the importance of routine for infants – it makes them feel stable and safe. Travel disrupts their usual routines, and while this make take some time to overcome, it can be a very positive step in raising a resilient child. You can help your baby prepare for the disruption travel will inevitably bring to their routine by developing good, solid routines, but introduce some variability within the routine.
For example, if part of your bedtime routine is to say goodnight to all the things in their room, try mixing up the order in which you do so. Rose Kavo, PhD, adjunct professor of child development at the Bank Street College of Education in NYC says it well, “To learn that life is still good, stable, and safe when your routine is altered is also very important.”
7. Try New Things
Another fun way to bring some variability to your baby’s daily routine is to try new things with your baby. Over time they will learn to look forward to the surprises in each new day.
For example, rather than go to the zoo three times a week, try going for a walk by the river and see how many ducks you can count. Or it could be as simple as not following the same route when you walk around the neighborhood – if they are old enough, let them choose which direction to turn, etc.
A baby who is exposed to a steady stream of new experiences will be flexible and more confident in new situations in the future. These are all skills that little travellers need!
8. Play With a Globe and Map
A fun and educational way to raise a child who loves to travel is to have a globe around the house. If you put your globe on the floor and hold it, your baby will love spinning it.
As your child grows, you can play the “where do you want to go” game – have them stop the spinning globe with a finger and then you tell them about the country their finger is pointing to. (Just be prepared to talk a lot about Russia and Canada! haha!)
Another great idea is to have a travel map of the world mounted on your wall and use color coded pins to show where you have travelled. Use one color of pins to show where Mommy & Daddy have travelled, and then use a different colored pin to show where the whole family has gone together.
As they grow older, your children will love looking at the world map and remembering all the fun family trips they went on. Before you know it, your little baby will be an older, world traveler who will be staring at the map imagining all the places they want to travel with their family!
Raising Children Who Love to Travel
We hope the above tips on turning your baby traveler into a child who loves to travel are helpful. As your baby slowly develops into a little person, you will have demonstrated that Mommy & Daddy love to travel and that the world is an amazing, beautiful place, filled with wonderful, friendly people.
By sharing your travel memories, and even better, start creating travel memories with your baby, you will be raising a child who loves to travel. Your early efforts will pay off with a child who is excited to continue traveling as a family for years to come!