Life completely changes when you have your first child. Sleepless nights, crying babies, endless joy… it’s easy to feel burnt out after a while. Many new parents find relief in these early months by taking a family vacation, but struggle with the question of whether or not they should travel with their baby. Wouldn’t it be more relaxing to leave the baby behind with the grandparents? Or, despite being more challenging, are there enough benefits of traveling with a baby to make it worthwhile?
We get it! Traveling with a baby can be hard and stressful. It’s definitely nothing like how you may have traveled in the past. All this may be true, but we wanted to share with you our top reasons why traveling with your baby is good for your child and your family.
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10 Great Reasons to Travel with your Baby
1. Learning to Compromise as a Family
Before kids, traveling together was always a learning experience. We have similar interests but we still have to compromise and accommodate each other while traveling. Not everything we want to see and do while traveling will be identical.
When you start traveling with a baby, this dynamic expands. Your baby will also have specific needs while traveling that will need to be accommodated. When you travel with your baby, you will need to find ways to travel together that keeps everyone happy.
For example, your baby is used to a certain amount of play time, and this is unquestionably good for her development. This need to play doesn’t end when you travel with your baby, they will still need time to play every day, even while on your family vacation.
An example of finding a compromise which meets the needs of the entire family, while visiting Paris with our baby, we spent a little less visiting the Eiffel Tower and a little more time at the baby-friendly playground in front of the Eiffel Tower. Our babies development needs are being met, and we have a magnificent view of one of the world’s most famous landmarks. Win-win!
2. Building Confidence as Parents
Bringing your first child home is a scary and intimidating time, but ever so slowly, you gain confidence as you learn to be a good, nurturing parent. The prospect of traveling with a baby for the first time is a repeat of this situation – taking your baby on their first plane ride or to a new country can also be scary and intimidating.
As we started to travel with our baby, each new plane ride and new destination was an unknown adventure, but we viewed each as a learning experience. We would face new and unusual circumstances as parents, which we’d have to adapt to in order to keep our baby happy, healthy and developing, all while trying to enjoy our family vacation.
One of the wonderful benefits of traveling with a baby was the confidence we gained as we learned to be good parents in brand new environments and situations. This confidence carried over into our normal lives back home.
3. Share New Experiences with your Baby
One of the best things about travel, with or without kids, is the new experiences. Now that we have a baby, we want to experience new things together as a family.
It’s true, our babies will never remember any of the wonderful things we did while traveling with them, but they learn a lot by looking at the photobooks of our family trips. They not only see the amazing places we traveled to with them as babies, but they also see much more. They see a happy family who loves sharing new experiences with each other. These images carry a powerful message for our children.
4. Share The Things You Love With Your Children
Sure, your baby may not understand what is going on during your family trip, but we all want to share what we love with our child. Each of us has our own unique reasons for travel, but we each have aspects of it that we love. One of the key benefits of traveling with your baby is to begin a lifelong habit of sharing the things you love with your kids.
Why not start doing that right now?
5. Develop Your Family Identity
Prior to having our baby, we had some great role models that just incorporated their new baby into their lives. They didn’t change who they were, they just found a way to make it work with baby.
For us, we loved to travel before having kids, so once we had our first child we wanted to do exactly that – keep traveling with our baby. We began traveling with our family when we took a trip to Barcelona with our baby at 3 months old. To see the long-term benefits of traveling with a baby, hop over to our Family Can Travel blog to see that we still love to travel the world as a family, even as the kids grow older.
6. Learn to be Flexible
Even without a baby, travel can be stressful. Things don’t go as planned and this can cause even more stress when you have a little one to worry about.
But that is part of being a parent and part of life. One of the benefits of traveling as a family is that it helps us learn to be more flexible and effectively deal with stress. With each and every new travel experience, we aspire to become good role models for our child in how we deal with stresses and being flexible while traveling.
7. Quality Family Time
Here’s the best part about traveling with a baby – enjoying time together as a family. There are no errands to run, no to-do lists, no dishes to do… travel allows you to just enjoy time with your family
Sure you can do this at home, but it’s hard to focus on quality family time when there are still all those tasks to do. On your family vacation you get away from all that and get to truly enjoy time together!
8. Infant Brain Development
Im sure there are some scientific studies to back this up, but it’s our instinct as new parents that travel is good for your baby’s brain development. Family travel introduces your baby to new sights, smells and sounds and we have to assume that’s a good thing?
Babies are learning and absorbing new things all the time, so we figure by traveling to new places our baby will get to experience even more!
9. Introduce Flexibility To Your Baby Routines
It’s easy to get in a comfortable and effective routine at home. Sometimes it’s hard to get out of that routine, especially if you’ve gotten baby into a good sleeping schedule. Many parents stress that traveling with their baby will undo all of that.
While we know there are genuine benefits for having a good routine for baby at home, but we also want our baby to be able to adapt to new situations and new sleeping schedules. A family vacation with your baby is a good opportunity to introduce some variety to your daily routines. In the right circumstances, this can benefit your child by learning that life is still ok when their comfortable routine isn’t rigidly followed.
10. Why Not?
This is a question we often ask ourselves when there’s something we want to do but it seems scary and risky. If we can’t come up with a compelling argument to stop us from doing it, we forge ahead! We encourage you to take the first big step and realize all the many benefits of traveling with your baby!
Learn More About Baby Travel
- Start here – Baby Travel 101
- Best Airplane Activities for Babies
- Best Places to Travel with a Baby in the USA
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This post was written & edited by:
Celine Brewer is the owner of Baby Can Travel. Not only does she have years of experience traveling with babies & toddlers, but she's helped millions of new parents travel with their babies and toddlers for over a decade. In addition to writing on her baby travel blog, she has shared her expertise on traveling with a baby or toddler by contributing to articles about traveling with a baby with the Washington Post, USA Today, the Lonely Planet magazine and Pregnancy & Newborn magazine.
Celine also writes about family travel on the site FamilyCanTravel.com, which she co-owns with her husband. Being from the Canadian Rockies, she shares her passion about her home and travel to Banff National Park and area on their site TravelBanffCanada.com.