Traveling with a kid? — The Bump
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Traveling with a kid?

I'm glad I finally have somewhere to ask this without bothering non-baby boards.  Please share anecdotes of traveling with your child.  

 Can you give me realistic expectations of traveling with a child?  I know it's supposed to be easier before they are mobile, but can you give me an idea of what it entails?  

 We love to travel and are really enjoying being able to take advantage of the ability to cheaply explore our current location in the world.  We leave the country on average about once or twice a month.  Neither of us want that to change that, but I'm starting to wonder if maybe I'm not lying to myself about what traveling with a kid actually entails.  I've got a picture in my head of just throwing a kid in a carrier and just going.

Also (and I'm looking at you for this Wordsmith), is taking a small child on a 24+ hour day of traveling as miserable for the parent as I'm thinking it might be?  Does it make a difference if the kid has its own seat?


Re: Traveling with a kid?

  • I can't imagine having travelled once or twice a month once we had dd, is it doable? probably - but would it be hard? yes

    the plane travel itself isn't bad at all really - as long as you are really prepared with everything you need. I've done the 20+ hour trip to MN 3 times now with dd, twice on my own, and it was tiring, but fine

    but the biggest thing I have about not wanting to travel a lot now is because dd sleeps best at home, in her own bed, with her own routine, and when she's out of that routine she sleeps terribly then we are all exhausted

    but you can make anything work if you really want to :)

    I think a seat for the kid is only necessary once it becomes uncomfortable for you to hold them while they are sleeping for a long period of time (i.e. usually over the age of 1)

  • You can make traveling a couple times a month work for you.

    The one hitch I can think of is if you have a baby who really needs routine.  Like AmericaninOz our DD is a stickler for her routine.  She is a happier baby and we are better parents when well rested so I don't like to take her out of her routine too often.  That said, even with traveling I think you can have a routine and get your LO used to's definitely doable.

    However, there are a lot of babies out there that will go with the flow (I don't mean they are easy peasy all the time, but they will fall asleep in new places, different times and still be fine) more than others.  I tried to get DD to be like this by having her out constantly from the time she was a week old.  I thought she would just get used to napping on the go and going to sleep at different times at night if we did the same routine...well, no.  Didn't work like I'd hoped!  I had to create a strict bedtime and routine for her to really get the rest she needs.

    We still plan to travel off and on...would travel more if we had the money actually, but messing with her actual bedtime and timezone is something I am wary of.

    Not sure if that helped, but I've never had a truly horrible experience flying with DD and we've flown with her about 8 times and one of those times I did a 10 hour flight with her alone while pregnant.  The roughest one was definitely the solo flight but even that wasn't as bad as I was expecting.

    Plus, it's all up to you how much extra stuff you take along.  I really just pack clothes and some toys and snacks, make sure the hotel has a place for her to sleep or we bedshare if they don't (but no checking a pack n play), rent the carseat with the car, etc.   I have to say I'm usually pretty surprised by how much stuff people on TB say they take with them for a two hour flight in general.  I am used to being out with DD all day so I just pack a typical diaper bag with maybe some extra diapers, clothes, and a plastic bag for accidents. 

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  • Honestly, I can't imagine traveling a couple times a month with a small child - a baby maybe, but that doesn't last for long. That might be because I'm a bit of a homebody myself, though. It just seems like it would be such a hassle to worry about finding a place to nap once they're too big for a baby carrier and food and water that's ok. And as others have said, if you've got a kid who needs a routine and/or a familiar place to sleep, then you could be in for a rough time of it. The first night we go anywhere, DD screams for at least an hour before she finally falls asleep (even with us comforting her, rocking her, etc) and then will wake up periodically to scream some more. All of us are exhausted the next day, which makes us all cranky. Not ideal for site-seeing.

    Your kid could be completely different, though.

    As for flying, I flew to the US alone with DD when she was 8 months old and it was fine, but she wasn't at all mobile yet. We flew again with her when she was 1 year and it was only ok because there was no turbulence so we spent the flight letting her walk laps around the bathroom area, and then on the way back a few weeks ago when she was 17 months, it was awful. Horrible. Made me want to cry at the thought of flying with 2 next year. But there were lots of things that made that flight bad, not just traveling with a 17-month-old who wants to move constantly. Other babies are different, though.

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  • We travel pretty frequently with with DD and started when she was 11 days old (air travel). Granted that most of it is in US and usually those days start at 3 or 4 AM and we get there around 3 or 4 PM our time (we travel to Maine a lot from CO since that is where SD are).

    Once a year we go to Europe. First time was at 4 months, second time at 16 months and now at 28 months. We have been very lucky with DD because she has been a great traveler and we have had very few problems.  They are usually long days (close to 24 hours of travel including a 2-4 hour flight in US and 8-9 hour flight to Europe). I still BF and that seems to help a ton (fussy kid...boob fixes that pretty much always Smile). Of course kids that aren't BF can travel just fine as well but for us it has made things very easy.

    She started life with being a napper on the go so has done well with the Ergo. She has a Baby Bjorn travel crib (kind of pricey but so worth it if you travel a lot) and has used that since 6 weeks old and is still in it now. She usually sleeps as well on vacation as she does at home and adjusts (so far) pretty well to all the time changes and usually it doesn't take long to readjust once home.

    The only time I purchased a seat for her  was when she was 16 months old.  She was in my lap for most of the time anyway but I guess it was nice to have a little extra space. I used the car seat on that trip and have not used it since (using the Cares harness since she turned 2). I haven't brought a stroller on any trips since our first time with her in Europe. She still goes in the Ergo and will still nap in it even now so that allows for some flexibility 

    So you can certainly travel once you have kids but it will be different. You probably won't want to be out from 8a-8p exploring every day. Down time is a must especially once they get a little older. It also depends on your kiddo obviously because some kids do well with changes and some don't. And it can differ even between siblings. Don't know that you would want to do long trips once or twice a month but early on (assuming that everything is Ok with you and baby) it would be easiest since they sleep a lot anyway.

    We are currently in Europe and this time our big challenge was a relatively newly PT kid (2 months) and a couple of longish car trips (6 hour drive time and 5 hour drive time not including stops and road construction delays). I decided against diapers (since she had not worn one at all in 6 weeks) and just see how it went (I did bring 3 or 4 just in case of emergency). She has done really well and we haven't needed any diapers (she would probably refuse them anyway) and she has not had any accidents while on the go so I am happy about that (hopefully I didn't jinx myself for the flights back...)

    The only pre-baby thing  we haven't done is go to Hawaii to go scuba diving but other things played into that decision as well (nieces coming to live with us and DHs parents not going there anymore). But most of our travel has been family related anyway, even prior to having our DD.

     Sorry for the novel (I tend to do that) but I just thought I would share my positive experience with you. Obviously I only have one kiddo to worry about and I am sure once you "throw" in another one it would change things a bit more and make it more challenging. 

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  • We have been travelling since my daughter was 3 weeks old. We are in hotels a couple times a month so it has been her normal from the beginning. I quickly learned not to over pack and that you can buy what you really need almost anywhere if you happen to forget something. We took a pack and play with us for the first bit and then stopped and just used what ever the hotel had. The hardest part I find is nap time. We usually plan a long walk or car ride during nap time because hotels seem to be too loud or busy during the day. Food is also an issue once they are eating solids so we just try to get a room with a fridge and stock it with easy to eat foods. 

    We have only flown once but had major delay issues so spent 24 hours at the airport being shipped around for a 3 hour flight. It was rough but we made it. She was 15 months at the time and super busy. If it was longer flight I would have gotten her a seat. At 3 hours I was very glad to be off the plane. 

    I think if you jump into travelling when your child is young (maybe not 3 weeks old that was out of necessity not because I wanted) they get use to it and you get use to it and you will learn what works and what doesn't. 

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  • Publius, it's doable. Talk to me about it, I have info :)
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  • We've only flown once with DS1. It was the 10 hour flight to London and it was okay. He's good natured and wasn't prone to tantrums when we made the trip but he was still reasonably unhappy. He had his own seat but was either sitting on me or walking with DH whenever the fasten seatbelt sign wasn't on but, and here's the rough part, he would scream bloody murder if he was sleeping on me and had to be put back in his seat because we hit turbulence. A plane full of sleeping people and my kid woke them all up... on several occassions.

    Still, it was what it was and wouldn't stop us from flying again. I paid my dues sitting next to squalling kids for years. That said, I'd break up a 24 hour trip.

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