How many times as a parent have you heard the phrase “They’re not going to remember it anyways.”? How many times have you started to plan a trip with a baby/toddler in tow and chickened out by the shear amount of packing required?
As a young single mom, I had horrible post-partum anxiety and I was TERRIFIED to travel with my new baby. Even as she reached one and two years old, sometimes even a half an hour trip to a mall across the city seemed daunting. I had no desire to leave my comfort zone. And as a young single mom, I was strapped for cash and had a hard time justifying spending any money on travel because, she wouldn’t remember it anyways right?
In fact, I rarely left my city for four years after my oldest was born. FOUR YEARS YOU GUYS.
When her little sister came along, I knew things had to change. We had been to every park, every play place, every nature trail in town and I was dying to experience new places and so was my kid. I couldn’t wait any longer.
Here are my top reasons you should quit postponing and plan a trip with your kids RIGHT NOW.
- Priceless Memories
I remember my first ‘real’ trip with my girls, the oldest was 4 and my youngest was a baby, only about 5 months old. It was a spontaneous trip to a beach 3 ½ hours away. I will never forget the excitement in my daughter’s eyes when I woke her at 6 am and let her help me pack lunchables, snacks, and waters in our cooler.
I will never forget walking up the hill of the sandy dune and seeing the waves against the blue, blue sky. I will never forget the way the sand felt warm and soft beneath my feet as I walked with my baby and watched her sister run down the path to the water. I will never forget the baby’s squeals of delight when her sister splashed her with the water as we sat nearby and made sand-pies.
And I will never forget when I sat next to my daughter at the edge of the water, waves slowly coming and going around us and she looked up at me and said, “I’m so happy, mom.”
No, my youngest does not remember how she felt when I dipped her feet into the cold water for the first time, and my oldest has only vague memories of the running through the sand, but to me they are crystal clear and I cherish them deeply. I would not trade these memories for anything.
2. New Experiences- for all of you
After sitting still for years and making excuses for why I should wait just one more year for my kids to be older before traveling, I had finally broken down the barrier. My small day trip to the beach on the state line lit a fire in me and I could not get enough of finding new things to do and see.
So travel with your babies and toddlers and school aged children for the experiences because YOU deserve it. Parenthood is hard sometimes but it’s a lot less hard when you break every now and then to see new sights and do things that you love. And if the kids ARE old enough to hold on to the memories, they will cherish them as much as you do.
Traveling doesn’t have to be a financial strain, there are plenty of cheap places that will cost little more than gas and food. While I have come a long way in 8 years from teenage motherhood, I still budget wisely. I have made saving for trips a priority and it helps me to make sure I am able to do new things without putting myself in a bind (more on that later).
I also stalk my Groupon app and have new local and semi local deals sent to my email regularly. Just last weekend, I was able to visit Kentucky Down Under Zoo for $9 each, where we were able to explore a small cave, my girls and nephews got to see and learn about animals they had never heard of, and to top it all off we got to pet kangaroos. It was an amazing experience that barely cost me anything.
3. It’s good for your (and your kid’s) mental health
Even though we enjoy our day to day lives, sometimes we get in a rut. Pressure from work, parenting, projects, home repairs, yard work, and just day to day living can get to be a bit much sometimes.
A vacation is a great chance to break from that and clear my head. I always come home happy and recharged.
4.It’s a great bonding experience
There is no greater way to bond with my girls to me, than giggling in a wave pool in a new city, cheering when we cross a state line, or snuggling up together in a hotel bed after a long sun filled day of adventure. Plus it is something we talk about for months to come now that my girls are older.
What are your favorite destinations with young children? I would love to hear from you! Contact me.