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How feasible is it to continuing traveling after having a baby?

How feasible is it to continuing traveling after having a baby?

Old Oct 3rd, 2006, 05:41 AM
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How feasible is it to continuing traveling after having a baby?

Hi everyone,

DH and I have decided that we are going to try and start a family sometime next year. Therefore, all the trips we have planned for 2007 we are considering our last "alone" trips/babymoons/etc...Hoping to get pregnant in the spring or summer.

For those of you that love travel and take a couple of yearly vacations, how feasible did you find this after you had a baby? (Assuming that money and time off are NOT the issues.) How did you change or alter your vacation choices? Or did you just keep doing the same types of vacations you always did (within reason)?

For example, we live on the East Coast, and have been going to Hawaii every summer. We love it there, but wonder of the flight is simply too long for a baby or young children, although I know some people do it. Did you all just chose quicker destinations once there was a baby involved?

Thanks so much for all your experiences and opinions! I love reading them...
beachgirl86 is offline  
Old Oct 3rd, 2006, 05:47 AM
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good topic. my wife and i are trying right now, and over the last year or so, we've gone to California, Colorado, Greece, Florida a couple times, and Chicago this weekend. we feel like we're trying to get this stuff in before we have a baby.
life doesn't end, of course we'll still travel, but i imagine finances and logistics will definitely lead to less travel.....
looking forward to responses to those who've already gone thru this.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2006, 06:03 AM
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Wow! You will get LOTS of different thoughts and perspectives on this as the personalities and styles of parents vary as does the personality and style of each baby/kid.

But, what I can tell you from my experience is that my passion for traveling did not stop when we had kids, and we continued to travel often. I will also say that what we did and where we went changed and has evolved over time. Our boys are now 12 and 15.

Our first trip "after kids" was a drive cross country (for a job move) when our first was 6 weeks old. Memorable, yes.....something I'd want to repeat, no. But, he was collicky at that point - other kids might have slept almost the whole time. Never can tell. I started flying with him when he was about 4 months old (San Diego to East Coast to visit family we had left behind). It worked fine, but I sometimes found it stressful. Other parents might not. I personally would not have flown East Coast to Hawaii with my boys when they were very young, but many certainly do.

We did go skiing in Vermont (from California at that time) with family when he was about 9 months old which was a wonderful trip. But, our expectations were adjusted....we stayed in a condo to have room and a kitchen. We had family members so we could "switch off" caring for the little ones. I did not get to ski everyday or be gone from 8 am to 8 pm.

When we moved back to the East Coast when oldest was 2, we started traveling up and down the Coast; we flew to Florida to see family and drove to Vermont. When the boys were 9 months and 3 years, we flew to a family friendly resort in the Caribbean.

By the time youngest was 6, we went to Belize and spent time in the rainforest, Tikal in Guatemala, and snorkeled the reef.

We have now been to the Southwest with them and Europe twice and MUCH more. I would not hesitate to go to Hawaii, just haven't yet. We are planning another Europe trip for July. Older son, 16 years old next summer, may go on his own (with a group) to Israel, New Zealand or South Africa.

Etc...Etc.... Everyone is different. Some of the limits we put on travel at that time were financial and time based, some were that we wanted to explore and travel with kids, but found it not fun to schleppp little ones on very long flights - others don't mind it at all.

So, the bottom line is that you will NOT have to give up traveling. You may travel as far and much as before OR you may find your interests and styles change or require flexibility based on what works for your family. Just have an open mind and it will fall into place.

Good luck and have fun! Traveling with kids has its challenges, but the rewards are huge!
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Old Oct 3rd, 2006, 06:11 AM
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Hi - I'm a mother of a 4 year old and a 5 year old and we travel with them as often as we can (though not as often as we'd like due to dh's job). The biggest thing that is an issue for us now that we didn't have pre-kids is SPACE! We really look for places where we can rent a house/condo/villa because I can't imagine the four of us cramped into a hotel room for more than a day or two (even at a suites hotel). Especially when they were babies, it is nice to be able to have room to relax when they are napping or down for the night. Your dining options will also change - no really high end or elegant restaurants (though the older they get & the more you expose them to the better suited they are to expand their horizons!).

You could still go to Hawaii, but it might be easier for you to try some spots in the caribbean since the flight time would be much shorter. Honestly, there is very little you can't do if you are determined (you can hike w/one of those baby backpacks!). Okay, the theatre it out, but you will appreciate this kind of thing more when you do have the opportunity. Traveling w/kids can be trying, but it is also wonderful. Everything is new again when you experience it through a child's eyes!
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Old Oct 3rd, 2006, 06:12 AM
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Hey Beachgirl –

Congrats on your decision! I currently have a 2 year old w/ another on the way. At first, I totally thought my traveling days were over, but that soon passed. Our travel has slowed, but that’s due to finances (I quit work).

Truthfully, I think the ease of travel has a lot to do with the temperament of the baby.

Last summer, we took our then 13 month old son to Kauai from DFW. Luckily, my parents love to travel and came along for the trip, so that made things easier. Our son did great, and I had a wonderful time. I feel we would have had a great trip even if my parents weren’t there. FYI – I have an easy going kid. I’m currently loading up on FF miles so the four of us can go back next summer.

We’ve also taken him to Colorado and had numerous car trips around Texas. The past 5 weekends we’ve traveled to college football games with him and had a blast.

Sure, there is more stuff to take, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s totally worth it.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2006, 06:29 AM
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just keep going. however, learn the "trips to the trade" of what to bring on flights/trains/busses to keep your kid amused to reduce the stress to them, yourself and other passengers. and please, please, please...do not EVER allow your child to kick the back of the seat infront of him or her.
my family took their kids to hawaii for years when they were done. great place cause most kids just love playing in the water so sitting around a pool or a beach...everyone was happy.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2006, 06:29 AM
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We have had little change in our travels w/our now 4yr old & 17 mo. old. The major difference lie in the places we stay, more than anything else. We used to stay primarily in B & B's, now we opt for the Villa/Cottage/Apt. instead. We still go someplace an average of 10 times a year. (Keeping in mind we are close to the Beach & Mts.) so long weekends are the norm for us. For the next 6 months we'll hit the Beach next week, Mts. the first of November, Key West over Thanksgiving & Montserrat in February. We're still planning a trip to France in the Spring as well. I guess the other major change is that you need to be a bit more flexible. Particularly when they need naps & such. We've had a ton of people tell us that we would most certainly 'slow down' after having kids. My credo has always been the sooner you teach them to be good travelers, the better travelers they'll be. Good luck & happy travels !
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Old Oct 3rd, 2006, 06:45 AM
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My 21 year old has been to 15 countries on 3 continents and is ever grateful that we've always taken her with us. We've also been all over the US thru the years. I just don't remember any big problems having a child along. We did accomodate for her a little, like making sure she had time to take a nap if we wanted to see something at night, or taking a mid afternoon break when the Tanzanian sun made us all a bit grouchy. As far a food is concerned, we always encouraged her to try new things and each well (limiting junk food) so she pretty much ate whatever the adults ate, including exotic meats, fruits and seafood.

In addition we had a standing rule at our house that television was only for weekends and NEVER on school nights, (the only exception was during 9/11 coverage for a few days). Although this seemed strict to many kids, we all learned to appreciate just spending time together playing games or reading etc.....and planning trips!
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Old Oct 3rd, 2006, 06:51 AM
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Congratulation on your decision - may you be successful on your first try!

I would agree with the other posters. Other than money, if you love to travel, you'll make it work. Growing up, I had many friends whose parents would take trips without them - drop them off at grandma's, etc. Now, it sounds like most make sure to include the kids and just change the details. I like that.

Coming from a non-travelling family, I say do it and do it as often as you can. Raise the kids to see travel as an adventure and not something to be afraid of.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2006, 07:15 AM
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Congratulations and good luck!

Husband and I have a two year old and we're working on adding another short person to our family.

You can travel as much as you want. And I would bet that there will be times when you probably won't want to travel.

In our limited experience, travelling with a newborn was easy. Travelling with a 9 month old to about a 15 month old was a miserable experience.

Travelling with our two year old has been really great until this last weekend when she threw several fits over the course of two days and rolled around on the ground in a parking lot because she didn't get to help open the car door.

One thing we've learned is that travelling with kids is always unpredictable. But if you're willing to go with the flow (and stay calm while your kid is laying in the middle of a parking lot crying) you'll do fine!

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Old Oct 3rd, 2006, 07:17 AM
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Hi Beachgirl,

Here's a link to a Fodor's post I started awhile ago that may be of interest.


We're still trying to make this decision, but I received a lot of good responses.

Best of luck!
travel_addict is offline  
Old Oct 3rd, 2006, 07:35 AM
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If money isn't an option, then I think the only limiting factor will be your child's personality. Some of them adjust better than others to changes in routine, etc. and you will be happier if you don't try to force them to do something completely against their temperament. We do not travel as much as some on this board (to my eternal regret) but we have made yearly trips from FL to the northeast or Lake Michigan with kids, have taken a 4-year-old to Japan, and an 8- and 2-year old to Scotland.

One accommodation to children is that, left to our own devices, we probably would have gone back to Europe sooner, but instead we have chosen to spend weeks at the beach with friends.

The biggest change we made on the cross-country trips was less meandering in the car (my husband and I are happy to get out the map and wander back roads) so that we could get to a stopping place with a pool and/or playground. As our kids get older we will probably resume some of the meandering.

The change in bigger trips is similar -- we now stay in one place more and make day trips rather than bouncing around from place to place. Self-catering or apartment/house rental is a wonderful option.

As far as a yearly Hawaii trip goes, if Hawaii is your "happy place," there's no reason to give it up. I would personally try to avoid or minimize the flight and the time change for a few years. There are nice places to go in our time zone, you know! But if you find your little one is a good flier and isn't bothered by a change in nap/meal schedule, then go for it.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2006, 07:48 AM
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Ha that's funny Kureiff! I'm sure not so much to you but since it's been awhile since I've had little ones it is to me.

I want to encourage you though, the tantrum you describe could have happened anywhere at that age! But of course that's a whole other message board!
Best wishes and warm regards, Lily
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Old Oct 3rd, 2006, 08:19 AM
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My son and his wife were always travelers and having a baby didn't stop them. My grandson, who is now 10, has been all over the US and to Europe three times since he was four. They changed the way they traveled to accomodate him. They rent apartments (last time it was in Slovenia and he loved it there), and then take day trips in the area. They don't plan to do a zillion things during their holidays. They go a bit slower. They plan to do things that will amuse him (a water park in Switzerland one year, Legoland another) and then do things that will stay with him (Art Institute in Chicago and the Museum of Modern Art in NYC). He is exposed to different foods and people and places. At ten, he is a great travel companion.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2006, 08:30 AM
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This is not necessarily your last "alone" vacation. If you have grandparents, they may be happy to babysit for you. And later, a teenager may flatly refuse to go anywhere with parents.

In between, you'll enjoy sharing your travels with your child even more then you're enjoying them now!

When the baby comes along, introduce him/her to the travels slowly. Maybe a long weekend close to home for starters. It's not only for the baby, it's also for the parents to learn what to bring along and how to handle away-from-home responsibilities.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2006, 08:30 AM
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Travel is still possible, but I agree that your young'uns temperment will dictate the parameters! Some infants/children are very sensitive to changes in routine & schedule, so changing time zones or riding in a car/plane for hours can cause a nightmare.

Having said that, if you expose your infant to different environments early, it may help against forming a routine that is too rigid.

It helped us to:
-Introduce sleeping in a Pack & Play early & often, so they associate sleepytime with more areas than just their crib at home
-Avoid car trips of over 5 or 6 hours
-Keep flights to 2 hours or less, avoiding connections at all costs
-Use a lightweight stroller frame for the carseat, avoiding the bulky 'travel systems' and getting them into an umbrella stroller as soon as feasible
-Make & enforce rules about riding in the stroller at specific locations times (ours are the airport and Target) once they get to the age of 'reason'
-Book a suite instead of a room unless you want to sit in the dark at their 8pm bedtime
-Keep clean diapers, wet wipes and snacks stuffed in every suitcase, purse & glove compartment- someone else will use the 'last' one in the babybag, and you'll find out at the worst time!

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Old Oct 3rd, 2006, 08:36 AM
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As an aside, traveling w/children (particularly in foreign countries) you will find your child will open many doors that may have otherwise remained closed. That, is a wonderful fringe benefit that they tend bring.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2006, 09:58 AM
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I have a 2 and a half year old and while travel has certainly changed for us, we still go and still enjoy.

We started out by taking our daughter to my in-laws summer home for two weeks when she was about 3 months old. It was an easy, "safe" trip - I had help (my mother in law is a wonderful grandmother), we were just in New Hampshire, so language wasn't an issue, I knew where to get everything that I needed/forgot to bring and if, God forbid, something had gone wrong, the academic medical center at Dartmouth was less than an hour away.

Since then we have taken her to Barbados, Hawaii, Florida, Georgia and back to NH a few times. We are planning a trip to Paris for next spring, around the time of her 3rd birthday.

We no longer stay in B&Bs or small hotels - we rent apartments or suites (preferably with a kitchen). Much of our schedule is planned around her naps and since she is a "picky" eater (she doesn't eat meat), her meals play into some of our choices also. We still go hiking - she walks as much as she wants to and then one of us carries her in a backpack. "Planning" is very loose, if it doesn't look like the day's agenda is going to work, it gets changed and the agenda usually includes some outdoor play time, weather permitting - finding out where local playgrounds are can be vital.

You will learn to be immune to public scrutiny for carrying a screaming child out of a situation, be it a restaurant, a museum, a store, whatever - it's better than the alternatives (letting the child destroy property that isn't theirs to demolish or allowing inappropriate behavior to go unchecked).

Long flights are tough, but jet lag is worse. For the flight - have at least 24 hours worth of diapers/wipes and food, in case of delays/cancellations and a change of clothing for the baby and for yourself (4 hours in a vomit-covered shirt is miserable). A portable DVD player can be a lifesaver. Even if you are opposed to TV in general, on an airplane it can make everyone's life much happier - there is only so much time you can spend reading books, singing and coloring before you are both ready to lose your mind and a flight from the east coast to Hawaii exceeds just about everyone's limits. For jet-lag, just be prepared to be miserable for a few days - it took our daughter 10 days to get through a 6 hour time change.

Keep a sense of humor about yourself and your situation and anything is possible. Good luck!!
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Old Oct 3rd, 2006, 10:00 AM
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Hi beachgirl - We didn't let having kids change our plans to travel - it did sometimes change what we did and when (eg, Disney World, Club Med for Kids, etc got added to the list and, of course, more traveling was done in summer and spring breaks). Beginning with the first trip when we took our daughter to Colorado at 3 months to our "last" trip this past summer to Europe when she was 18 before she started college last month, we've never hesitated to take her and don't regret a minute. She's been to most of the states including Hawaii, Canada, Central America and Europe several times. They open your eyes to new perspectives and see things you might have missed. It's a wonderful way to see and help them grow and it offers opportunities to spend time with them that simply don't exist when they start going to school and you don't see them for most of the day.

I think what helps is to plan in advance for their needs/concerns and make sure they feel part of the experience. On long plane/car trips, we simply had age-appropriate things to keep her occupied. On trips of a week or longer, we set aside a day each week to do what she wanted (will never forget that visit to the London Dungeon! Truly awful.). But knowing that she'd have that day of her choice, we rarely had problems when she'd be "dragged" to museums, art galleries, historical sites, etc. (which, of course, she now recalls rather fondly and a sense of appreciation). There's no doubt in our minds that the travel experiences have given her an appreciation of different view points, cultural and social diversity and perspectives that she would not have had otherwise.

I think you're in for the time of your lives.

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Old Oct 3rd, 2006, 10:08 AM
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Although my wife flew once with our youngest, we stopped traveling to vacation via the airplane. We now have six children and vacation at a beach resort that is about eleven hours from home. This used to be a nine hour drive when we had no kids. The kids have been very patient. Portable DVD players have been a Godsend. So as to give the kids an exercise break, I intentionally take a route to the beach that includes a half-hour ferry boat ride.
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