Seven Reasons to Travel with a Baby: The Benefits for Parents
When people talk about the benefits of travelling with kids, they usually focus on the benefits for the kids. However, on my recent international trip, I realised travelling with a baby has had a huge impact on me, more so than my baby! So let’s look at some of the benefits for parents who travel with a baby:
- Learn flexibility: It’s not possible to do things to exactly the same routines you do at home, especially if you cross time zones. Travelling is a great way to learn to relax and be flexible, because it’s the only way to survive! If you get stressed at home when your baby misses a nap or you try really hard to stick to a schedule, the relief you feel when you can just let go of that for a little while is quite impacting - it was for me, at least!
- Discover new foods and ways to entertain your baby: Most mamas I know struggle with finding variety and not getting bored with the same meals, snacks, activities and even toys. Travelling helps break the norm and discover new things you wouldn’t discover at home. For example, you’ll be forced to try different foods with your baby when your regular fresh seasonal produce or snacks aren’t available. You’ll be forced to use your environment to entertain your baby, and therefore discover new games, toys and activities you can do back at home too.
- Make memories: We all have special memories with our babies, but there’s something really memorable about the things that happen in different places around the world. We cherish ordinary experiences more when we’re on holidays, and we also make ourselves do more memorable things than we would at home. The way I see it, our holiday allowed us to exchange a normal week for a week of incredible experiences and memories with our baby. We transformed a normal week into something we’ll remember for the rest of our lives.
- Learn new things your baby is capable of: As a result of being flexible and doing new things, we mamas get to discover new things our babies are capable of, which we may not have realised back in the normal day-in-day-out at home. Travel helps us realise what we do out of habit, and what we do because it’s actually necessary. For example, my baby used to be really sensitive to her sleeping environment, and I used to spend ages before travelling making sure she was used to her portacot and even washing and packing a very select set of sheets and blankets. This time, when we went away I couldn’t fit her bedding in my luggage, so we had to use the bedding provided. She slept wonderfully and was actually excited seeing different portacots to her own. (What a relief for me! No more packing bedding every time we go somewhere and washing on return - woohoo!)
- Relationship building: When you’re in a foreign environment, you’re forced to be a tighter knit family unit than normal. You also have to deal with different and new stressful situations, which can be amazing opportunities to build your relationship with your partner (if you are mindful of it). For example, when we missed our flights, my husband and I could have let it ruin our holiday, but because we stuck together and didn’t descend to fighting about it, our relationship grew and we know more about each other and love one another even more as a result.
- Have fun and a break: The days can be so long when you’re at home with a baby or toddler. Balancing work and family can be an ongoing source of stress. If you can get away to someplace new for a little while, it can provide a much needed break. It can be like coming up for fresh air after you’ve been trying to stay afloat in the waves. Also, travel is a great opportunity to have a bit of fun, which we unfortunately too often forget to do in the busyness of normal life. We don’t get to have holidays from being parents, but we can have holidays from our normal life as parents, and that can be the next best thing. Also, remember that if you’re travelling with a baby or young toddler, they won’t remember anything from the trip anyway, so you may as well do some fun things for yourselves (not just things to entertain the baby).
- It’s cheaper when they’re younger: As kids get older, you have to start paying for things like admission prices, flights, and kids’ meals. If you can travel before they get to that stage, you’ll reap the benefits of travel while keeping costs low. In other words, if you go on a holiday now, you’re practically saving money. If you needed the justification… there it is. Bon voyage!
Those are a few of the benefits I’ve experienced during and after my first international trip since becoming a family.
Now, I’d love to know, what’s one reason you love to travel with your family? Tell us in the comments below.
View next blog: Things I Learned Travelling with a Toddler