When I said I wanted to travel with Nolan – who was six months old at the time – as soon as he had his vaccinations, I was called crazy, mad, and given these side glances or ironic looks saying ‘good luck with that’. But truth be told: the more I was ridiculed the more I wanted to do it.
Is it possible to travel with a 6-month-old baby? Is it difficult? Is it worth it? Is it really that hard to enjoy your trip? How do you do it?
All these questions from people around me inspired me to make this post which I think is very fitting given our 6 year travel anniversary.
Here are the answers to all the concerns and questions I got ever since my partner and I made the decision to travel with our son:
Isn’t traveling with a baby scary?
Is it even possible to travel with a 6-month-old?
The honest truth is that I was scared shitless.
All these people with their unsolicited advice got to me. I am a person with highly sensitive mother instincts/responsibilities. I didn’t want my child to suffer in any way. So I had the pleasure of doubting my decision every step of the way.
So yes, it is scary. But also yes, it is possible!
What made me decide to do it anyway?
I wanted to at least try and fail as opposed to never knowing. To me it was important to prove to myself and to know for myself and not through other people’s insecurities.
Turns out I was right. Nolan doesn’t mind at all. He enjoys himself immensely everywhere we go. Of course there have been tired cries here and there but we have learned to find compromises and we stick to a schedule that works for everyone.
It helps that I’m also a lucky mother of a relatively calm child; I hear stories here and there and it seems I’m doing okay compared to some.
My Top Tip
We split our travel times in chunks. When we took off from Toronto to Thailand we stopped over in San Francisco for a week.
To get to Okinawa we made stops in Singapore and Hong Kong. Both were for a week and two weeks respectively. And during the day we tried not to get out for more than 2 hours at a time. My husband and I stick to his napping schedule so everyone can remain calm and rested, which is the most important thing when traveling with a baby.
Is it difficult to travel with a baby?
Yes and no.
Yes, because you’re carrying a sometimes grumpy, teething, 10 kilo mammoth of a baby around for several hours at a time.
No, for the overall experience because the first part is only 20% out of a 100%.
Sometimes, like right now, Nolan’s sleeping schedule is a bit off so we accommodate accordingly. Baby comes first in everything we do. So we remain calm if we didn’t get somewhere or didn’t do this amazing thing.
Figuring out, talking things over, and communicating to your spouse about things you want to do is important in general. It becomes imperative during times like this. I am my own person as well, with my own identity and sometimes I find myself wishing for something way too often. This is when it becomes critical because it’s not just the baby that has to be happy.
I just took a class in Okinawa food preparation and my partner gave me these 3 hours to enjoy myself. It was glorious three hours and no one died. Obviously, I will return the favour when he needs some time for himself.
My Top Tip
If you want to travel but are scared or have reservations about it, take small steps. First try a picnic at the park. Then a day trip somewhere. Then a two-day trip with the family members that you trust will help you. Soon you’ll see that it’s not that difficult or scary at all.
Is traveling with your baby worth it?
Nolan was 6 months when we started and now he is 10. I can see every day that he is changing. He looks at new things around him, feels the different textures, meets and talks (not really, more like smiles and gurgles) to other people that he has never seen before and it all leaves an everlasting impression on him.
I remember judging the hell out of a person I know taking his not even 2-year-old daughter to the beach resort at an expensive hotel. He told me: ‘Just the look on her face when her toes are touching the sand is worth the flight (10h) and the price (200$/night for two weeks).’ I thought he was exaggerating. Turns out I was still on the other side. It is worth it.
What about hiring help during your travels?
I am not one of these people who will tell you that I love being a mom every day. I love my son and I am still surprised I have one. I am neither a helicopter parent nor a “let the child do what he wants”. Sometimes it is hard, very hard and I don’t enjoy it all the time. Hiring help often came as a thought to both my partner and I. However, I wouldn’t trust any nanny to do my job for me. During moments like this I remind myself that it is not for forever and take a sip of sake, wine, tea, or anything else…
How do I do it?
The short answer is that I learned to let things go. Another thing is putting myself first.
Ever heard of the stewardess telling you to put the oxygen mask on you first and then help those around you? That’s the approach I take. I have learned to put myself and my happiness first and let go of what might drive me crazy like dirty dishes, torn paper, poopy diaper lying on the bathroom floor for one hour already.
We’ve been traveling with Nolan for four months now, and all is good.
Some people prefer the comfort of their homes during winter in Canada but I would rather fly to Thailand for 17 hours with an infant. Discomfort? Sure, but it is totally doable and worth it in the long run.
Do you travel with your baby? What are your top tips?
This is a guest post by Julia K.
Julia K is a travel blogger who found her passion by writing about travel tips, authentic shopping, and gift guides. When at home, she likes to explore what is new in the world of travel fashion, food, and travel gadgets. Follow her on Instagram and her blog.