My husband and I have been traveling with our children since our firstborn was about 4 months old. And trust me, I’ve heard it all. Why are you wasting your time bringing a baby? Isn’t it inconvenient hauling around a stroller at the airport? And my personal favorite: They won’t remember anything! It’s a huge waste of time!
Sure, bringing your small children on a long flight isn’t easy. Even traveling solo isn’t easy with all the restrictions, inconvenient layovers, connection times, and of course, jet lag. Let’s not forget travel is also expensive. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to forgo a much-needed break from my everyday routine just because I’m a parent. In fact, this is the time I need to escape from reality the most.
With that being said, here are five very good reasons you should consider taking your kids in your next trip (even if they don’t remember anything).
1. Family vacations stimulate your child’s brain development
Believe it or not, baby babble is considered real conversation. A lot of parents might dismiss their toddler’s grumbles, grunts, and even growls as nothing more than whining when they are actually trying to communicate with us.
Research suggests that parents spend most of their time communicating or at least talking more to their children when they are on vacation. According to The Telegraph, two-thirds of daily conversations between parent and child are about their daily routine. What’s more worrying is that one-third of fathers say they don’t have time to play with their children. Fortunately, all that changes when you are on vacation. While your toddler might not specifically remember the details of your break to Curaco, you are encouraging an incredible amount of brain development simply by tuning more in than out with your child. And that’s a benefit everyone can enjoy.
2. City breaks work well with young kids
When our children were younger, we took a lot of city breaks both domestically and internationally. We visited museums in Philadelphia, ate beignets at Café Du Monde in New Orleans, and took in all of the vast beauty of Versailles. Between the ages of 4 and 10, there’s a very good chance that your child might not want to stroll through the streets of Brussels or take in the wide variety of art and culture at the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City. You can take advantage of everything your kids normally wouldn’t want to do, while they are young.
3. You can enjoy your own schedule when kids are young
Once the kids are older, your traveling itinerary will revolve around them. You’ll most likely be visiting kid-friendly activities and attractions and won’t be able to visit the tourist hot spots you want to see. But when children are young, there’s a good possibility they’ll sleep through a visit to the Soumaya Museum or a quiet lunch between you and your partner. You might even be able to experience the new Nutella Café and Restaurant in Chicago without worrying about the terrifying toddler meltdown to come from all that sugar. Now that’s a vacation to remember!
4. Travel is less expensive with younger kids
Children under the age of 2 usually fly free on most domestic and international carriers. Additionally, many airlines offer discounts for fliers under the age of 12. British Airways has recently offered free flights for children ages 12 and under traveling with a full-paying adult on flights out of Heathrow Airport.
Today, many airlines encourage you to travel with your children. Just ask Emirates Airlines. The Dubai-based carrier gives young fliers special attention with child-specific meals, hundreds of channels of kid-friendly entertainment, and toys and goodies to inspire the youngest of imaginations. Oh, and diapers and baby formula, too. Simply put, flying with kids is not the nightmare it used to be.
5. The gift of embedded experiences
Sure, your mother-in-law or nosy neighbor might tell you that you’re wasting your time taking your kids on a pricey vacation to the Caribbean or Europe for the summer. They won’t remember the beach resort, the sand in their toes, or meeting Moana at Magic Kingdom. But kids remember more that you realize.
All of the bonding and quality time spent with your children on vacation is embedded in their memories. If you’re anything like me, time off means no cell phones, no cleaning, no laundry and none of the other frivolous things we worry about at home. On vacation, your kids have you 24 hours a day, and trust me, that it makes the trip worth taking.