5 life lessons I've learned traveling with an infant





We spent most of the month of May traveling. First it was a week in South Florida for a friend's wedding, followed by two weeks with family in West Virginia and Pennsylvania while the fiance was traveling for work. 

In my circles (online and in real life) it is not unusual to travel with kids, but every once in a while I come across folks who think I'm a bit crazy for doing it. I hear "He's too little and won't remember" or "It's not worth the stress." I respectfully disagree. No, my 8-month-old won't remember our trips (save for the hundreds of pictures I take). Yes, it is a lot more work than traveling with grown-ups only. But as you can read here, we believe the pros outweigh the cons. And for now, I can tell you some of the incredible life lessons I've learned (or am slowly learning) from traveling with my little guy.

1. How to work through stress, anxiety and other emotions
This is the biggest lesson for me. I hate to admit it, but I'm not as laid back a traveling mom as I hoped to be. Before baby, I was proud to be a chill flyer. Crazy airport delay? No problem, I've got books, food and a phone charger. Overbooked flight? Heck, I'll stay another day and take that sweet travel voucher. With a baby, though, that quickly changed. For example, we arrived home from Florida at midnight only to learn that our car seat never made it. This mama was pissed, especially since we traveled all day and got handed a dingy loaner that did not compare to our super safe one. (The airline had my carseat delivered to our home the next morning). Then coming home from West Virginia, we got delayed, rerouted and our original upgraded seats weren't available on the new flight. I know, you might be thinking - cry me a river,  first world problems. But that's the type of stuff that gets to you when you're a tired and sleep deprived new parent.  It takes a lot more deep breathing to go with the flow and stay calm, and I am working hard on it, for everyone's sake.



2. To have perspective
Being a new mom can easily get you stuck in a rut. Everyday is groundhog day at home with our baby. Diaper changes, cuddled naps, feedings, playtime, repeat. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love our daily routine, but getting out of our comfort zone and into an adventure does wonders for the soul. Seeing how other people spend their days is a great reminders that EVERYONE has his or her own struggles to face - which is a sure way to make us feel less alone in our own journeys. Not to mention the appreciation we feel upon returning home to our own bed!



3. How to improvise and be resourceful
I'm a true believer in less is more, especially when it comes to traveling. I was a carry-on only kind of gal before, and now I use one shared checked bag for baby and I. You can try to be as prepared as possible, but it is very unlikely you'll be able to pack every single thing you use at home. Being on the road with my little for three weeks has definitely made me up my resourcefulness game. I asked my hosts ahead of time about what items I could borrow, or whether I could use their laundry machines. I used travel sized items as much as I could, and, thanks to some ingenious ladies on pinterest, I learned that my trusty baby carrier could double as a makeshift highchair. 



4. The importance of help
Traveling alone with my little bud and being away from his dad for so many days was tough on all of us. All I kept thinking was that single parents are my newfound heroes. How do they do it, day in, day out? Thankfully, I was surrounded by friends and family on all my travels (a big reason I was ok with going in the first place), and they were a huge help. It is so important to have people that you trust around to help with the little ones. It does take a village - even it's an online or long-distance one.

Grandpa entertained all four boys for a whole weekend



5. To have faith
And I mean faith in humanity and in a higher power, whatever that means to you. I believe people are generally kind, and our travels have so far confirmed it. Most people who we have come across while traveling - the flight attendants, gate staff, or fellow passengers - have been kind and courteous, sharing their stories, making the little one smile, offering unsolicited help and being gracious while I nursed him. As far as a higher power, let me just tell you, I pray. And I pray HARD. That everything goes smoothly. That we remain safe. That baby sleeps through the flight. That he doesn't have a diaper blowout. And I guess Someone must be listening closely, because we have had a clean, miraculously well-rested baby every time.

So far.



What big lessons you have learned from your travels?












you might also like

Travel Tips

18 comments:

  1. This post came at such a good time! I'm a nervous wreck about flying by myself with R.. Mostly because of the nursing in public thing and potential meltdown on the plane. i need some of your confidence to rub off on me!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Every time I go somewhere I come home with some new perspective. I think it one of the reasons I love travel so much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Same! It's one of my favorite things to reflect on. Haha deep travel thoughts! XoXo

      Delete
  3. After having a baby myself (who is now almost 10), I feel for anyone traveling with a baby! I remember how hard it was for me (or me and my husband)... always getting the bottle ready at take off and landing for the ears, getting toys and entertainment ready and praying he would sleep ha!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha yup, that's exactly right - I had this backpack with tons of pockets and everything I could possibly need was within hand's reach...just in case!

      Delete
  4. I've only flown twice with B3, but I've learned to help with the anxiety/stress, I have to leave plenty of time in case things don't go as quickly/smoothly as planned. I'd rather have too much time at the gate than be stressing through security! I haven't flown solo with B yet though, that'll be a new ball game.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sounds like you had a really fun May!!! :) I hate when people say "oh, they wont remember!", I love traveling with my daughter and while I agree, it does add quite a bit of stress, it's so much fun experiencing new things with her and watching her eyes light up in delight when she sees something new. I'm not quite as proficient in packing as you though, I'm a chronic over packer, always have been and most likely always will be, but it is something I'm working on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, it is SO FUN to watch them discover things! And it's so easy to just pack extra, isn't it? My fiance laughs at my packing ritual (it's quite precise and borderline OCD haha) but hey, whatever works for us all, right?!

      Delete
  6. These are all great tips! I am sure there are many challenges of traveling with a baby!
    www.amemoryofus.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. great tips! we're flying home to chicago this thanksgiving so i'll be sure to try to remember all of this! xo jillian - cornflake dreams

    ReplyDelete
  8. obviously I need to bookmark this for when I need it with my future littles!! I've traveled with the kids I nanny but I know it will be different traveling with my own kids :)
    xo, Candace | Lovely Little Rants

    ReplyDelete
  9. oh ps I LOVE your cute design!!!!! your header font is gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Candace, that's very nice of you! Traveling with any kids is definitely a handful, so you'll have an advantage over us inexperienced ones for sure :-) xo

      Delete
  10. I learned that when it is all said and done, everything will be alright. I recently took a flight to Ohio, and my 9 month old was just over traveling in the last 15 minutes. I didn't have my husband or any help with me so the guy next to me let my little one play with his hand which amused him, and the lady next to me offered to hold him. It was a huge help just to kind of give him a different view of the plane. We all survived despite little bouts of screaming in those last fifteen minutes. Sometimes nonstops aren't available when we want to fly, but when they are we jump on them!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I completely agree with you! We love traveling with our kiddos. It never crossed our minds not to take them. Not only for the reasons above but it also makes you see the world different - through the eyes of a child! Thank you for sharing at Waiting on...Wednesday! Hope to see you back tomorrow!

    Holly @ www.iwillservewhileiwait.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  12. i don't have kids, obviously, but i can imagine travelling with kids can be a bit hard, but it sounds like you have a great grasp on things! nice to hear everyone has been nice though. i would have been livid about the car seat, i have had my luggage lost or damaged so many times and that's just luggage, not a car seat!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I have to say, this has been one of my biggest struggles as a young female who loves to travel. Will kids ruin that? I hum and haw about it often (I'm still a few years off from having children) but I was adamant that having kids would ruin my plans to see the world. Your blog is incredibly inspiring for me because you prove that it's possible and very rewarding. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Madi, thank you so much for your kind words! Confession: At one point in my life, I thought the same thing! But honestly, I love traveling with my little man. It's SO cool to see the look on his face and to see him blossoming as an awesome kid as we expose him to so many new things, people and experiences. Thank you for stopping by!

      Delete

Thank you for taking the time to comment, it means a lot to me! Please note I respond privately via email, so If yo are a no-reply blogger, check back!

About the Writer

I'm Louise, a Tampa Bay based Brazilian-American travel blogger. Join us as we learn and share the ins-and-outs of traveling with a toddler and our sweet rescue pup Oreo, while promoting local nonprofits and wellness along the way.