This photo is from Eva’s first trip to the coast. She’s little here – not quite a year – and I think this might have only been her second or third trip anywhere. She’s five now and she’s been through California on at least ten different vacations. She’s also traveled to Ohio, Florida, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, and she’s seen pretty much every part of our home state.
Calvin will be three this summer and he isn’t quite as well traveled as his sister (his trip to Moab doesn’t count since he was a fetus) but he’s still been to almost every state that she has and he does have all the American Disney parks under his belt. And if I pull him in here now and grill him on which rides he liked the best and how the different resorts compared, he’s going to give me the blankest of blank looks.
It’s hard to travel with kids. They require so much stuff and after they turn two you can’t even fly them for free. Plus, you have to feed them (no easy task with our allergy kid) and you can’t stay in dive motels when you’re traveling as a family. Your schedule is also all tied up when you have your kids with you, since you have to pick activities they’d be interested in and figure out how to get everyone around in one piece.
I love traveling with our kids. Not only do I hate to take trips without them (even our amazing parents-only WDW trip for Disney Social Media Moms), I actually want to travel more now that our family is larger. There are so many things I want to share with them and I love revisiting places I’ve been before because watching my kids see everything for the first time is exciting. That being said, is it worth it to take your kid to a museum or expensive theme park or major destination if (A) they aren’t going to remember it because they’re too little and (B) you don’t necessarily have the money to take everyone to Walt Disney World (or wherever) every year?
I say YES for these 5 reasons:
1 – Even infants can get joy out of new places, experiences, foods, etc. It’s so fun as a parent to be there for that happiness!
2 – Having to adapt to different places or unusual situations is really good for kids. Kyle and I have a constant back and forth about whether it’s mean to make the kids take as many long car rides as they’ve taken, but I’m starting to win the argument because the kids are now champs at being in the car for ten hours or more at a time without blinking an eye or feeling like they’re having to endure something awful.
3 – The sooner you get used to traveling with strollers, diapers, and car seats in tow, the less overwhelming it will be. Now that we have a cross-country trip under our belt, I’m actually a lot more confident about taking the kids out of the country, even with them being as little as they are. (Well, we might start with Canada…)
4 – Tomorrow is not promised. I’m not going to get all dark and morbid here, but there are lots of things that can happen to disrupt travel plans if you make them too far into the future (who saw the Zika virus coming?).
5 – Your kids will remember more than you think. Eva doesn’t remember dipping her toes into the sand on that first day we took her to the beach, but she’s seen the photos and knows that she was there. She also remembers an amazing amount of experiences from our WDW trip, considering she was only three, and it’s probably because we have so many photos and videos for her to look over. It’s much easier to record vacation memories now than it ever was so it won’t surprise me if even Calvin is able to hang on to a couple of concrete moments from his two year old trips.
Personally, I have tons of vacation memories from when I was younger and my parents didn’t even take that many photos (comparatively speaking). We had no video camera, no smartphones, and no PhotoPass photographers, but I have vivid memories of trips I took when I was three, four, and five years old. Some are so strong than when I went back to those places later on, I was able to navigate the area without help. Definitely not vacation funds wasted because I was too little!
So, any family trips this year? I’ll be filling you in on our travel plans soon…