parent opinion

We've gone on 9 trips since my daughter was 3 months old. Here's why parents have nothing to be scared of.

My husband and I have always been big travel people, and we agreed that we didn't want that to change when we decided to have kids.

We figured we would simply have to adapt our travel wish list, so that it was a happy compromise between being baby-friendly and still an exciting, fulfilling experience for us.

I know other parents who have never even taken their kids on a plane, over fear the whole ordeal will be too stressful. They want to travel, but they've put it in the 'too hard' basket because they have a baby who doesn't sleep on the go, or they're worried about the potential meltdowns that could unfold.

And yes, while I agree that the airport is not my favourite place to be with a baby or young child - and I do get the occasional pang of fear over a public toddler tantrum - any inconvenience is instantly forgotten as soon as we arrive at our destination. 

Watch: Horoscopes at the airport. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia. 

That's the motto we've had since we took our daughter on her first trip when she was three months old. 


I admit, I was scared to take such a small baby overseas to Bali, especially being such a newbie to the motherhood game. But my husband encouraged me and pushed me out of my comfort zone, and I'm glad he did - it turned out to be a pretty memorable trip, and a good example for us to follow for future travel. 

When she was a five-month-old we hopped on a short, easy flight to Byron Bay. 

On New Year's Eve of 2018 when she was seven months old, our good friends were getting married at a Western Australia winery, so we built a family holiday around that - bringing my in-laws with us to help with babysitting duties along the way. 

At 15 months old, we ventured to Bali for four weeks, travelling around the island, flying back home to Sydney for a wedding, then making our way back over to Hawaii for five weeks of roaming the different islands. It was seriously fabulous. 

Of course, the pandemic put a temporary halt to our travel agenda. But once we had the green light again, it was off to Cairns and Port Douglas when she was three, Fiji when she was four and then back to Bali before her fifth birthday. 

Our daughter's five now, and she is a well-adjusted little human who adapts well to different surroundings, and I chalk that up partly to the fact we've been on the go with her since she was a teeny baby. 

Travel is absolutely harder to do with kids... but it's been far more rewarding than inconvenient. That perspective has simply come from the way we've chosen to look at it.


Image: Supplied.

Adjust your expectations.

There's the obvious tricks and tips to make travelling with a small child that little bit easier - booking flights to coincide with their nap times, making sure you bring the pram that's light to carry but also reclines for sleeping.


But all in all, I've found that adjusting your expectations and accepting your limits when travelling with kids can do wonders for maintaining a positive attitude throughout the journey. 

When you've got a baby or a young child in tow, you're not going to be able to go to that all-day beach rave in Ibiza. Don't even try to make it happen. 

Before you plan anything, think about what you want to achieve from this trip, what you'd be happy to go without and what you don't want to sacrifice. 

There's always a way to get back that pre-child travel glow or revisit memories you had in a certain place, even temporarily. Hotel nannies and kids' clubs can be saviours when you want that cherished adult time on holiday, so be sure to look them up wherever you're going!

When it comes to actually getting to a place, you might luck out with a baby who snoozes the whole flight. But if you're going long-haul, just accept there will probably be some hair-pulling-out moments before you board, when you're on board and also when you're disembarking. 

We had a dream run to and home from Bali with our then 15-month-old daughter, but two weeks later when we jetted to Hawaii, she threw up her bottle just before we boarded, some of which trickled into my shoe. How delightful.

It wasn't ideal and the plane trip that followed was exhausting, but when we got to the hotel in the morning, they made our dreams come true and let us check in super early. We slept straight away and woke up as three completely new, reinvigorated people. Then a few hours later we started our magical day in the sunshine at Waikiki Beach! 


Stick to a routine, but make it a 'holiday routine'.

I'm the kind of parent who starts to get anxious when the dinner/bedtime routine gets out of whack, but I've learned to let that go a bit when we're in travelling mode. 

There's no point in paying a fortune and expending all that energy to travel to a new place if you're just going to be restricted by the rigid home routine. 

Instead, I try to stick to a loose version of the daily routine, and if it deviates from that a little - so be it.

Image: Supplied.


For instance, if we'd been out all day and it pushed our dinner plans back later than planned, we would adjust accordingly. My partner and I would feed our daughter dinner before we left, then go out to eat somewhere walkable so that she could go to sleep in the pram on the way there or way back, depending on the time.

If we'd been too busy exploring and sightseeing and she'd missed out on sleep during the day, we'd stay in to eat that night so she could have her uninterrupted routine and catch up on precious sleep. 

If you use these times as a chance to recoup and re-energise - rather than seeing them as a hindrance to your holiday - you'll really make the most of the rest of your time being out and about.

Step outside your comfort zone - it may just pay off!

Once you become a parent and you have a social event to attend, I think it's pretty natural to think about the logistics and what you're capable of smoothly pulling off.

It's the same when you travel, and there have been times on some trips when I've thought it would be easier just to skip an event rather than run the risk of a parental stress-out. 


But sometimes, it's a case of 'you never know unless you try'. 

This has paid off well for us on several standout occasions. 

That one time in WA, the wedding party were heading for a leisurely mini wine tour and long lunch in the beautiful Margaret River. We were the only couple with a baby at the time and we didn't want to miss out, so our friends organised a car seat for the minivan for our daughter to tag along. Once we got to the lunch spot, we fed her, popped her in her pram for a five-minute stroll and she ended up napping for a mammoth three hours. The dream!

On another trip, when we'd travelled to Hawaii for our friends' wedding, the group had arranged a dinner at a lovely restaurant at 7pm, bang on our daughter's bedtime. It could have been a disaster, but we gave it a shot because - FOMO. She ended up sleeping soundly in her pram throughout dinner, transferred back into the car seat without waking to drive home, and then into her cot to continue snoozing away.

Other times, things won't go so smoothly and you'll be cursing yourself for even bothering to leave the hotel. 

But I choose to hold onto these positive times as a beacon of hope for future travelling adventures with children!

Do you have any travel tips when on holiday with kids? Let us know in the comments below!

Feature Image: Supplied.

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