Having a Child Doesn’t Have to Stop You From Travelling

Before my daughter was born, I had no prior experience with children or babies. (Did you know: I never actually held a baby until my daughter was born — I know it sounds kind of sweet, but it was really because I was nervous and never felt comfortable enough to hold something so tiny and breakable). What seemed to scare me about children was that, on the surface, it seemed so difficult. I was afraid that having a child would somehow diminish my quality of life as an adult.

There is no shortage of parents out there who make it their job to tell you to prepare for the worst:

[blockquote]”Say goodbye to your partner, because once you have a kid, you’ll never go on a date again!”[/blockquote]

…apparently having a child destroys your ability to spend quality time with your lover.

“Get your sleep in now, because you won’t have any once your baby comes.”

…wait a minute — you can “save up” sleep for the future?

“It’s very hard to travel with a child.”

…depending on your child and your circumstance, this may be the case. With Ayla, she’s actually better on planes than in cars because she can walk around and interact with people.

“Having a child costs one million dollars.”

…if somebody were to tell you that your life would cost you over $6 million (see how much your lifestyle will cost here), are you supposed to just forego living? Life can and will be expensive in the long run, but does that just mean you shouldn’t live? It’s not like somebody hands you a $1 million invoice when you deliver a child.

However, over the past year I’ve realized something profound: the parents who look like they’re unhappy, the parents who’ve tried to convince me that having a kid will diminish my quality of life — they’re not me. I’m a different person, our family unit functions differently than those families, we have different priorities, different values, different rules.

Because of this realization, “say goodbye to your partner”, and “say goodbye to your money” became void concepts, or atleast not as drastic as I once feared them to be.

But there was one thing that I was a little afraid of: I was afraid that having a child would take away my freedom to travel.

Travelling with a babyTravelling 12-hours with a baby on a plane

Now, don’t get me wrong, Ayla changed everything, and we sometimes look back on when we didn’t have a child and get frustrated that we complained about the dumbest things.

We didn’t realize how easy travel was before we had Ayla. How about a 12-hour travel day from Lethbridge to Honolulu? You can certainly forget about sleeping, or reading a book (ha!) — you are now required to be “on” and alert for the entire trip. For your own sanity, it’s your job to keep that baby happy. Door to door, mi amigos.

However, with all of the travelling we’ve done over the past year with Ayla (Lethbridge – Yellowknife – Honolulu – San Francisco – Calgary – St. John’s – Calgary) we’ve been lucky; she is quite a good traveller and we haven’t had any major issues while travelling with her.

It’s certainly a challenge and an adventure, to say the least. But if you know anything about me, I like challenges and adventures.

Simple advice from a new dad

If I have any advice for first-time parents, it would be: don’t stress about what you see other parents doing or not doing, because you’re different, and you’ll be a different parent — unless you want to be the same. If something is important to you — like travelling — then make it a priority.

If it’s a priority, having a baby really won’t change that — you just may have to accept new challenges along the way.

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Thanks for taking the time to read this, my friends! If this article has added value to your day, please share with your friends & family.

Cheers,

Brad

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  • Nabeela

    This was a life saver Brad.
    My husband and I have been travelling a lot lately with our one year old (including 14 hours of flight journey ) and I am conceived with the next one now.
    The moment I told the news to some people, they were like, it’s gonna be tough for you to travel around or go places with 2 young kids. You should have planned for the next one a little later.
    For a fraction of a second, I really wondered if it was not the right time. To make me feel better I was looking for experiences.from people and came across your blog!!!
    Thank God I did!! I feel so positive now ans I am never going to regret my decision…

  • I am so happy I came across this blog article. My husband and I are both 32 years old and consider ourselves to be world travellers. We cannot commit to owning a house as we typically move on to the next venture based on our jobs every two years or so with plenty of travel hopping in-between. We both want a child, but are terribly afraid we’d have to give up the joys in life that we cherish – travel and adventure. I think I’d make an amazing mom, but I’m okay allowing my mother or mother-in-law babysit our child for a week. Most people would consider me selfish at the thought of it, but I think it’s necessary to still be YOU while also providing for your family. I plan to take our baby on many trips to adjust to traveling – albeit it won’t be easy, but just like you, we are up for the challenge. Thank you for helping put my mind at ease! Cheers – Jessica

    • Hi Jessica! Thanks for taking the time to read and share your story 🙂

      As you already know, my opinion is: you’ll do whatever you make a priority. For many, large commitments like buying a home, adopting a dog, or having a child change their priorities. And that’s okay! The problem is when a person starts saying things like “I wish I could travel”, “It’d be nice to vacation for that long”, “I couldn’t do that because I have kids now”, etc. and use the (child, house, dog) as an excuse. The reality is, that person now has new priorities. Travelling, vacations, extra-curricular activities, working out, etc. are no longer a priority.

      Don’t get me wrong, having a child certainly presents a whole bunch of challenges that were never there before! However, if your priority is travel, and to allow your child(ren) to see the world, and new cultures, then you will find ways to make it work. You’ll pack all the toys, and distractions, and put up with a few stressful flights, or road trips, simply because travel is your priority.

      Here’s a good example from my experience: early last year, Laura and I planned to go on a family vacation to San Diego (obviously with Ayla), and we were very excited to escape the winter and enjoy some sunshine and surfing. Long story short, we had to cancel our trip because Ayla had a couple important doctor’s appointments that came up at the same time as our trip. We were a little bummed, but our daughter is our priority, so we said “San Diego will still be there next year”. And just a few weeks ago, we re-booked our trip and just recently got back from a mini-vacation to enjoy the sunshine, waves & seafood 🙂

      It’s not selfish to love travel. It’s not selfish to want to make it a priority. It’s not selfish to aspire to travel with your child. There will be challenges, hurdles, and stresses that weren’t there before. But if it’s your priority, you’ll make it work 🙂

      Bon voyage,
      Brad

  • Pingback: Ten Useful Tips For Travelling Long Distances in a Plane with a Baby | Brad Hussey()

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