We decided somewhat willy-nilly to take our toddler on a family vacation. There was a whole lot of wishful (read: not) thinking going on.
Looking back now, I’ve got that wonderful 20/20 hindsight about the whole experience. Allow me to share and perhaps it will help you decide if traveling with your baby is right for you.
What kind of vacation is it?
A week’s stay at beach condo with your family or friends (who also have young kids) would be perfect to bring along your little one. A Disney cruise with childcare might be a nice option. But a trip involving extended air travel and multiple cities/hotels might not be the best vacation for your toddler. The more complicated it is, the less suitable for babies.
Can someone keep your toddler while you’re gone?
If Grandma’s been itching to have some bonding time with her sweet little angel baby, let her have it! Take your vacation and leave the baby with a trusted sitter. Leave the guilt behind. It’s a win-win, people.
Could you and your spouse do a trade?
My Seattle friends’ neighbor said he and his wife take turns going on vacation, while the other parent stays home with their 2 year old. Cara did this over the summer when she had a girlfriends’ weekend in New York City. Now it’s her hubby’s turn. Smart!
Is your child really going to enjoy this vacation?
Cassie had her moments of joy during our trip, such as at The Children’s Museum in Seattle (she squealed with delight and exuberantly hugged strange children). But a lot of the time, she wasn’t too happy, what with the diarrhea, the gypsy-like trek from hotel to plane to car to hotel, and frequently being restrained in a seat, stroller, or Pack-n-Play. Poor kid. We did what we could to make it enjoyable for Cassie, but I think she would have been much happier at home. Consider waiting to bring your child along when she’s old enough to have fun, too.
Do you have time to recover from your “vacation”?
If you decide to take your toddler on vacation, you’ll likely need at least a couple of days to catch your breath afterward. It’s utterly exhausting hauling your kid all over creation, plus you’ve got laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, and tons of other errands to do. Give yourself a post-vacation vacation before heading back to work.
Obviously, the decision to take or leave your toddler for your next vacation is solely up to you. Be honest with yourself when answering these questions, and you’re way more likely to make the right choice for your fam. Bon voyage!