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!
6 thoughts on “Should You Take a Vacation With Your Toddler?”
Very good points, all!
I agree with PP that they are good points, but something else to think about is, could you go some place where it is easier to take a toddler as well as enjoy yourself? I didn’t catch if you mentioned something about taking a different vacation with your toddler, but I know that the trips we’ve taken with our kids have been awesome (born ’04 & ’05, this summer and last). They were two different types of vacations, but both allowed us to be adults and enjoy our kids–time goes by so quickly! I know that one day my husband and I will be able to take the trips we’ve dreamed of (and that aren’t suitable for toddlers), but for now I’m happy to take my kids on trips and see their faces light up, hear all the funny comments, and have little weekend or overnight getaways for the two of us.
I’d highly recommend a beach vacation with your extended family. We’ve rented a house on North Carolina’s Outer Banks with my parents and brother and his fiance for years. There’s lots of family stuff to do, and all the adults pitch in with the kids. This summer with a 3 1/2 year old and a 2 month old, I got a chance to sit on the beach and read ALONE!
I agree with anonymous. We plan child friendly vacations for now. I like to spend what time I do have away from work with my kids. It would be too tough for me to spend precious vacation time without them.
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These are some really good points to consider when traveling/vacationing with a toddler. I don't travel much, however, for my second job I create party favors and I made over 300 of them for a relative’s wedding, so I had to travel with the favors, my husband and our 2 year old. The flight was good, and everything just really fell into place. However, I could see some real issues arising if we had layovers or delays in flights or if we had to travel to multiple areas. A big tip for traveling with a toddler is to bring a fun little snack along such as cheerios or raisins; they tend to keep little hands busy for a long time 🙂