With Mother’s Day coming up Sunday, I’ve decided to dedicate each day this week to offering tips, inspiration, and stories to all the traveling moms out there, especially those who might be questioning how, where, or why they can bring their children out into the world. And I won’t be doing it alone. Each day other fabulous traveling mothers will offer their own words of wisdom. I’m so excited to bring you the collective experience of this truly amazing group of family travelers who have been round the world and back with their little ones.
Even though I created the assignment, it’s hard for me to decide which was my favorite trip with a baby or toddler. When I first started traveling with my kids, I truly wasn’t ready for where the journey would take us. What started as messy, unorganized trips quickly turned into life-changing experiences. We improved how we traveled, we found the best graco pack n play to use, we changed the way we packed, our kids got used to traveling… it was a wonderful transformation that allowed us to have countless amazing experiences. So, picking one is just too hard! It certainly doesn’t help that I spent so much time on the road – I’ve got a lot of locations to choose from. There was the magic of riding double decker buses in London, or playing in the Boboli Garden in Florence, or riding the Zilker Zephyr in Austin – all absolutely top-notch and memorable things to do with a one-year-old.
But if I think if I had to pick my favorite trip with a toddler, it would have to be Vermont, and to get even more specific, the swimming hole in the Mad River in Waitsfield perhaps because it’s a place I spent so much time with both of my babies. The water was frigid but clear, there were myriad rocks for throwing and exploring, and nothing filled my heart with more joy than the backdrop of mountains and blue sky. No matter how sleep deprived I was (and often during those visits I was very sleep deprived) when we arrived at the swimming hole I would relax into a kind of suspended joy that you might even call bliss. Simple – that’s the word that comes to mind, and I think when we travel with little ones, sometimes it’s the simple things that are very best.
I’m not the only one who thinks so either. Amy Whitley of Pit Stops for Kids loves beach outings for their ease:
Amie O’Shaughnessy of Ciao Bambino! also chooses the beach as her favorite baby-friendly destination:
And for Corinne McDermott of Have Baby Will Travel, the beach is a happy place to remember:
Some traveling mothers prefer sailing on the ocean to sitting next to it. Colleen Lanin of Travel Mamas has fond memories of cruising with her toddler.
Mary Solio of The World is a Book also loved cruising with her daughter:
And of course, what makes you feel more like you’re getting away from it all than staying on an island? Lisa Goodmurphy of Gone With the Family has made one her family’s favorite vacation spot:
Nicole Wiltrout of Arrows Sent Forth cherishes the memory of a vacation that lifted her out of a bit of new-mom blues:
While we learned yesterday that plane travel with a toddler can be stressful, Keryn Means of Walkingon Travels demonstrates that it’s also worth it:
Meg Nesterov of Knocked Up Abroad Travels has been around the block a bit and chooses Turkey as her favorite family destination:
And finally, for Rebecca Darling of R We There Yet Mom? it’s the joy of discovery that makes traveling with a toddler fun, no matter where they are:
My favorite trips with my toddler are when we discover the unexpected. When we have an agenda to follow but his curiosity takes us down another path. At the nature center, he wants to sit by the pond for 20 minutes just watching the fish and it turns into the most relaxing moment of the day. At the Children’s Museum, he wants to play with the bubble machine, making me laugh nonstop. Or the simple walk to the neighborhood park may take us twice as long because he wants to chase the butterflies and pick the wildflowers.
By allowing him to direct the flow and engage in what he wants to do, we end up having a better experience than if we would have kept up with mom’s schedule. I only wish I would have learned this with my older two. I cringe to think of all the memories I didn’t make because I was too afraid to veer off of my itinerary.
Ultimately the best thing about traveling with babies and toddlers is of course the memories. Taking your child out into the world and watching him or her experience it is one of the greatest joys of parenting, even when they are too little to tell you what they think words. I’m so grateful to all of these inspiring mothers who have shared their stories all week. I hope you’ve enjoyed them as much as I have and will join me in wishing every one of them a very Happy Mother’s Day.