If you've been an adventurous soul since you can remember, having children probably won't change that. You might want to take it easy for some time or it might even be a reason to travel more and show your little ones the world as soon as possible. Or maybe you’ve never travelled before, but you feel that now might be the time to start, only you’re not sure how all of that even works with kids. Don’t worry, just keep reading and I’m sure you’ll be excited to book your next travel by the end of this post.
Let me start by making something clear – if you’re a parent, you probably already know that kids are unpredictable. It’s hard to say how they’ll handle or react to certain things. Even the best babies have bad days and even the wildest toddlers can surprise you by acting perfectly decent. So in case you’re postponing any family travel plans just because of fear of the unknown, I can assure you it’s a risk for all of us and nobody ever knows how things are going to turn out. But if your wanderlust is stronger than your fear and you start out with a positive attitude, I’m sure it will turn out great (or at least you’ll survive it)!
It’s never too late to start, but in general it’s easier to travel with smaller children. Babies mostly eat and sleep, so they’re easier to handle. Sure, they can cry too (A LOT!) so if you’re taking a long flight, you should be prepared to entertain them, make sure all their needs are covered and hold them close so they feel calm and safe. This is where the magic of Boba comes in. I’m sure most people that have tried it will confirm that it’s the absolute easiest way to put a baby to sleep. So with one of these you could even be lucky enough to watch a movie or two and get a nice long nap during your flight. All while your baby safely naps in the carrier and you are comfortably seated. Well, as comfortable as those airplane seats get.
*Most airlines offer baby bassinets for longer flights, but at least our kids would wake up the second we put them down in there, so Boba was a better choice. It was a safe environment they were familiar with, so they always calmed down immediately.
If you’re worried how to even pack everything for a family vacation, I’m not the best resource because I think most moms tend to pack too much because we need everything “just in case”. But you should always check with your airline, since usually you get to take some extra pieces of baby/kids equipment for free. That could be an extra piece of hand luggage, nursing bag, a stroller, car seat… Depending on what you need. Sometimes it’s easier to take everything with you and sometimes it’s easier to travel light and then rent or buy things you need at your destination. The good thing about the Boba carrier is, that it takes very little space when it’s neatly folded up so it always goes with us, no matter what else we decide to bring. And there’s also the lightweight option (Boba Air) that’s perfect for travelling. Because I’ll tell you from experience - even if you own the best travel stroller on the market, you won’t be able to navigate it through the plain aisle. So there is always some shifting, lifting and switching involved and I’ve learned that the easiest way to board a plane with small children is in a carrier. That way you have your hands free to take care of all the additional luggage you’re taking with you.
Usually the “getting there” part is the hardest and once you’re on your destination you can relax. But then again, it really depends on your travelling style and your plans, you could be going for a lazy vacation or a more intense cultural experience with lots of moving around. We’ve learned that a nice balance works best for us, we make a rough plan that includes a couple of more intense days, so we cover the things we’d love to see and do, but we also include a couple of slow days so we can all relax a bit. The key is to stay flexible and to not set your expectations too high. That way you can always shift things around as needed. That’s another reason we prefer to travel with a carrier, since it gives us more flexibility. If your plans are of a more adventurous nature, you probably want to move around freely and experience as much as possible. Travelling with a stroller is great and it offers a different level of comfort, but it also means you’ll constantly need to look for an appropriate route, wait for the elevator, go around all the stairs or carry it up and down. We love the freedom a carrier offers in that way, and let’s not forget the napping and nursing on the go (which is a lifesaver).
Since everybody has their own preferences, our travel plans and styles are probably very different, so it’s hard to suggest a universal guide that will work for everyone. But one thing all travelling parents have in common is making sure the kids are well and happy. The good thing is, usually they don’t need much to achieve that. Kids love to discover new places and there’s always plenty of new sights, smells and flavors that will keep them entertained. Don’t get me wrong – if you’re dealing with baby colic or temper tantrums, that won’t magically go away just because you’re travelling. But there’s a good chance you’ll be dealing with less of that, because they’ll be too busy with other things. And if they do act out, you can always take a deep breath and remember that nobody knows you and you probably won’t see any of those people again.
Travelling with kids can be hard work, but it’s also a great joy and one of the best gifts we can give them. You’ll forget about the exhausting parts soon, but the wonderful memories you create together will stay forever. So go ahead, book that flight and show them the world.
And don’t forget the snacks. Lots and lots of snacks.
Written by Tanja Užmah Mosquera | @los_mosqueras