Travel with Toddlers? No Thank you!

I love to travel.  It can be a weekend road trip or an elaborate two week vacation planned months in advance.  The anticipation, the excitement and time away is a total escape from everyday reality.  Relaxing with my husband or having an exciting girls’ weekend away is always up my alley.

What I do not love is packing everything in the house, including, but not exclusive to: sippy cups, diapers, travel kids’ potties, toys, burp cloths and everything else under the sun that my kids need the moment we step out of the house.

Point blank, I don’t enjoy traveling with my kids. I don’t want to take a winter family getaway to Florida or Mexico.  I don’t want to go wine tasting with my kids in Northern Michigan.  I would rather eat dead flies than fly to Europe with them. I love my kids, I promise.  But, I refuse to spend hundreds (or thousands) of dollars to do exactly what I would be doing at home, but in a different (and probably prettier) setting.

The exact opposite of fun is taking an airplane trip with a five-year-old, a two-year-old and a seven-month-old to go to a tropical paradise where I am a hostage to nap schedules and early wake ups before an, albeit beautiful sunrise. On vacation, I want to do several things.  Go visit cultural and historical landmarks of the area, eat local food, and peruse the local shops.  Most of these things are difficult to enjoy with my little angels.

travel with toddlers

Full disclosure, I HAVE taken my kids out of the house on occasion.  Even on a trip on an airplane. When we had one child, we took him to Florida with Nana and Papa.  It was DOABLE.  Did I have fun?  Yup.  Mostly because we had my mom and dad to help. And we even enjoyed some time alone! But do I plan on doing this again this spring? Nope! 

I often see wonderful pictures on Facebook of my friends traveling to Europe and the tropics.  They all seem to be smiling and happy, but I bet behind the scenes, they are exhausted. Maybe they are better parents than I am.  And I’m not saying that with any sarcasm.  I may even be a little bit envious of them.  It’s not that my kids are bad.  Yes, they have their moments.  But they are just so little.

travel with toddlers

Call me selfish, because let’s face it . . . I am being selfish.  I want my kids to have wonderful experiences. But, let me tell you a little secret.  My two-year-old and seven-month-old are not going to remember ANYTHING.  All they need for a good time is a paper towel roll, an unlimited supply of goldfish and someone to change their diapers. 

My five-year-old is where it gets a little tricky.  I want him to experience new places and things.  So we do the best we can until we can all enjoy a vacation as a family.

I will travel if several of my stipulations can be met:

  1. We need at least a two bedroom suite (condo, hotel room, ect) and this is a total bonus, our dwelling is waterfront.
  2. We all have to have a comfortable seat in our mode of transportation (meaning no lap sitting babies on planes).
  3. Also, this trip can’t cost us more then a mortgage payment.

Lucky for my family, I am a planner and can check off all of these requirements for a whole week away next summer at a lakehouse that is only a few hours away. Although I’m not going to be basking under tropical palm trees with a margarita in hand, at least I’ll be able to do the dishes with a nice view. I’ll report back on how it goes.

Do I want to explore the Louvre in Paris or wade in tropical waters in Mexico? Of course I do! But for our family it will just have to wait a few more years until we can ALL enjoy it.  


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