. Traveling with kids: lessons from a traveling dad : Budget Travel Adventures

Traveling with kids: lessons from a traveling dad

life lesson for traveling with kids from traveling dadsWhile family travel is a booming area of the travel and tourism industry, moms seem to be the biggest driving force behind traveling with kids.  To celebrate Father’s Day, I shared some travel trips and stories from traveling dads.

Summer vacations on the beach are fun.  Disneyland is a place the whole family can enjoy.  And all-inclusive family resorts have something for everyone.  However, there is much more to family travel and traveling with kids than just the fun stuff.  The greatest benefit of traveling with kids is the opportunity to bond as a family.

The more I talk with people about traveling as a family, I hear stories from family vacations and what a great time kids and parents had.  However, comments from people look back on these trips with the family and say that family vacations are not about the destinations but about the memories  they have with their family.

Many experiences are funny, embarrassing, or sometimes boring.  However, these experiences have shaped and molded kids into world travelers and caring individuals.  Did a trip to Disneyland change the way they view the world and inspire them to visit China?  Maybe.  However, the time moms and dads took to take their kids with them and spend time together bonded them and created many loving memories for kids.

While moms get a lot of credit for the time and effort they put into their families, dads are special too.  So here’s a look at life lessons for traveling with kids – from a traveling dad.

Traveling Dad – life lessons from traveling with kids

Traveling is a great way to bond with children - Whether it’s on holiday or seeing a new country every few months or traveling around the world, there are special moments that allow dads to connect and bond with t

Traveling with your child can start at any age - Whether your child is a baby, toddler, young kid, pre-teen, or teenager, you can always travel with your child.  While our dads may disagree on when is the best age to travel, all of them show you that even dads can travel with kids at any age.

Traveling with your child is not about the destination - Whether you live abroad, spend time in Mexico, go hiking, or just enjoy family vacations, the memories and experiences you create for your child are in the relationships formed.  Even dads will agree that traveling is about the special moments no matter where, how long, how much, or how how quickly you travel.

Traveling makes for better dads and people – Believe it or not, there are lessons dads learn as well.  Sometimes it is about the joy of sacrifice so that your child benefits.  You can develop skills and challenge yourself on things you weren’t good at before.  You will also learn a lot about yourself in the process – challenging you to be a better person and dad.

Traveling changes the way you and your child views the world – While the effects of travels may not be immediate, it can make a difference in the little things even if it means a more tolerant view of the world, a little more patience, and a reminder to enjoy the simple things.

Start small – Taking your kids on a road trip can be scary.  Taking them overseas can be too much for some dads.  So start small.  You don’t have to go far to get your kids and yourself out of the house.  Find things you can do together.  Start with a day trip or weekend trip close to home.  As you gain confidence and see what fun you can have, then go a little bit further the next time.

Just do it!- While traveling with a child will has its ups and downs and can be scary, these dads haven’t regretted doing it.  Start small and work your way up to bigger trips.  Traveling will be a learning process for both of you but also a great bonding experience.

Traveling with kids isn’t easy. Being a parent isn’t easy. Taking the time to do both involves sacrifice and patience. However, giving your kids the gift of travel could teach them life lessons that will stay with them the rest of their lives.

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  1. It must be so different traveling with kids than solo or with a partner. You have to have a tough exterior to deflect the stares and comments about your screaming baby on an airplane ;)

    • Some babies are good, sometimes they are not. Depends on how old they are and how long the flight is. No, it isn’t fun but sometimes it is necessary. And yes, it can be quite stressful. Much much different than solo or with a partner. :)

  2. This is so true! Hopefully, your post will inspire more dads to take their kids traveling.

  3. Andrew says:

    Before becoming a parent I never got upset with a kid screaming on a plane. Crazy right?

    I was more annoyed if the kid was doing this while the parents took a nap or spoke softly to them to “please stop it…I’m going to count to 3.”

    People need to travel and that sometimes means parents with their kids! Shocker. Best advice is to keep the kid up before the flight and by the time they are on board, it’s sleepy time.

    As for traveling now with a kid, it has changed the way I look at travel all together. Places I swore I would never visit or visit again now look appealing. I want to see travel through my son’s eyes and take lots more pictures of him than of attractions.

    Huzzah to traveling dads.

    • Before I met you at TBEX, I had no idea you had a kid. Nice to know we have that in common!

      You are right about the kids thing – sometimes it is necessary to fly with little ones. I have to admit it still gets on my nerves when kids are crying and screaming. I understand it better but it does bother me, even when it is my own child.

      As for changing the way you look at travel , ABSOLUTELY!!! I’ve experienced things in life that I took for granted, regardless of travel, much differently now that I have kids. It’s such a fun, refreshing look at life and makes it more enjoyable again.

      I think one theme that runs through these posts about traveling dads – it is much more about the experiences we have than it is the places we see!

  4. jade says:

    great post, jeremy! We don’t have kids yet, but I know traveling and exposing them to new cultures and adventures in high on our list. Good to see that no matter how comfortable you are at first, you can start small and build yourself up to feeling comfortable traveling with them in tow!

    • For me, I think it is the best way to start. Small is good because it gives both parents and kids time to ease into change. Some kids are more flexible and adapt better than others. However, kids at a young age need routine. So traveling very young can be good and bad. Easier to do because they can sleep but can be hard because it can mess with their schedule. Each child and parent is different but I think starting small is a great way to go!

  5. My dad and I had our own adventures growing up. I think that’s in part, why I like to travel today.

  6. Great observations on kid travel. Our son traveled well when he was younger (and fell asleep easily in his car seat) and when he was older. From about 4 to 8 he wasn’t a lot of fun on a trip. We once had a 4 day ride from NY to Florida (should have been about 24 hours max- visiting more playgrounds than I thought could ever exist. We knew we were in trouble when 4 hrs into the trip he asked, “Are we there yet.”

    • Good to know about ages 4 to 8. I will be entering that phase soon. Part of me thinks it will be easier because my older one adapts so well and is flexible. Not sure I will do any huge overseas trips for a while but we will have to see how they handle the long car trips! :)

  7. My children are both young adults now but we took family vacations every year. Mostly we camped but we did journey to places out of state too. I liked camping because it was easier on everyone. Kids don’t like being cooped up in hotel rooms, I didn’t have to worry about them running up and down the hallways and spills were no worries. Worked out great for everyone. My kids still love the outdoors to this day!

    On planes, I don’t like crying kids but deal with it. The thing that irritates me the most is when they kick the back of the seat and no one does a thing! Basic etiquette would be nice!

    • As a kid, we took family vacation as well. Some were good, some were OK but they didn’t really inspire me to travel. Looking back, I appreciate the efforts I made and got to see some neat places. We never went overseas but I did get to see a lot of the country. However, it’s great to see the impact your travels have had on your kids. Hope mine are the same way!

      And we both agree about crying kids!

  8. So many times I hear excuses not to travel because of kids, so it is great that you are advocating traveling WITH kids. When I read this post I think of Nancy from @familyonbikes and how awesome what they did with their children. Those kids are going to be our leaders of tomorrow thanks to what their parents exposed them to. Same applies to your children and other parents who take the time to show their children the world.

    • Familyonbikes are truly inspirational. Got to meet one half of the tandem at TBEX and just admire what they did. Not sure I could do it but what a great experience for the whole family. I do admire parents who have the courage to take their kids traveling – it isn’t easy.

  9. am still hesitant to travel with my kids, although you raise great points

  10. Dan Allsup says:

    I travel very frequently with my four kids (ages 2 months-4 years)I work for the airlines so we fly for free, and my kids are so accustomed to flying that, its no problem and its normal for them. My 3 & 4 year old have had to sit away from my wife and I before with no problem.

    Honestly they prefer it to road trips, because they can get up and go potty when they need to and get to see and explore new things outside of a car seat.

    I have an 18 month old who is at a hard stage for flying because she will not sit still, and thats understandable, but we always try to wear her out and fly around times that are conducive to napping.

    Roadtrips are a little more difficult, because of the unending pottybreaks for everyone, you just have to be patient. If its a long road trip I always prefer to leave at night so they can sleep thru a large portion of a trip.

    I love traveling with my wife and kids, I’m so lonely without them on trips. It truly is a great time for bonding.

    • Dan, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. Like you, I like having my family with me and it is hard to travel without them. My kids are still really young so flying may be a bit easier when they are older. I guess I will see how they do in the next few months. We are taking one long road trip as well as a long flight so I will have to see which they prefer.

      Like you, I have an 18 month old and that is a difficult age. It was hard on my older one at that age too so I look forward to traveling more when they are older. Like you, I look forward to the time we have to bond together.

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