How Old Should Kids Be to Travel?
This is a question that I get asked quite a bit. As a mother of three boys, people are often very curious to know when did I set out on my first adventure with my children?
I have been traveling with my children since I got the ok from the doctor to do so. I took my first born to Disney when he was less than a year old and to Europe when he was barely 5.
Would I do it again, and did I with my children that followed? No.
It was expensive and though traveling with children can indeed be a hassle, I feel it is really only really worth the investment when they start to develop memories, when major safety issues aren’t a concern and when they (and we) can really enjoy it.
So a trip to Disney when very little? Not really the best idea. You or someone will spend a lot of time sitting around with the stroller waiting for others to finish the ride, then there are nap times and feedings to deal with. For what that trip tends to cost a family, I just don’t think it is the wisest investment in family vacation.
I have always advocated for road trips because they can be set up to what your family can tolerate as first-time travelers. But even then there are things to consider.
Check out this video interview with NY1’s Valarie D’Elia of Travel with Val, When Are Kids Old Enough To Travel, where I, along with other travel experts, give you advice and things to consider before paying for that next big trip with your little ones.
This is a great topic, Carol. Our first time traveling with B was to Disney when he was 11 months old. However, we are in Florida, so it was a road trip, and we had annual passes to the parks at the time. Our expense was not as high as other families' might have been. We also went with friends, so baby swapping was easy, and we didn't end up riding alone while the other watched B.
The boys, at 9 and 5, have never been on a plane. We've been planning a trip to NYC for a while, but want to be sure the little one can handle the flurry of activities, not to mention the walking, that we are planning to do while there. And Europe? We won't be doing that until they are at least both in their teens.
There are isolated cases where theme parks are okay (i.e. me and hubby are crazy theme park fans, so we went more for us than for them early on), but I definitely think that generally speaking, you and Val are exactly right on this one!
Thanks so much Amanda. I agree. Like most things in travel, it really depends on the child, the family, and other specifics that affect the trip experience. Thanks for sharing and for your feedback : )
We had to travel to Hawaii with my 3 month old for my brother's wedding. It was not a very relaxing trip and getting there was a nightmare. Definitely would have been easier if the kid was older!
I'm not a parent and only an observer but I noticed while traveling in Latin America that a lot of Europeans travel with their kids, but no North Americans. There is a cultural nuance somewhere there because I always assumed once I had kids travel would be off the books for at least a few years.
There are a lot of components to this. I think that maybe standards of discipline are different (what Europeans tolerate as opposed to Americans – not to say one is better than another). Also, it would be unheard of to tell a European that they can't travel. What? No, it wouldn't happen, thus children just do and learn. I have always said there is no better way to teach your children how to travel than to actually go out there and do it.