Everyone told us having a kid would change us. They said once we brought a little one into the world, travel (and everything else in life) would be different and more challenging to do.
We still had no idea how different our life would get.
Some things are definitely harder to do than they used to be now that we’re parents. But others, like travel, are so much better because Makai is with us.
Rob and I loved to travel long before we had him. After he was born, we had no plans to curb our wanderlust.
Now, we travel more than ever! We do haul around more travel gear than we would if we didn’t have a kid. Also, we put more time and energy into planning our trips to ensure all aspects are kid friendly. The extra work is well worth what we both gained traveling with our little man.
Here are four ways he has made travel better than ever for us.
A Kids Perspective on the Places we Visit
Before we had Makai, I saw things a lot differently the places we traveled. Looking back now I can see I had a really narrow perspective. Rob and I visited Italy three years prior to parenthood. I look back on that trip and feel like I missed a lot great things. It would have been so much better if Mak had been with us. I have many great memories of Italy but two things stand out about it for me now- my fixation on the graffiti in Rome and my ignorance about some of the incredible attractions we saw.
Traveling with Mak, we get different perspectives both physically and mentally- he always finds the beauty in places, seeing the coolest differences, and similarities. I know in Rome he would have inspired me to look past the graffiti and Rob and I would have been motivated to learn more about all of the spectacular things we saw.
We’ve learned little kids see things differently; they look for the magic in things. They’re not judgemental and are more accepting. Naturally curious, kids ask questions that need answers, so everyone in the family learns something. This has enriched travel for us; we feel a greater connection to the places we visit because of his perspective.
The Push to do Different Things
Traveling with a little kid inspires us to find fun and I’m not talking about shopping or cocktails on the beach. Now we’ll do activities and seek out experiences that we wouldn’t have prior to having Mak.
Some of my best travel memories are of attractions we chose to visit because of him. The Natural History Museum in London, the dressing room of Mannequin Pis in Brussels, and Tinteretului Park in Bucharest are all places we made a point to see because they offer tons of fun for kids. All were really fun for grownups too, in fact, we’d visit each of them again in a heartbeat with or without a kid along.
The Increased Chance for Personal Growth
Kids are naturally curious so they’re usually keen to try new and exciting things on vacation. When they do, parents are right there with them trying it too. We know this helps everyone in the family grow a little bit. We frequently participate in things that are outside our comfort zone while traveling to make experiences more fun for Makai.
Before Mak, I would avoid riding roller coasters, swimming in the ocean, and trying certain foods. Now I’ll do all of those things to experience them with him. I’ve overcome come fears and grown as a person because of that.
I used to be terrified of flying- traveling with Mak helped me deal with that. I learned about the principles of flight to answer his questions about how planes fly. Doing so eased a lot of my anxiety about flying. Having to put on a brave face for him in his younger years to avoid inspiring fearful feelings about flying for him also helped me overcome a lot of my own fear as well.
Traveling with little kids builds stronger memories
Rob and I can get bogged down navigating a new city but Makai is always on the look out for something cool. He shifts our focus and we end up seeing things we wouldn’t have traveling without him. Seeing more isn’t the only things little kids do traveling. They also remember different things about places long after a trip is over.
Kids are more in tune with all of their senses; this helps them develop stronger lasting memories. All of the things that make a destination unique; the sights, sounds, and smells all play a role in shaping everybody’s memories. Little kids ability to recall certain situations because of sensory memories seems to be more sensitive than in adults.
Mak has heard a sound or smelled something and instantly remembered a fine detail about a place that we’ve visited. Doing so always initiates a conversation about that place and time. We share the all of the things we remember and I can honestly say we have stronger memories of every place we’ve visited with Mak because of that.
Traveling with our Son ignites a desire to do more, see a different side of a place, experience travel more deeply. This has really made travel better than ever for us.
Do you notice any differences in how you travel after having kids? How do kids make travel better for you?