Are big vacations with a toddler worth it?

At some point, most parents have to ask themselves whether or not they should spring a big trip on their kids – and on themselves! Not every parent feels prepared enough to take their child on a trip that’s longer than a drive to the grocery store, whether the destination is a theme park or a relative’s house. And for the ones who have decided on traveling, there are a lot of questions that still stand between them and the departure gate.

Some of these questions involve where to go, when to buy tickets, what to pack. But a bigger and more overwhelming question that parents often ask themselves is whether a big vacation with a toddler is even worth it. This might be difficult to answer – of course you love Baby and want to take her everywhere, but you may also have your doubts, and that makes total sense. Thinking through the pros and cons of your proposed trip may help you figure out whether a big vacation is the thing to do now, or if it can wait.
  • Pro: Baby will get to spend some time with different scenery and people. Whether you’re traveling from the city to the country, or just spending time with far-away family or friends, Baby will enjoy looking at all the new things around her.
  • Con: At this age, and during the time of the trip, Baby may not care about much of what she sees, and may not remember it later.
  • Pro: Baby is more portable than a 12-year-old or a teenager.
  • Con:  Baby might be lighter, but her stroller and highchair sure aren’t.
  • Pro: Baby is fairly easy to please and doesn’t need as much entertainment – the whole world entertains her!
  • Con:  She will still monopolize a lot of your attention on the trip, since she can’t do much on her own.
  • Pro: You’ll get to see some new scenery without having to find a babysitter for Baby first.
  • Con: We’ve all been on a flight with a crying toddler. It’s even harder being the parent of a cranky traveler, so prepare to be at the end of quite a few travel tantrums.
  • Pro: You’ll do a lot of bonding.
  • Con: You’ll also do a lot of planning and work!

At the end of the day, the choice that is right for you really depends on what you want out of the experience. If you’re invested in bringing Baby on a trip and you suspect that you’re up to the task, then it’s totally worth it to start planning one. But if you don’t like the idea of going on a vacation where you’ll end up focusing your attention on Baby more often than you focus your camera, you might want to wait a little bit longer to introduce her to the vacation experience. 

Even if Baby does enjoy a trip,  she probably won&;t retain much of what’s going on. So if you are set on traveling somewhere with  her, make sure you consider your own feelings as well. There’s plenty of time for Disney World in the years to come, so if it’s not exactly the destination of your dreams, don’t force it.  Baby will probably have just as much fun on a brewery tour or at a musuem.

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