March 17, 2012

Traveling Abroad with Kids: The Good, the Bad, and the Funny

Today we’re featuring guest blogger Mandy Moise, designer for vfish, who just returned from a 65 day trip through China, Nepal, Indonesia and India with her husband and two girls, Ellie 2.5 yrs, Sloane 1yr. As Mandy puts it, “Dora the Explorer has nothing on my little ones.”

Travel with Kids

Recently on a flight from Chicago to New York, a woman looked at me and said, “Wow, you are brave to be flying with two little babies!” I guess “braveness” is relative.  It’s sort of the general perception from a lot of people we come across. Once you have children, your ability to travel is gone, or limited to quick trips to visit family. My husband and I dreamed of traveling the world (and we do), and I can honestly say it’s so much cooler with kids.  ( NOTE: I said “cooler” not easier. )

Travel with Kids

I’m not going to sugar coat it. Traveling abroad can be challenging with little ones. Personal space is not viewed the same in all parts of the world. In the USA, most people would not come and grab my kids to hold them or, just walk up to me and start photographing my kids paparazzi style.  In all parts in and around Asia, this is very common. People are friendly, and mean well, but try to explain to a 2-year-old why people keep grabbing at her cheeks.  By the end of our trip, my 2-year-old would shout “No pictures please!” and would bury her face into my shoulder. We were good sports about it until both kids ended up with eye infections. After that, I would politely block the cheek pinching snipers.

Travel with kids

One thing that is often overlooked is the travel logistics: strollers, gear, beds.  We used a Double MaClaren umbrella stroller and GO cribs by Guava Family as many hotels throughout the world will not have cribs. And if they do happen to have cribs, you won’t want to use them. Strolling internationally can be hilarious. Paved sidewalks? Elevators? Not so much. So have a good sense of humor, and a strong partner to help you out.

Travel with Kids

Throughout our travels, our girls see things most kids will never see. I truly believe that as they grow up experiencing these different cultures will help them be better humans and citizens. They learned and saw first-hand what poverty was, danced down the streets of Kathmandu, climbed the marble steps of the Taj Mahal and learned to love spicy food.  If you have the means and the time to travel with your little ones, do it!  The moments of joy you will experience in doing so are well worth the extra effort.

Travel with Kids

Comments

  1. Gwen says:

    This was a fantastic post! We’re about to move to China for a year with our nearly two year old. We’ve traveled quite a bit domestically with her and it’s kept us on our toes but always been fun. Cannot wait to get overseas with her!

    If you happen to be reading these comments: I would love to know a little more about the Go Crib. I’ve been looking for something this light and portable but I’d rather not splash out that kind of money unless I know it’s absolutely worth it. Were you in love with them or would you go for something else if you did it again?

  2. Cindy McCarthy-onthegochicago.com says:

    Truly inspiring! We are taking our girls on their first international trip in September, and I will remember your wise suggestion to keep my sense of humor on our adventure.

  3. Amanda Worrall says:

    Thanks for sharing! We will be traveling to Europe this summer with our 5 year old and 2 year old. I am so excited, yet a bit nervous about the logistics of it. They will grow up being able to say that they have been to the some of the places that their classmates have only read about. How thrilling!

  4. Kirsty says:

    Good for you Mandy – you see a whole different world through the eyes of a child – and yes, sometimes in countries like the ones you visited it’s very hard going but the rewards for both your kids, and you are so, so, worth it – hope we get to see and hear more of your travels

  5. Mandy Moise says:

    GWEN!!
    You will LOVE the Go Crib by Guava Family… Its so light,. and it fits into a back pack. We had the bjorn ultra light crib before this one, switched – and were so glad we did. They inflate/deflate so fast.. My girls loved them!

  6. Kirsty says:

    Gwen, we lived in China when our first daughter was born and it is amazing! You will have the most fantastic experiences – it’ll drive you crazy at times too – but it’ll be so rewarding. And travel in China is fabulous too – a wonderful train network and amazing places to visit – Good Luck!!!

  7. Caroline says:

    I am so inspired (and a little jealous)! We have a 4 month old and I always said I didn’t want to stop traveling once she came along. I am glad to see that there are others out there with the same attitude. It seems that most people I run in to tell me “you better do it now before she can walk and talk”. You are living my dream! Awesome post.
    Caroline
    http://www.laughingbellies.blogspot.com