Traveling is one of the many things that become so much more difficult to do when you’re a parent. You not only have to carry a lot more stuff, but you are also fully responsible for someone else’s well-being—and that someone is a little person that needs your constant care and attention. For these reasons (and more), a lot of globetrotters find themselves leaving their lifestyle—or putting it on hold—when they start building a family.
However, becoming a parent doesn’t mean you have to give up traveling entirely. All it takes is some careful planning before you start having children, and here are some of the best tips that can help you out:
Get it out of your system
Proper planning is essential for every family whether you are a frequent traveler or not. But if one of your main life goals is to travel the world, then you have to put in more thought about when you want to start having kids.
One great tip is to travel as much as you can before you start a family. In other words, get the wanderlust out of your system—or at least quench most of your thirst for now. This way, you can feel least regretful when you start having children, having already crossed off a lot of destinations on your bucket list.
Incorporate travel into your family’s budget
Many families tend to save up for one or two vacations every year. But when you’re a frequent traveler, one or two trips within twelve months may not be enough. Either way, incorporate travel into your family’s budget, be it for a two-week vacation once a year or a weekend trip every couple of weeks.
Considering that you also have to pay for the essentials like food, clothes, and after-school care, try to put away at least a few dollars into your travel fund every payday to give you something to look forward to.
Wait for the right time
Having children is a decision that should never be taken lightly. When you become a parent, you are a parent forever, and—as much as you don’t want to think about it—you lose some of your freedom to parenthood. That said, it is always a good idea to wait for the right time before having children, especially if there are so many more stamps you want to add to your passport.
For instance, if you’ve always had that one dream destination that you can’t cross off your list yet—consider waiting until you achieve that dream before becoming a parent. Sure, both of these things can wait, but would you rather travel to that place independently or while taking care of a child? In the end, it all boils down to your priorities.
Expect to take a break from traveling
You probably see globetrotter parents on Instagram traveling with their toddlers and flashing perfect smiles while doing so, but don’t underestimate the hardship that traveling with kids involves. Taking care of a child at home is already difficult enough—being in an unfamiliar place makes it all the more challenging.
Furthermore, most kids aren’t built for traveling. Plane rides hurt their ears, changes in climate are extra difficult for them, and they get tired easily. That said, there is a good chance that you won’t get to travel with them until they are at least in toddlerhood—but even then, traveling as a family can be a difficult feat. So, expect to put your travel plans on hold for at least a couple of years.
Learn how to travel with kids
There is no such thing as being overprepared when you’re traveling with a child. With that in mind, it pays to learn how to travel with kids even when they don’t exist yet. Some important things you should learn include:
- How to pack light for both yourself and your children
- How to keep children comfortable and entertained on flights
- Safety tips when traveling to a foreign country with a child in tow
- First-aid tips for common travel ailments like food poisoning, plane ride ear pain, etc.
- Proper pacing and itinerary planning for family vacations
- What kind of gear to bring
- How to budget, especially for children’s needs while traveling
Before you start having kids, it pays to plan how you can fit your traveling lifestyle into the life you will have when you become a parent. As you can see, having children shouldn’t derail your dreams to travel the world, but you do have to make the right decisions if you want to keep your lifestyle intact in the future.