Traveling with a toddler changes the way you travel for many obvious reasons. I can forget about staying in hostels, late nights at pubs and jam packed itineraries; and honestly, I could care less about the way I used to travel.
Traveling with my almost 2-year old has changed the way I travel for the better and I am never looking back.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
If you know me at all, then you know I sweat the small stuff. Profusely. I’ve learned to stop doing this on my travels to avoid spoiling my trip. I can thank my daughter for this. When shit hits the fan, there is she, smiling and laughing without a care in the world. I look at her and how carefree she is and remind myself that whatever has happened isn’t the end of the world. She helps me laugh through it; even when I lock all of our clothes in a laundromat in Italy after hours (whoops) or an unscheduled train strike occurs and we can’t catch our train to our next destination. Traveling isn’t perfect. You live and you learn; and if you have a daughter like mine, then you laugh through all the misfortunes and find the best in the situation.
Breaking Out of My Shell
I like being alone. There, I said it. This is probably why I am one of the crazy girls in this world that love traveling solo. My daughter has taught (forced-cough cough) me to break out of my shell and interact with the locals. She loves meeting new people and most people tend to adore children-which means a lot of conversations start up. I now firmly believe that immersing yourself with the natives of the country that you are visiting truly gives you the best perspective of the culture. I am thankful my toddler is a curious little girl and shows her mama how to get the best experience out of our travels.
Traveling with a toddler means stopping to smell the roses. Literally; a million times. Slowing down, making a flexible itinerary and seeing the world from my toddler’s perspective makes for a unforgettable experience. On our latest adventure, I planned my itinerary to allow for leisurely mornings, nap time and bedtime at a decent hour. It was a breath of fresh air to not feel like I had to accomplish an abundance of things in one day. Instead, we were able to focus on a couple of sights per day and truly enjoy them without being rushed. And if you think you can rush a toddler, well, then you clearly aren’t a parent of one ;) Slowing down will only make you appreciate your travels more.
Cutting Out Luxuries
I am by no means a luxury traveler. I budget absolutely everything when it comes to traveling. Traveling with my toddler means I have to budget even more to make our adventures possible. We don’t stay in fancy hotels, hardly eat out at restaurants and do a whole lot of walking to get around. I even manage to pack 2 weeks worth of our necessities in only one carry on– my trusty Osprey Backpack. I have grown to love traveling simply and living more like a local, rather than a tourist on vacation.
Traveling with a toddler is by no means “easy”, but it is worth every single temper tantrum, lack of sleep and sacrifice. I could not imagine exploring the world without my daughter by my side. She has shown me an entire new way to travel and I am never looking back.
Seeing the world through my toddler’s eyes is the most special gift I could ever dream of.
Do you travel with your little ones?
Share your experiences below! I love hearing about other traveling families!