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Travel is actually more fun now that I have a toddler

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 two-year old has changed the way I travel for the better and I am never looking back. Here’s how traveling has changed for me.

Image: Erica Soto

1. I 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.

2. I break out of my shell more

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) 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.

3. I’m better at slowing down

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.

4. I understand what luxuries are

I am by no means a luxury traveler. Ibudget 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. I have grown to love traveling simply and living more like a local, rather than a tourist on vacation.

Image: Erica Soto

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!

This post was originally published on BlogHer.

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