Some people love to travel. When kids come into the picture, they often feel like they have to stop or limit themselves to simple road-trips. Is this always the case? How do you know if your kids are ready to travel overseas? There are several factors to consider.
First, attention span and energy. Little ones tire out quickly, so a long walk around a historical site or a museum will only exhaust and bore them. A stroller can solve this, but they’re expensive to rent for long periods of time and make for bulky luggage. Sometimes the solution to this is stationary activities, but it depends on the kid. Travel blogger Caroline Makepeace describes her experience traveling with a toddler: “They’ve just learned to walk; they’ve got to practice this new skill. The legs won’t stop moving and if you hold them in your arms for a moments rest, the battle of the wriggles will begin.”
Unless you’re going to Disneyland, it may be best to wait until your kids are older – out of diapers, old enough to occupy themselves during car or plane trips, and old enough to remember the event.
Forum user Ruf~Feral~es says, “I was 6 when we did a big overseas trip. I remember very little. […] It really was wasted on me, even though I had fun and look happy in all the photos.” Other users on the forum agree that it’s best to wait until the kids are 7, 8 or even 9 for this reason. Especially in the case of a once-in-a-lifetime trip, “maybe you don’t start traveling with your children until the age of 7 to 10.”
Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t travel at all. Makepeace recommends slower travel; a meandering visit to a single location without heavy scheduling or lots of bookings. She recommends you stay in a place with many resources, such as an apartment stay, hotel or condo. Makepeace adds, “bring help! Where was the nanny!!” Outnumbering the kids with helpful adults will make the whole experience easier.
So while traveling overseas with toddlers might be tricky, that doesn’t mean you can’t go on fun road trips with the entire family. And once they hit 7 or 8, the sky’s the limit!