How having a baby has changed who I am as a traveler
Chris and I have officially been parents for eleven months. That’s right, we have had a tiny (and super cute) human under our care for nearly a year. And while our lives and priorities have drastically shifted, some things have remained the same. For example, we’ve managed to travel just as much as we would have if we weren’t parents. We’ve taken trips to Germany, the Czech Republic, Oregon, New Jersey, New York, Hawaii (twice), and Los Angeles (twice), in just the last seven months.
And while we’ve maintained our travel schedule with our tot in tow, the way that we travel has definitely changed.
We travel at a slower pace
Before we had a baby, I was always trying to squeeze every last second out of a trip. For example, without fail, every time we travel to Europe I somehow manage to tack on a visit to an extra country or two. Our trip to Finland ended up being a trip to Finland, Sweden, and Estonia. When we went to Austria, I managed to convince Chris to take a day trip to Hungary. I’ve turned at least two “quick jaunts to Europe” into month-long around the world adventures. I didn’t mind our fast paced travel lifestyle. In fact, I kind of lived for the thrill of it.
Now that we travel with a baby, things have changed. Jumping from place to place with a baby might be doable, but not necessarily enjoyable. I’ve found that I prefer to travel at a slower pace with Holden. I want him to really be able to soak up a place. Plus, I get to spend more time getting to know a destination as well. One that I might have skipped through too quickly if Holden weren’t with us.
That being said, I still managed to add a quick road trip to Czech Republic after the Video Summit in Germany. And you should see our travel plans for this summer (two new countries and one of our favorites). I’m pretty excited.
WE pack lighter (Holden, on the other hand…)
The very first trip we took with Holden was a big one. We saddled up and flew to Germany for the Travel Video Summit Leipzig. Both Chris and I were amazed that we managed to fit all of our clothes, toiletries, and extras into one small suitcase. We were pretty pleased with ourselves until we started packing for Holden. We ended up bringing his stroller, car seat, extra diapers, clothes, baby monitor, a giant diaper bag for the plane (complete with extra bibs,) diapers, toys, and onesies. It looked like we were moving to Europe.
That being said, we have become much more efficient when it comes to packing and I’m happy to report that we now travel with less baby things. While I still feel like I need to pack the everything and the kitchen sink when it comes to Holden, the reality is that we can find most of his baby basics wherever we are while traveling.
We’re willing to spend more for comfort
Gone are the days of booking the cheapest flight and accommodation. I used to pride myself on my ability to find and book ridiculously cheap airfare. In college, my best friend and I found flights and hotel to Cabo for a couple hundred bucks. Sure, the hotel was shady, it took us an entire day to fly there (hello, layovers), and we lived off of street tacos and Dominos pizza, but we had a blast.
Now that I think about it, that same friend and I also booked last minute tickets to NYC. We stayed in a crappy hostel and I mean that literally. Our floor’s bathroom was overflowing and we watched a giant turd float past our door. It was a horrible place to stay but it was ridiculously cheap and we were barely there.
No more, my friends! Now days, I’m willing to shell out the extra cash for direct flights and hotels with clean bathrooms and plush bedding. If it will make my trip easier and more comfortable, you can take all my money. I also find myself looking for hotels that offer complimentary breakfast. There are some things that I just don’t want to have to think or worry about when we have Holden and it’s always nice to know that breakfast is available should he wake up early.
All of the hotels we’ve booked since Holden’s birth have offered us a crib for our room. Some of the cribs end up being pack’n plays while others have been legit baby cribs.
We’re less reckless
Or maybe I should say that we’re more mindful? Either way, we are definitely more cautious when we travel. My anxiety tends to kick into high gear and I run through every possible situation that could go wrong. So, that’s fun. I also find that I’m less eager to book trips to destinations that are deemed less than safe. That might seem like a no-brainer to most people, but before Holden, I can’t think of many places that I wouldn’t go. Chris and I lived for the adventure, danger, and mystery of new destinations.
And while I still think that we’re pretty adventurous, our lives are no longer about us. We have a sweet soul that needs and deserves us as loving parents and I wouldn’t want to do anything to jeopardize that. Even if it means forfeiting a trip of a lifetime. I guess you could say that Holden literally means more than the world to me.
And then I did a thing where I booked a hotel months in advance (because said hotel is completely booked until the fall) and felt proud and excited which then turned to utter terror when I realized that I’d be taking my seventeen-month-old to Morocco. I then spent the majority of my night googling “things to know when taking baby to Morocco.” The bad news is that I lost a few hours of precious sleep that night. The good news is that it seems like we’re going to be A-OK and that babies are basically revered in the country.
So yeah, there’s that.
We wouldn’t change a thing
To be completely honest, I’m kind of enjoying our new way of travel. Traveling with a baby will test you in a variety of ways but it’s so worth it to see the world through their eyes. Stay tuned as we’re about to embark on a few epic adventures. We can’t wait to show you what we have in store.