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Why You Should Travel With Young Children

I Wish I Hadn't Let Fear Stop Me From Traveling With My Son

For most of my son's two and a half years of life, I've let fear of traveling with him dictate our plans. Even visiting a neighboring state by car was enough to make me overthink every minute detail. My regret now isn't so much about what he missed out on, since let's be real, no real memories would sink in at this age. It's the fact that I didn't give him a chance to surprise me. I let fear prevent me from seeing friends and family and doing fun things.

Travel at any age can be nerve-racking, but with social media and the news, my mind quickly jumped to worst-case scenarios. Screaming, exploding diapers, and having a horde of fellow passengers angry at me because the cabin pressure hurt his ears didn't sound fun. This says nothing for having to contend with a whole new environment once we arrived at our destination. Sleep for such a long time felt like a delicate dance, and one misstep would screw everything up.

With loved ones scattered all over the country, the opportunity was there. We missed out on family weddings, visiting friends, and the chance to travel spontaneously. At this point, there is no telling how the 1-year-old version of himself would have reacted to being on a plane. The moment is gone. All I have to compare it to is how he handles it now.

After much hesitancy and second-guessing my decision, I finally took him on a trip to visit his grandpa. His first plane ride, despite every possible terrible outcome I had worried about, went by without a hitch. It was somewhere flying above Montana that I realized my mistake.

Sure, flying with him at a younger age could have been disastrous, but it also could have allowed us to see and do things I never thought possible. Playing at the beach, which is something the California native in me took for granted for too long, is one example. Camping, water parks, and new city adventures are others that come to mind. I missed the opportunity of him being easily transportable, and I now get to deal with a toddler's whims and desires.

There's no going back and trying again, unfortunately. Instead, I'll have to look forward to taking him on adventures coming up. While the former me would have avoided the four weddings coming up this Summer, I'm choosing this time to trust that he can be flexible and to push him, and me, to see the world in a whole new way.

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