Should we wait to travel until our kid is old enough to remember it? #I've got a parenting question!#babies#travel Updated Oct 12 2015 (Posted Mar 23 2011) Offbeat Editors Offbeat Home & Life runs these advice questions as an opportunity for our readers to share personal experiences and anecdotes. Readers are responsible for doing their own research before following any advice given here... or anywhere else on the web, for that matter. Look! We're in Paris! Too bad you won't remember. Photo by Indra Muliawan, used with Creative Commons license. My family LOVES traveling, and from what I've gathered, so do a whole bunch of you guys — we have the backlog to prove it! Between the two of us, my husband Sean is definitely more well-traveled, as he lived in England for quite a few years and had much easier access to most of Western and Eastern Europe than we do now (not to mention parts of Northern Africa). All of our globe-trotting definitely instilled in us the desire to raise a seasoned traveler. Also, I don't know about you, but I'm always jealous of people who went all over the world before age 18. We've flown to a few places with Jasper, but none of these trips have been international. We're dying to take him somewhere cool, but we're a little torn: is it worth going somewhere if he won't remember it? I mean, how bummed would you be if your parents were like, "Hey, we took an AWESOME trip to Morocco when you were 18 months old! It was rad! You loved it!" and you have absolutely no recollection whatsoever? Outside of trips to visit family far away, is it better to wait to travel internationally until your kid(s) can remember the trip, or should you start from a young age to nurture a wandering spirit? Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo PREVIOUS How do you get to know your neighbors without seeming like a weirdo? NEXT This jewelry tree makes necklaces ART Show/Hide comments [ 71 ] This is a hard one… on the one hand, I'm thinking save the money and let the little one have a memory. But then, when I really think about it, this feels like it could turn into one of those slippery slopes: starting with "when they remember" to "well, they can do more at ten than at five" to "well, we'll all have more fun if they're eighteen!" Although there is merit in all of those things, I think it's a great family experience to travel young and travel often. Besides, I think it would be kind of cool to have pictures from, say Prague, when you're two and then go back as an adult and re-create all the pictures! But I'm a nerd like that 🙂 Reply I was taken on trips before i could remember. I'm glad my parents did those things with me. We have great dinner conversations recalling the memories and stories. Thats not to say I haven't been places I CAN remember. You have to do both. And now with my children, I intend to take them traveling even as babies. Those are memories I will cherish, even if they don't. Reply I would say that if YOU have a hankering to travel and go somewhere, then do it and bring the kiddo along. Even if he doesn't remember it, there's no doubt that even very young children are able to be impressed by these experiences. Also, there's something about traveling with young children that enables you to discover cool things you might not have sought out if you were sans child, probably because you make more of an effort to find things that are family-friendly. There are some trips, though, that are better when the kids are older. My husband is dying to go to Disney World but I'm pushing to wait because the kids are too young for any good rides, and we wouldn't be able do any rides together, since one of us would have to hang back with the kids. Reply I wonder this same thing sometimes. I really want to take my 15-month-old over to Spain she she can learn to be bilingual easier, but I also want her to remember our travels. I guess we could always do both…:/ Reply I am a big believer in travelling with small kids. But that's because I have a small kid & it's MY life & I want to travel now! I'm not going to wait around for 10 years in case she remembers it. We've taken DD to South Africa, Swaziland, Paris, the Orkney Isles, India & Nepal (different trips!). She's 2 y 9 m. I don't think she will remember any of it. But a) we are lucky to have the time now to do it – we won't in 10 years time b) I am a firm believer that even if she doesn't remember it it will have an impact on her. Particularly SA/Swaziland/India/Nepal where adults were so friendly & welcoming to her & really gave her a sense of trust with strangers that you don't get in day-to-day interactions in London (where we live). Also, how much remembering do they have to do to make it worthwhile? DD was 2 y 6 m when we came back from India, but she still talks about the tuk-tuks, the train journeys, the chai-wallah & remembers the "namaste" greeting. Will she remember it as an adult? Probably not. But it's an important memory now. Reply I think if YOU want to go somewhere, then go. You can always go back. We travel a lot, my little one has been to 6 countries before the age of 2, but I'm looking forward to doing a volunteer vacation somewhere like Latin America when she is old enough to benefit from the learning experience. So we are waiting on that. Otherwise, hey, we could all get swallowed up by the earth tomorrow – so we do the things that we want to do now. 🙂 Reply I have almost the exact same photo in front of the eiffel tower from when I took my 11 month old last weekend. He won't remember it, and the trip was hard and stressful as he got sick the day we arrived. I'm still not sure it was was worth the effort and money to go to paris with a baby. But we got some seriously cute pictures! Reply No! Obviously I'm a little bias considering a wrote a piece for OBM about travelling with baby, but I am of the opinion that family travel is about just that – the family – and on no one person should the decision depend. And really, will your son remember anything he does before about 4 years old? All that playing and eating and sleeping could be done at home or abroad, he won't "remember" Amy of it. He will however, as he gets older, appreciate that his parents were awesome enough to go against the grain and take him on trips that inspire! He, from a very early age, will develop a love of travel and all the amazing lessons that come with it. Go! Reply I can't say I've traveled internationally with my child, but we did take our 1.5 year old son and my 13 year old niece on a 3 week camping car adventure in which we drove over 6000 miles and stayed in numerous national parks. He climbed through a cave at Craters of the Moon, he dipped his feet in a river in Yellowstone, and he got to see tons of animals in their natural habitat. And that's just a smidge of what he did. He loved it all, we adjusted to taking a small child on a long road trip and we compiled a photo book to document the experience so that when he's older he can see the amazing things he did when he was younger. And the best part is it costs less to do that then it would to travel as a family abroad…so we can do it again and again and again, ensuring he'll be used to traveling and see everything at various ages. One day we'll take him abroad, but not until he's much much older. Reply Why does travel have to be dependent on remembering? Why don't we focus on enjoying the experience *when it's happening*? So a little kid might not remember much of a trip somewhere later on when they are older. So what? If they had fun at the time, that should be enough. Reply i would say wait to travel. i am all for schedules and routines and structure and you can't really have that traveling. i would wait until 3 when they don't take naps anymore and you can have more time to explore and have fun during the day. i would bring a sitter so you can put your child down at 7:30 and still go out yourself so you aren't trapped in your hotel room. i tried to go to south dakota with my (then) 22 month old, and i regretted it. he was not able to take naps nor was he able to go to bed at a decent time. he was MISERABLE! all he did was cry because he was so tired the whole time. i waited to travel till he was four and the trip was lovely and went so much better. he understood what was going on, i could prepare him for the trip, he could actively participate, he was okay with staying up sometimes past bedtime, i could talk to him about his surrounds and we could converse about them… all and all, it was a memory both of us cherish. he still talks about seven years later. i would save your money and wait to go until three or four… that is the perfect age to start traveling and every year after that gets better and better! Reply I totally disagree. While all kids are different, I believe that if you wish, you can totally have schedule and routine while traveling. After the initial adjustment to the 6 hour time change, my 6 month old fell seamlessly into the same rhythm we were following at home – wake at 6, nap at 10 and 3, bed at 7:30. With few exceptions, she napped in the ERGO carrier while we continued our days and at night while she slept we would turn on the monitor and have adult time in another room. Reply I guess I see it from a cost-benefit perspective, since while we love to travel, we can only afford to do big international trips occasionally. So, we've talked about doing our domestic dream-trips with young kids, because we'll be more familiar with how things go and we and kids will get used to traveling together. Then, when everyone is out of diapers, we'll go on the bigger trips. Now, when is old enough to remember? Well, I remember stuff from international trips at age 5, and studies mostly back up the serious memory formation begins when language is acquired. So I'd say once a kid is >2.5 or so, I'd start thinking about planning a "big trip." Reply To me, it depends on what you're expecting out of your trip. Is it for you, for all of you, for the kids? I have to say, we are looking to go to Brasil in 2014 and I already plan to not bring the kids. I bring them when we visit family, so they travel at least twice a year across the country. We've gotten pretty good at it, but it is still hard. When we go to another continent as an exploration, event, and vacation affair, I am pretty sure I want it to be my husband and me until my kids are old enough to 1) Remember it and 2) Be entertained for a chunk of the travel time, or just be easier to travel with. I know all kinds of people are able to do it, but 4-hour flights across the country have been pretty hard for us, even after doing it 8 or more times now. Plus, every once in a while I think adults need adult trips, too. Reply Rodrigues, those are some good points, but it is not always possible for there to be 'adult trips'. For example – for the last 12 months I have been solo-parenting, with my husband on another continent. All of my family lives on the other side of the world. If I want to go anywhere, my son comes with me. There are plenty of people in my situation. Does that mean that they put off travelling until their children are a certain age? Perhaps you think so, perhaps not. I think what this underlines is that every situation is individual, so I don't think there can be a blanket YES!/NO! answer to this one (though I stand by my earlier comment 🙂 ) Reply No, hopefully it would be noted that my answer implies the availability of a choice. Reply the problem is taking little kids on trips is a pain for the parent. it is really tough for most people to take little kids. i am a single parent of four. i definitely put it off. when you take kids, it is about the kids… there is no way around that one. you have to plan everything around them completely. it doesn't ever become about you, not even for a second! so i can see rodriques's point. if you can go alone, it is even better. if you have to take the kids, it is better that they remember and enjoy it. it makes it more pleasant for the parent and the child/children. Reply I agree with Rodriguez above in that it depends on the purpose or what you want out of the trip. Travelling with children is (for most people) a very different experience than travelling without. Personally I would wait until they are slightly older so they can participate more and remember and because I think it's easier on the parent and child. But it's all up to the individual preference. Reply I'm commenting from the perspective of someone who actively decided to travel internationally with an infant and actually live abroad in another country. While I agree that it does depend on your reasons for wanting to travel, I think Rodriguez and Jesscar are focusing on the fact that it is hard and inconvenient. I disagree. Its actually easier to travel with infants. And you see the world from a totally different perspective when you have a child in tow. Sure we're not at night clubs and partying till dawn — instead we're up earlier (when its WAAAY better take photos anway :-)) and exploring all the parks and roaming free in the countryside. And I'm talking about Asia too! Babies adjust to jet lag a LOT easier than adults! And as for the memories, I think its about the here and now AND the memories (my earliest memory was at 2 years old). And the worldview. Travel creates an amazing worldview in babies/toddlers too. Reply I think this topic correlates with another much-argued topic; Should one do anything costly for a child (birthday parties, Christmas presents, etc) before they can cherish those memories? In my opinion, when it comes to travel, it's up to you. I personally don't care if I never leave the US or even visit popular parts of the US. When I have kids, the travelling will be for them, so I'd rather wait until they can enjoy it and have it in their memories. Reply I don't think travelling has anything to do with with expensive birthday parties or costly gifts. Travelling with its experiences and opportunity to create a much larger worldview is one of the best gifts you can give a child. Reply If you have an opportunity/time/finances/inclination to travel abroad, do it! I was born in Japan and my family traveled all throughout Asia until we moved back to the US when I was 2 and a half. All I really remember are the Japanese cartoons I watched. BUT the fact that I have a really cute baby passport with stamps from China and Tawain and loads of photo albums and family memories and stories of our life abroad makes me treasure that time in my family's life. Even though I don't remember all of the adventures myself, I grew up hearing the stories about it and that in itself is a memory to treasure. So no, I don't think travel is wasted on the young. Reply Ha, I so want to travel with my (someday) children just so that I have a good reason to get them baby passports. They're so stinkin' cute! Reply Yes! My baby is dual citizen so he has two super cute passports! Reply well, i'd say do it!!! My dad traveled all of the time with us and some of my earliest memories are of when we traveled. I think, even though Jasper may not remember it consciously, that there are definitely things he will pick up subconsciously that are vital for his growth. Another reason is: You never know what's going to happen, so you might as well enjoy life now. Also, even if Jasper doesn't remember it (Which he probably will remember parts) You will have even more beautiful photos as well as memories built with your husband and child that yu wouldn't have if you waited. Reply Yes. I think you should travel with your kid. If you wait until they are older to travel, they won't know how to travel. We haven't been able to do any international trips yet, but we have done as many trips in the US that we can. Our kid flies better than I do, and she still talks about her trip to the dinosaur museums. I don't know if she will remember that when she is 12, but that's just a good excuse to go back to DC. Reply We took our son to Germany when he was 9 months old and it was MARVELOUS. It was a decision we made before he was born, and there were many times in the months before the trip when I regretted the decision and was terrified, but it was great. I was working for part of the trip, and that added some stress, but it was overall just marvelous. He really thrived — we had never realized before how extroverted he was! He also loved all the awesome public transportation he got to ride. He was still on two naps a day at that point, which presented some real challenges (and we pretty rigidly kept to his schedule except on travel days — we were in four different cities). Fortunately we were traveling places where we had been before and in fact lived before, so we felt less sightseeing stress. We are going back again in 6 weeks, and he will be 21 months old. This time will also involve some work for each of us, and some toddler-time and relaxation and sightseeing too. We are extremely excited. It will be harder in that he is running now — not just in the barely crawling stage! But it will be easier in that he is just taking one nap a day now, not two. Also, I won't be dragging along a breast pump, which definitely added stress to the first trip. He will not remember these trips, but he will experience them, and they will become part of him. He will also grow to view travel as "normal," and I think that's a nice lesson. WE will also remember these trips, and we will experience them, too, and that matters as well. And I agree that they don't remember much of anything from these early years, and yet we do it anyway so that they can grow and learn and we can have fun too. It is still a part of them, even if they do not remember. What I am wondering lately is about Disney World! On the one hand, shouldn't our son be older so he can remember? On the other hand, NOW is when he would find some of it the most cool, and part of me really wants to see the look of delight on his face when he seems Mickey! I do wonder how much "memory" matters anyway. One goal I have for myself is mindfulness, living in the present, not the past and future. One of the best parts about spending time with a child is that it helps one live in the moment. So maybe "in the moment" is all that matters, regardless of memory! One final thought: I do think taking a break for a nap every day could be a drag if one is in a brand new place that one really wants to see. So, perhaps waiting until Jasper is past the nap phase, or figuring out onsite childcare of some sort to give you a break some days, could help. Reply My dad has a "rule" that 5 is the "perfect" age for Disneyland (world, etc.). You're big enough to go on all the rides, but little enough to appreciate all the hokey bullshit. We went when I turned five, and again when my sister was (left her with the grandparents for the first trip). I don't remember very much from my first trip, but when I've been as an adult I turn right back into that five year old. Baby will surely be taking a trip five years from now. Reply Thanks! Five makes sense! Reply Just do it now. You will continue to travel if it is truly in you. Children take in so much and it will shape their future if you offer the opportunity anytime it arises. Reply well, really, we can't afford international travel. we're still paying off our three weeks in croatia from 18months ago and that was just the two of us. however, we do want to travel as much as we can. we're hoping to do as much north american travel as we can while our kids are growing up, regardless of their ages. my dream right now is to be able save up to take each kid on a solo trip to their country pf choice w. one parent when they hit 15 or 16… if we can't afford to spend our vacations travelling internatoonally then ot's important to me that when we can they are old enough to remember it… i don't remember much of the yeat we spent in mexico when i was 5 but my five years older brother has great memories… Reply I think the cost of international travel is a bit of an elephant in this room! 😉 It is definitely a privilege to be able to jet-set around, babies or no! Reply I do agree with you, to an extent, but in our case, we do go without a bunch of things so that we can travel. The stuff we "go without" as I put it aren't big things, they aren't things we NEED–so we make a choice between buying something big or saving money for an awesome trip once a year, that kind of thing. International travel is definitely a costly beast, though. We're not realistically planning on taking a trip as a family internationally for a few more years. Reply international travel is totally attainable with planning and creativity. two things that go quite well with parenting. Reply Yes, with advance planning and flexibility, it can work. I have to admit that we are lucky in that our abroad trips always involve work, so a fair bit of our expenses are covered. So, for us, a lot of the "go abroad or not" is more about the logistics of having a baby/toddler with us and not AS much the money (though there are extra expenses). I guess it depends on how little money we're talking about as well as what country you live in. (You're going to be spending a heck of a lot more money getting out of Australia than most other countries, I'm guessing!) I mean, obviously for a family who can barely afford to keep the electricity on, international travel is not likely to be a priority! Reply Okay actually I need to put my foot in my mouth, because I just checked and DAMN does Jetstar have some cheap fares to NZ! ;P Outside of that, though, it can still be quite expensive. Not to mention the time factor – since it takes so long to get to most places from here, you're having to take more time off of work… Yeh, being in Perth pretty much everyone can afford to get to Bali or Phuket (generally cheaper than an instate holiday) but other than that, getting out of the country is usually crazy expensive. We're just too far away from everywhere. My parents and two sisters are flying to visit us in China next month with Air Asia — return plus all their baggage for less than $2000! My son is 7 months and has been to: Germany, Italy (where we live), Switzerland, France, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia and Croatia, oh and the U.S. He won't remember it, but he has a freaking AWESOME baby book. And he can say one day that he has been there. We plan on bringing him back to Germany/Nederlands when he graduates from College. It'll be awesome for him to look back at his pictures of him all over Europe. I don't think that children really savor the traveling experience until they are adults (teens, maybe?). Like when I was a kid I could have cared less about Roman ruins or Gothic Architecture. I was begging for Disney World or Land, Waterparks, Zoo… etc. I don't think there is a "too early". Reply I am really grateful that I had the opportunity to travel with my parents a lot from age ten on. I remember some of all of those trips (probably the one I remember the least was the first, at age ten) and it made a HUGE impact on my life, my self-sufficiency, my interests, and my love of learning right at that critical time in my life when I was really becoming my own person and those experiences contributed a lot to that young adult development. I think I got more out of it because I was not just a little kid. Factor in too that my parents and grandparents went on a cruise when I was a baby and love to tell stories about it…but I don't remember a thing about it. I'm honestly kind of annoyed by that because I never did anything like that with my grandparents again– not even any really great outings in their home town when we visited. It was the ONE and only really cool experience I had with them and it feels for me like it doesn't count– although I'm sure it does for them because they remember it. I got a lot more out of a train trip my other grandmother took me on when I was ten. I really bonded with her on that trip and I wish I'd gotten the chance for activities to bring me closer to the grandmother I went on the cruise with. Reply this topic makes me wish we had the $ to travel at all 🙁 my bucket list just gets longer and longer and longer… Reply Amb, the thing I often try to do is view my area as a tourits/foreigner would. People pay a lot of money to visit where other people live! Take a day out to try and see your area as a visitor would – whether it is the natural surroundings, local history or something quirky. Visit your local tourist information centre and see what information they can give you. Imagine you had a friend from another country coming to stay with you – where would you take them? Often travel is as much about seeing with different eyes as it is being in a different place 🙂 Reply you're right, a lot of it is about mindset. although its also a lot easier to ignore the blackberry when its out of network 😀 Reply I used to have this argument with my husband when my son was about a year old. I'd say "Let's take him to Dorney Park, he'll love it!" and he'd say "he won't remember it." I took him many places that he doesn't really remember, but at the time he had fun. To me, it's about the experience in the moment. Memories are wonderful, but they are nothing like the real experience. I took my son on a cruise last summer, he was only five. Maybe in 20 years he'll barely remember it, but he had a great time and, for now, it's still a fond memory to him. Reply I see where you're coming from, I also plan to do many things and take my babies/toddlers many places purely because they will love it and knowing full well that they wont remember any of it. But I wouldnt really put taking them on a road trip to a fun place in the same category as an extremely expensive overseas holiday. Unless you have a lot of money I think parents have to do a cost/benefit analysis for something like this. Reply Hi Offbeat Mamas, I'm the copyeditor for the Offbeat Empire and I thought I'd write a blog post about this entry. Check it out if you're so inclined! http://www.wanderlustingtravel.com/2011/03/waiting-to-travel-with-kids-until.html Reply I think most of it depends on the temperament of kid(s) and parent(s). I don't have the money for it but if I did my 8 month old would be a world traveler. 🙂 Reply I think it depends on the place… I plan on leaving the Disney World and more touristy type places for when they can remember… anywhere else it just depends on budget. Reply My boyfriend has a five year old and I have been constantly impressed by the quality of his memory since I first met him (when he was 3). I think we tend to forget (or not realize) that just because we can't remember it NOW doesn't mean we never remembered it. I can't remember what I did at four, but I do know that I DID remember it when I was ten. And I do remember being ten, which means that who I was at ten influences who I am now … and what I experienced at four influenced who I was at ten. Does that make any sense? I guess my point is, if you think there is something worthwhile to be gained from the experience beyond simply the memory (socialization, comfort in different locals, fondness for the outdoors) then have the experience. And take lots of pictures! Photographs and stories can be a great substitute for memories and, like an earlier poster said, a great subject for later conversations. Reply My partner's parents both worked for an airline. Her mom was a flight attendant, so she was a world traveller in utero! Her family made many trips when she was little, some that she doesn't remember. She now LOVES to travel. She has such confidence in an airport or getting around in a foreign city (while I'm sitting in the corner trying not to cry from the overstimulation and anxiety). I don't know how much of that we can attribute to her early experiences and how much of that is just her temperment, but I suspect it's a bit of both! I'd love to world-travel with any future kids we have, although I expect money will be the sticking point for us (also the fact that our families live on a different continent, which means a lot of our travelling time will probably be spent visiting them). Reply From a kids perspective, I'd say wait, or at least make certain you continue to travel later. I was the youngest in my family and we went on quite a few trips when I was under 10. After that, my siblings started going away to college and we didn't go anywhere except for my robotics competitions. I often felt like I had missed out. Everyone else remembers, but I don't. Reply I'm pregnant and hoping to travel as much as we can from the start, including during this pregnancy. To me, waiting to travel until our child is old enough to remember would be like not traveling before our child is born so s/he won't miss out… but we travel because WE love it, and we're crossing our fingers that our child(ren) will too. Reply Lots of people made great points already that I agree with (like don't go now if it's the only time you will be able to go b/c it does bother me that my family went to Disney World only once when I was 18 months old and I have no memory of it and it was our one and only family vacation anywhere!) But here are a couple of other things to consider: Are you planning on having more children? Because if you are, traveling with more than one small child is really a lot more difficult if you still have to bring car seats, stroller, pack-n-play, etc. I am glad we took our son to Europe when he was a year old before we had our daughter. We are waiting until the kids are at least three and five to travel internationally again largely b/c I want to be beyond diapers, pack-n-play, etc. and have at least one kid who is better able to sit still in a plane seat! That said, again–if you will only be able to do it once, wait until BOTH kids can go or the one who wasn't born yet may be resentful. The other thing I will say is that I have noticed that with every trip we take our kids on, whether domestic or international, they seem to have a developmental spurt. Something about a change of scenery seems to encourage things to happen and it usually has nothing to do with the specific location. One small example–my son learned how to safely get down off of a bed while in Austria b/c our hotel bed was much lower to the floor than our bed at home. Simple things like that open up new possibilities to learn skills for kids so I think traveling anywhere with them is exciting (although definitely a challenge!) Oh and it's true that you see places in a totally new way when looking for kid-centric activities and I think you savor simple pleasures more–like going to a park or going out for ice cream–no matter where you are. Reply Well I am an Australian and going to be giving birth here in Prague….so my child will be born a traveler~!! I think our baby is pretty lucky. Bean wont remember much but when he/she is old enough we will be able to show photos and tell stories about all the cool places we traveled to. It think it depends mainly on where you are in the world. If we were back in Australia things would be completely different. We would probably take a few years to save up to get anywhere and just travel locally. But being in Europe…travel is so convenient and everything is so close. Germany is only an hour away and so will probably be the first place our little bean visits outside Prague. So I guess my point is…..it depends where you are and what your situation is~!! 🙂 Memories don't need to be your own to be amazing. I love the stories my mother tells me about when I was a baby and how we went camping, I don't remember it but her stories are magic. 🙂 Do it for you, do it for the stories, do it for the photos and most of all….do it for YOUR memories~!! xoxox Reply When I was small, my dad had to travel all the time for work, and my mom and I usually went with him. It was all domestic travel. I actually remember a fair amount of it, starting when I was a little over 2 years old, but for the stuff I *don't* remember, I have tons of photos and parental memories, which are possibly even more precious than remembering these trips myself. For their first international trip, my parents left me with my grandmother…and they often said in later years that they would have enjoyed the trip more if I were there. On the other hand, I've never resented my parents for not taking me on that trip, or anything. Once again, I have their memories 🙂 Reply We're preparing to take our 5 month old to Japan for 2 weeks in May and I see it as a real confidence builder for us, as well as a great story to tell him when he's older. We'll feel able to take him anywhere anytime after that 🙂 Reply Do it! I was only 2 when my parents took me to Sweden to visit with relatives. I don't remember anything, but I do know all the stories anyway. Every time we looked over the photos as a family, I'd hear all of the stories and eventually it's as if they were my own memories anyway. Like how I got brought up to the cockpit when we were flying over the arctic and the pilots let us speak over the radio to Santa Claus! That's part of MY history. Also, being able to say that I've been to Sweden has made me unique, it's something I could say about myself while growing up that no one else could. Being an "international traveller" is who I've always been and it's driven me to travel a lot on my own after. Reply My family lived in Germany until I was 3, and while there are tons of pictures of our travels, I would have much preferred if they had taken similar trips when I was old enough to actually be interested in where we were and what we were doing! The pictures don't really mean anything to me, and had I not gone back when I was 15, I wouldn't even bother saying that I had visited those places. The trip when I was older had a much greater impact on me, and was more meaningful than looking at photos of my chubby little self. 🙂 Reply I plan on traveling with this baby. It may not be anywhere too exotic but still will be a good experience for us and it will get the baby used to different places. I am due in May and plan on taking our baby to my family's summer house in Maine in August. We will probably do a trip out to Colorado in the winter and next summer for my brother's wedding as well. I think traveling with babies is a good idea and you can always go back when the child is older and re-visit the places you went before. Reply I agree with ancy and a couple of others, if YOU want to go somewhere with Jasper do it. Even if he doesn't have a real memory of it, children will think they remember it if you tell them about it, and there are pictures. Lifes to short to wait to do things you want to do even if your only 2yo Reply Here's a somewhat related question – if your kids are school age, do you only travel during breaks, or do you take them out of school? On the one hand, I strongly feel education is the most important thing, and 2 weeks is a lot of time to miss and have to catch up on. On the other hand, my industry is busiest in the summer + travel prices are SO MUCH CHEAPER in the offseason. I'm starting to think our epic trips will all have to be in September and March. Any thoughts or advice? Reply I'd say it would depend partly on your children and how they are doing at school. If they are not struggling, I'd say they can get a massive educational experience out of travel, particularly if you incorporate some age-appropriate projects about the place you are travelling to. I really look forward to taking my kids tarvelling when they're old enough to be curious and to really take things in. I think it could really add to their confidence as they get older too. Reply I worry about taking a child out of the country that cannot speak. I think I will be waiting until my son can clearly state who he belongs to, knows his name, etc. Reply I'm still a child myself but for some reason I am addicted to the offbeat trio! I think that waiting doesn't always work. My parents waited to take big trips with my brother and I so that we could both remember it. My brother still doesn't remember the details of the trips we've taken in the last five years, he is 16. They talk about taking me camping in the porta crib, sure I don't remember it but since I grew up camping I got used to it. Reply I spent the time from the age of 11 months to 19 months in Washington DC, and then from 19 months to 21 months in San Deigo. Quasi-Navy-brat. We did everything while we were there – I've been to every major tourist attraction in the Nova/DC/VA area. I don't remember a bit. It wasn't until this last summer, at the age of 19, that I flew anywhere, or went west of Montana. Sure, I've been to Canada a lot, but I live in the Puget Sound. It's a hop, skip and a jump. I haven't been south of Ashland, Oregon, since I got back from SD. Honestly, as the oldest of 5 kids, it wasn't feasible for our family to travel again after that. There is always talk of taking another posting like my dad did so we could move back to DC or some other area for a few months, but we got so tied to this area that we'll never move for more than a few months at a time. Ever. It'd take a major disaster to boot us off this land. I say travel later. I miss not remembering where I was, what I did. But at the same time, like what happened to my family, that may not be possible to achieve again. Weigh your options. Reply Stephanie, have you considered doing some overseas volunteer type of stuff with your little guy? He can learn a lot about life, while strapped to your back in an Ergo or running around with the local babies (supervised of course). You can try things like http://www.wwoof.org for a worldwide list of organic farms you can volunteer at (there was an article in Mothering Magazine a few years back about a family who did it). Or pretty much any orphanage will be happy to have you visit too. There's so many fun, eye opeing opportunities for families to travel overseas with and do it fairly cheaply too. http://www.mattlogelin.com/ is a blog about a father who travels with his two year old (very inspiring). I say, do it! Reply ahhhh yes, this is one i ask myself all the time. i tend to be more of a "wait till they'll remember" person, just because my parents took me eeeverywhere when i was a kid and, yeah, i don't remember any of it. then when i was older and actually wanted to travel we didn't have enough cash to do anything 🙁 so i would say this: if you can afford to travel with your kid as a baby AND as an older child/adolescent/teen, go for it. if you think you could only afford a few big trips, i'd say leave it till when they're a little older. Reply i don't have a particular opinion on this (or a kid to make the opinion relevant), but i would at least lean towards "don't worry about it too much." your kid might grow up to be like me – with the worst memory in the world. i've been on a lot of fun trips with my family,and they were…fun, but i can't tell you much more than that for anything that happened before, say, 15. i'm glad we went places anyway =) Reply I just stumbled onto this and have to say the post date was sort of fitting for us as it was the day we returned from a three country international vacation with our then 19 month old son. It was an amazing trip that did have a few downs, but mostly was fantastic. Our son did great on the flight but did have some sleep issues the first two nights, after that he was in the spirit and had a great time. I know he won't remember the experience but I will, and I wouldn't trade that. He loved so much of the new things he was able to experience in the moment as well. We are hoping we will get to do it again in the future. With our son and our family the way it is, it was worth traveling abroad with our son. Reply I say go for it! You'll have a lot of great (not to mention cute) pictures and memories to share with your child as he or she grows. 🙂 Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Subscribe me to your mailing list No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.