My daughter’s first trip on a plane was around 18 months old. She wasn’t quite talking in full sentences, preferred to drink milk from a bottle before bed and was prone to an all kicking, all screaming hissy fit when stressed and misunderstood. But I still took her on a solo trip to Edinburgh to visit friends.
I think 18 months was rather late for a first trip, if finances had allowed it, we’d have travelled together sooner. Planes are noisy, scary beasts for some kids, mine included, and the sooner they can get used to the idea of travelling, the quicker they can enjoy all that it entails, the new sights, smells, flavours, people!
The flight to Edinburgh was filled with a high pitched scream. I say scream because it seemed continuous, as if my daughter didn’t stop for air, from the moment we reached the tunnel leading to the plane’s entrance, until we were firmly on the ground, standing in front of our friend in the arrivals lounge. Yet still, I’m glad we made the journey, she loved every moment of her time in Edinburgh, plus the plane journey home was less traumatic, as she was more prepared and took to it like a seasoned traveller.
I enjoy taking my daughter with me on my trips whenever possible. There are many reasons but here are some;
Some people are factual and others are visual. We fall into the visual. We learn best by experiencing, by putting things into context. Trips are such a rich source of learning, whether it is random historical factoids to learning phrases in another language, when we travel, what we learn sticks.
My daughter is from a mixed cultural heritage, she has always embraced this and has been interested in other cultures from a very early age. I think travelling can make children more tolerant and sentient which is enough of a reason to travel, regardless of any others.
Long train rides to the airport, chilling out in airport lounges and on the plane, sitting in a peaceful park watching locals relaxing on their lunch break. These are all perfect moments to have a giggle, talk about what’s on our minds and just bond with each other. Don’r forget all of the shared experiences from the trips too. Tasting the same new foods, getting soaked in the rain and laughing at your attempts at speaking in Spanish with the shop assistants, all of these moments are memory makers and great bonding opportunities.
I love my daughter and miss her when I’m away. As much as I sometimes need my alone time, I cherish opportunities to be with her and to share her joy. We are both wanderlusting kindred spirits with kinky hair. I love spending time with her, especially out of everyday environments. She blossoms when she gets to experience something new, shines at the challenge of working things out, of finding an excuse to use her limited French, Spanish or Italian and grins so wide her face must hurt when she succeeds. My heart swells with love and this makes the early nights (and no night life opportunities on the trip!) totally worth bringing on my travels.
Do you travel with your children? Would you if you had children, or are you trying to get the travel bug out of your system before you do? Personally, I don’t think you have to stop when you’ve got a family, just maybe adapt slightly!