The goal for this travel blog is to share practical baby travel tips to help parents prepare for their next big adventure. Because of this, we feel it’s also important to get different perspectives by learning from other traveling families.
A couple weeks ago we interviewed our friends Caz and Craig from yTravelBlog.com. Today we interview Keryn Means, the traveling mom behind Walking on Travels, a travel site that gives hope to today’s modern parent who doesn’t want to stop their lives because they have children.
Before we get started, please introduce yourself. How many children do you have and when did you start traveling with them?
I’m Keryn from Seattle, WA. I travel with my husband Mike and our two boys, Dek (age 3) and Ty (age 7 months). We don’t approach travel as something that just the kids or just the parents can enjoy. We like to search out attractions, events and spots we all can enjoy together so no one is bored, at least not for too long.
Dek took his first plane trip across the country when he was 3 months old. He went international at 14 months old when we traveled to Hong Kong and mainland China. He has since been to 8 countries (if you count Hong Kong and Macau.) Ty took his first flight at 7 weeks when I headed to Colorado for a conference. His first international trip was in October as we visited Switzerland, Northern Italy, Sicily and London.
What is the most baby friendly travel destination you’ve visited? Why?
This is really hard because we have never been to a destination with the kids that wasn’t baby friendly. China, Japan, Canada, Hawaii, Italy, Switzerland, Sicily, London, you name it and we have loved every second exploring with a baby in tow.
China and Italy were definitely some of the friendliest, though sometimes a little too friendly, as the grandmas loved to tell me when my baby was too hot or too cold. They also love to touch blonde hair, blue eyed babies. We didn’t mind, but as our oldest Dek turned from a baby to a toddler he did start to resent the attention. Thankfully each society respected our growing boy and backed off when he showed signs of discomfort from their attention.
What is the one item you always bring when traveling with your baby?
I will not leave the house without my Ergo Baby Carrier. It has been on countless trips and very well loved by both of our boys. I just hope it lasts long enough for Ty to grow out of it. Dek did like to stretch out the head cover quite a bit.
After the baby carrier, a cheap umbrella stroller is the other must have on our trips. It can carry a kid, bags, and any shopping we decide to do along the way.
Do you have any travel tips for flying with a baby?
Don’t be a passive parent. Take an active interest in your baby. You don’t have to throw on a 3-ring circus or bribe the people around you, but you can’t check out for the duration of your flight either. Take walks, play peek-a-boo, share a snack, take another walk, say hi to a few passengers and find other kids on the plane to introduce yourselves to. You will all be happier and so will your fellow passengers.
What has been the biggest “lesson learned” during your travels with baby?
Above all else, I have learned that we don’t have to pack the kitchen sink to have amazing and peaceful travels. With every trip I take one more thing out, and that’s not just because the kids are getting older and outgrowing certain things. I stopped carrying a separate diaper bag; everything our family needs for a flight or day out can fit into one book bag or my huge purse.
Additionally, I have been able to buy baby food, diapers and wipes every where we have traveled. That has saved a ton of space and weight in our suitcases.
My kids don’t need a suitcase full of toys to entertain them, our destination is usually enough. We find rocks, sticks, ancient buildings, and more to play with and explore a new spot. When all else fails, we always have our trusty bag of race cars to pull out in a pinch, but that’s about it. Those are the only toys we bring.
What advice would you give to parents that are about to go on their first trip with their baby?
Just relax. Take a deep breath and know that it will end up OK. You may have a bad night. You may have a bad day, but if this is what’s important to you, then you will find a way to make it work. Because really, would you rather be a parent at home or a parent while traveling the world. Either way you have to be one so you might as well have a little fun while your at it. College is a LONG way away.
Also, don’t unclip the baby changing table in the airplane bathroom too quickly. It makes an awful sound and you will freak out your baby. Trust me on this. I know.
Do you travel with your children? Care to share your travel tips? Contact us today, we’d love to share your story!