What parents learn from kids when travelling

My series of guest posts about the lessons we learn from travelling continues with a great story from Jessica of Magnets From Everywhere. I love it because the lesson she and her husband learnt about travelling pre-kids and once kids arrived is a very similar one to what I’ve learnt in the nearly eight years since my son has been on the scene. But you’ll have to read on to figure out what that is!

Continuing to travel despite having a baby

When we got married Chris and I decided that we needed to at least go on one big trip before we had children. We chose New Zealand for our epic pre-kids adventure and it was incredible! As luck would have it, we were also invited to a wedding in India and managed to squeeze that trip in while I was pregnant.

What parents learn from kids when travelling

Fast forward 7 months past India and we found ourselves the proud new parents of a beautiful baby girl. HJ was a really easygoing baby and we decided there wasn’t any reason to give up on our travel dreams just because we were parents now. We were determined to travel and have adventures despite having a baby in tow. Do you see where this is going?

We were living in North Carolina and when HJ was 8 months old she had already been to California, Texas, and New York. We decided to really push our comfort zone and tackle the 12-hour flight to Hawaii. We considered this pretty safe since we would be staying with and visiting family, weren’t leaving the US, and would be doing low-key beach activities.

The reality of travelling with a baby

The flight was no problem and it was so exciting to be able to introduce HJ to our family in Hawaii! We settled in for our Hawaiian vacation and started high-fiving each other for being such good parents.

Jessica from Magnets of Everywhere with her family travelling in Hawaii

Jessica from Magnets of Everywhere with her family travelling in Hawaii

The first-morning HJ got us all up and out of the house (we didn’t want to wake my Aunt and Uncle!) at 2 am. We walked to the beach in the dark and spent several hours walking, talking, and letting HJ nap in the carrier before the sun finally came up. Once the sun was up we had maybe an hour before we needed to head back to the house for naps (naps, plural—we all needed one!)

Every morning the wake-up call got pushed an hour later but the schedule remained the same: wake up, scoot out of the house quietly, walk to the beach in the dark, and watch the sunrise over the Pacific. HJ would taste the sand every morning and decide she didn’t like it but she’d still need to make sure the next day. After 3-4 days she finally learned that she was never going to like sand!

She loved to crawl into the waves and then turn around and try to escape as the tide came in. She did a great job staying in that “sweet spot” where her hands would get wet but her face didn’t. When a wave did lap at her face she made hilarious expressions and signaled desperately for us to pick her up.

She fell asleep on us many times as we huddled in the tiny popup tent on the beach. Sometimes she would sleep on the beach or a walk and then refuse to nap at my Aunt’s house. Instead of napping, she would carefully remove all the books from the low bookshelves and then open them up and pretend to read.

Why travelling with kids is so awesome

To my pre-parent self, this would sound like the most boring trip ever. We spent a lot of time indoors watching TV while HJ napped, we spent a lot of time driving around the island while HJ napped, we spent a lot of time sitting on the beach cuddling while HJ napped, but towards the end of the vacation Chris and I looked at each other and agreed.

We agreed that it had been a wonderful trip, not despite HJ, but because of HJ.

We pressed pause on our daily life and responsibilities and spent some special time together, bonding and creating memories.

What parents learn from travelling with kids

HJ is never going to remember that trip to Hawaii or many of the other trips we’ve taken her on, but we will remember. When we look back on our travels we’ll remember how close we were and the silly and wonderful things we did together.

Since then we’ve taken HJ and K to Alaska, Canada, the Caribbean, the UK, and Thailand and we have plans to go to China this year. As they grow up the adventure level is higher and the nap level is lower. It just gets better and better.


It really does get better and better – I agree! Travel is different when you have kids along, but different in a really good way. These days, my son is easily my most favourite travel companion – if I could pick anyone to travel with for my next trip, it would be him!

Other lessons from travel:

Here’s a collection of some of the other posts I’ve collected about the lessons we learn from travel:

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