Before Ektoras was born, we assumed he would travel with us. We did not think much about “what if” and “how to”, we just said we would find the way. Since he was born and we travel together indeed, we hear many different opinions on family travel, especially from greek people.
Some people admire it, but they would never travel with a baby/infant. Many others do not understand us, or even blame parents who “make a child suffering all the difficulties of traveling”. And of course, there are some people who support us, most of them being friends. Otherwise, they would not be, would they?! 🙂
In many countries, it is perfectly normal to travel with a child, either for pleasure or for other reasons. In Greece, however, there is serious prejudice about this. Even at travel forums, we see many opinions against trips with a baby/toddler. Many people claim that it is better to leave a child with grandparents.
First of all, our philosophy says that every trip has something to offer at any age. If we talk about babies though, I think there is no worse situation for a baby than to be separated from mom, even for a few days. So, there is no need to analyze what a trip can offer to a newborn. Any baby will be happy being with his/her parents, drinking milk and sleeping quietly, while parents can escape from the routine and change the everyday schedule.
Regarding babies and toddlers, we believe and conclude from our experience that:
- In nature, they calm down.
- They love observing new and unknown things, that are so many during the changing environment of a trip.
- They become more sociable, because of meeting other people.
- They learn to adapt easier to travel conditions, and generally to any changes in the routine.
- They are excited to try different food/cuisine.
As children grow up, we think that traveling generally helps them:
- To become more open-minded people.
- To love and tolerate people, regardless their nation, skin color, religion (or no religion) and other differences.
- To develop their abilities to find solutions in various situations.
- To find out hidden talents.
- To become more independent.
- To build physical and psychological strength.
Surely, it is not always easy to travel with children because they pass through different phases, and, as all of us, have their good and bad days. Often it’s exhausting, but whoever has children will understand me, it is the same tiring at home. However, while traveling, you get out of routine, see beautiful things, get inspiration and obtain the strength to deal with the difficulties. After the trip, these difficulties are completely forgotten.
There are many things that changed in our life while travelling with a kid, but we like them!
- We have more breaks during road trips. Before, like typical bored adults, we were all the time in a hurry. Especially if talking about routes in Greece, which we have done many times. We would reach our destination and all my body was in pain, after many hours of driving without proper breaks. Now we stop, we play, we find nice places, we laugh, we run. Well, it takes us 20% more time, but how much better we feel!
- We make more human connections, because the innocent and truly children smile break hearts. Wherever we go, we are chatting with people around. We are talking to strangers on the street. For example, at this picture, Ektoras did not leave one Korean girl indifferent.
- We see the usual things as if we were seeing them for the first time. This holds in general, but on a trip with a baby, some boring procedures can be really fun (let’s say taking your suitcase from the belt at the airport).
- We are looking for new activities. If we travel on our own, we might never think of staying in a village in Germany. Or to go to a toy museum. Eventually, it was a fantastic experience! And how many more are in front of us?
- We practice patience and self-restraint 🙂 If there were muscles for patience in the human body, it would have been inflated by over-effort. But how proud we feel when, despite all the problems, we are Zen!
We live unique family moments simply because all the difficulties make us more united. Traveling with children offers to the whole family much more than the difficulties it can bring. What do you think about traveling with a baby – infant?