More of the nthat no th these days, the people I meet are young travelers, in their late 20’s to early 30’s, on an adventure of some sort. Exploring the far off countries of the world, traveling a day or two here, a week or so there. Sometimes having decided they want to live someplace they’ve settled in for a month, 6 months or a year somewhere, tucked into their favorite corner of the world.
I consider myself one of them. Except for one important difference. I have a child.
I’ve been noading myself for well over 7 years, and when my son came along almost 5 years ago, there was no way that that little piece would take me off my life path of becoming free from winter forever. The fir ot year he was born, yes I spent a winter in Calgary, but after that, it was back on track for snowbird life.
The first trip we took together was at 10 monmths. We hopped on a plane to Sayulita Mexico, and spent 6 months there. We did this journey of 6 months in mexico, 6 months in Canada 4 times between his years of 0 and 5.
Are there extra considerations when nomading which children?
The most obvious would be, there’s more than one of you traveling. You need to consider the needs of someone else in making decisions, and small children can often be unpredictable and emotional.
The biggest difference I’ve seen in Nomading Parents, is that we tend towards a slower pace of travel. Having met 26 year olds spending no more than 4 days in any one place, I would be haggard within 2 weeks if I tried to keep up with an Alex in tow.
Speed of Travel
When you have small children, you’re going to travel a little slower. You can’t go running across airports at full tilt hoping to catch your next flight, and in general the complications, expenses and logistics of moving with children mean that Nomad Parents spend more time at their destinations. There are just more things you need to setup every time you land.
Before 2, children fly free, and after that you’re paying for 2 airfares wherever you go. Unless you have unlimited pocketbook, this probabaly means you’re going to opt for a few less flights, and opt for longer stints wherever you go. Two airfares obvioulsly makes it more expensive to jet here and there.
Pre-Planning: As simple as it may seem to “arrive and figure it out” as a single traveler, looking something up on your phone, hopping in a cab and asking for advice, or just going for a walk and staying at the first hotel you stumble upon. All of this comes into new consideration when you’ve also got a small (potentially unhappy) child in tow. The preference becomes to pre-book your landing hotel/location for atleast a few days before you get settled into whatever you;’re doing next.
As a single parent working from my laptop, there’s the consideration of “who’s looking after my child while I work. From experience, especially traveling in developing countries like Mexico and Indonesia, there is always a young woman, full of love, who is willing to care for a small child in a nanny or babysitter type role. It’s relatively easy to find “someone”, and the quality of care can vary hugely. You need to be aware that cultural normal will make things like Candy, processed food, TV, activities, and a few other things items you need to be aware of. English speaking is always a bnenfit, although by the age of 4, alex was fluent in both English and Spanish (even better than I was). Deypending on your child’s temprement, it can be okay to have them swap between caregivers, (especially if they get used to it) but for the most part It’s easier to NOT have to find a new nanny every time you land somewhere. Some traveling parents opt for a travel along nanny, adopting or hiring a young woman who wants to travel the world with them.
Children get angry when hungry, sleepy, or disoriented. This can be heightened by travel, and there’s nothing like standing in an immigration lineup moving at the speed of a turtle to really highlight that you have no control over this. Traveling with extra food/water/blankets and patience is a must.
Wandering Tiny Feet
Small children 2-4 also have an inate desire to explore, run around, and play. Which translates into an inability to understand things like lineup,s. For me this has resulted in several moments where I dropped our bags, to go chase alex across customs or boarding linups. Yup. That moment of “do I try and carry our 4 bags AND chase him? Or do I commit the airport faux pas, and leave our most important bags unattended while chasing after a laughing 4 year old.” The child almost always wins.
Remember to explain what is expected where you can, and HOLD ON TO when necessary those small children.
Double the Bags, and The Same Number of Hands
Packing LIGHT is essential, as you’re going to be carrying bags for 2 people through airports, from taxi’s across highways, onto busses, up stairs, with little/no help from your small travel companion.
The good news is that a mom and child is a classic combonation that people are happy to help. So you’ll often find strangers going out of their way to help in moments of need. I’ve truly learned that someone is ALWAYS there.
You’ll have to Face being “that Parent”
The most difficult piece I think of traveling with children, especially on the small sardeen boxes we call planes, is the moment when you become “that parent” the one who ISNT in control of the child, and who is doing everything they possibly can to stop their upset, confused, hungry, tired child from crying and filling the entire small space with their ear shattering wails. If you choose to travel with your children, remember at some point, you WILL be that parent, and people are often more understanding than you feel they are from their looks.
These are just some of the things you have to consider when traveling with children. Although there are complications a plenty. You also get to meet more strangers, get constantly complimented on your child’s awesomeness, and meet other nomading parents along the way.
There’s no reason why having a small child, or being a single parent NEEDS to hold you back from your dream of exploring the world.