In this article: How to travel with a baby, How to travel with babies, How to travel with toddlers, How to travel with twins
“Travel light and get up and go”. That was the final piece of advice I got from Jared who shares his travels with his wife Nikki and three small kids on Instragram – @thegetupandgofamily. Travel and adventures have always been part of their life, and things certainly didn’t change after their first daughter was born, nor after the addition of twins to the family who are now two years old. “We started travelling with them when they were about two weeks old” Jared shares. Wow. Two weeks. For me at that time getting out of bed for more than forty five minutes seemed like a big enough adventure, but this family’s motto is “if you want to do it, just get up and go”
Travel has certainly been a great teacher for Jared and Nikki. Overtime, it has helped them foster the “we have and idea – let’s do it” attitude which applies to all areas of their life. (For example, they’re in the process of buying rural farmland which they never thought they could do, but they saw the opportunity and went for it.) “It’s not as hard as people think. The hardest thing is often making the decision to go. Once the decision is made it becomes easy. If it doesn’t work out, that’s okay as long as we keep moving forward. If where we thought we were going doesn’t end up being the destination, it’s because we’ll end up where we’d rather be.”
I didn’t ask for a laundry list of their destinations – if you want that, just check them out on Instagram – but a few places that came up were the Kasbah in Morocco, Thailand, Paris, Egypt. I was more interested in their perspective, their philosophy, and some practical advice about travel with babies. So here it goes.
How do you structure your days to make travel enjoyable for each member of your family, and how have things changed after having kids?
Jared shares that they travel just as much if not more, but the pace of travel is what changed the most. “We have to do a slower pace. We can’t just run off and do whatever we want like take pictures for six hours.” Well that’s fair, but how do they actually spend their days? “We don’t try to do too much. We don’t try to see everything and make a long list of the things we have to see. If the kids are having a bad day and we can only get out for two hours – we’re okay with that. So change the pace and take it one day at a time – that’s important for us.”
Another important piece of advice is to cooperate. “We pay attention to what’s going on with the kids, we made decisions together, we communicate, but with the day-to-day – I cooperate with her.” If Nikki thinks the kids need a change of pace or scenery, Jared is sure to let her “mother’s intuition” take the lead and make the final call. “I would never say ‘but I really want to go see this’ – I learned that it’s my job to say ‘so what do you think we should do?’. If I try to take control of everything or get stubborn about doing things a certain way, it’s just not going to work. It’s my responsibility to cooperate with her”. Well that’s wonderful advice any mom would appreciate.
How do you prepare for your travels?
In terms of accommodations, Jared gave me a huge list of non-negotiables. “We like to have wifi, and we like to have beds” Okay, that was a joke. The only other necessity he brought up was a small kitchenette so that it’s easier fix meals for the family. This family isn’t picky at all, they love Airbnb for its access to very unique places, and they’d happily give up hot water for a cool spot to stay. “We went to Morocco and stayed in Tangire and Kasbah which is the whole walled-in city. They don’t have a lot of modern conveniences there but it was great.” Personally, I’ve foregone hot water on some trips myself, but I wouldn’t say it was “happily”. And this family knows how to mix it up. “We’re pretty adventurous and stay in a wide range of places, but there might be times when we feel that we need something comfortable – like a nicer place that has everything including a big tub.” Yes, now we’re talking.
Prior to travel, Nikki will check out government websites and do some research about any warnings to make herself aware. Although, Jared admits “I can’t remember the last place we talked ourselves out of going”. They’ve even visited Egypt shortly after a terrorist attack, which made them stop and think, but they went ahead and had an amazing time.
They also warn parents to make themselves aware of any local diseases like Malaria. “Before the kids were one, we wouldn’t go anywhere with concerns about Malaria or Dengue fever. We pretty much traveled throughout Europe and North America then.” Well, that doesn’t sound like much of a sacrifice!
Advice for adventurous parents
On a final note, this family shares a few tips for traveling with babies:
1 – Travel light. “You can always buy the things that you need, and you really don’t need all that much. Food, diapers, and clothes. Travel light.”
2 – Take it easy. “It’s another thing we learned through travel and through life. Slow down to do more. Now that I’ve slowed down, I spend more time right in the moment and strangely enough I get more done.”
3 – Get up and go
Thank you Jared and Nikki for this wonderful perspective and advice. Slow down, and get up and go. A lesson well learned, and as Jared says:
“If where we thought we were going doesn’t end up being the destination, it’s because we’ll end up where we’d rather be.”