How do I travel with kids? Are my kids too young for this trip? As a parent, how do I prepare for travel? Have you ever found yourself asking yourself this question? I sure have, and many times! This was before we even dared to start traveling with our daughter and only dreamed of being an adventurous family. We have let go of the fear of traveling as parents, whether with or without kids and never let parenting hold us back from doing what we wanted to do. 

Most of our travels are together as a family (all except the conferences we get flown out to speak at) and as a dad, I have never seen the kids as a slow down or limiting our experiences. In fact, we have enjoyed our travels so much more with the kids because they see things we can easily miss and they have the best reactions when they see something new or different. We see many people across social media that travel either with a group of friends or a significant other, but not many parents, especially those with small children or toddlers. So how do we travel as parents of toddlers? 

Our very first trip was when our daughter was 3 months old. That's right. Months, not years. It was also a camping trip, which some love and others not so much. That's beside the point, but it was the middle of summer and our major concern was the Texas heat. So step 1, figure out what you believe will be the biggest issues on the trip and work on finding a solution. What did we come up with? We brought along a small inflatable pool to keep our daughter cool and bather her at night before going to sleep. We also bought a battery operated fan that we could hang inside the tent. Without these, the trip would have been chaotic, but because we anticipated and planned ahead, we had a successful first trip. Out of all tips we give out to parents wanting to travel with small kids, this is one we share the most.

I believe that traveling early has made it easier for the kids. The majority of the trips that we go on are mostly road trips around Texas. Sitting down for a couple of hours with a fuzzy toddler isn't the best experience for anyone, so plan a stop or two along the route, even if it is a 2-3 hour drive. We drive to San Antonio and Austin on average, 2 times a month. Rest stops are great for a mid-trip snack, stretch your legs, use the restroom, diaper changes, or walking your pet companions. We recently went on a trip to the Texas Hill Country and there are some great stops for food, history, and scenic views! I used to want to gun it straight to our destination, and even though it worked in some of our shorter trips, it was not the best for the passengers, especially the kids. So plan your trip ahead whether that is stateside or abroad.

Probably a way of travel most parents dread is flight. This is understandable, and we were worried on our first flight together. We had no idea how our daughter was going to react. She was a relatively calm baby so we hoped that would be the case throughout the entire flight. Fortunately, that went well for us, but all kids are different so plan on buying snacks, a pacifier, a bottle, at the bare minimum. Once in the air, there really isn't much a parent can do and I think that is what holds back a lot of parents from traveling earlier on. As mentioned before, the kids get used to traveling over time, maybe start with a few road trips before going on the first flight.

The potty training stage is an interesting and fun time to be a traveling parent. I see it as being a firefighter or first responder of some sorts. Once you hear the words " I have to pee, I have to pee!" you stop whatever you're doing and head to the closest restroom available to you. As a parent you are on the ready for that moment you have to make a dash with your kid. The kids enjoy running through the stores for the restrooms, it's not too bad really. We still carry diapers with us for instances were there won't be restrooms for a while. We also found a really handy portable potty seat that we carry in our backpack. It is one of the coolest little seats, We lay it over a normal toilet seat instead of having an arm workout holding our kid in the air. It's been a lifesaver. In a recent instance, there were no restrooms available where we were going to, so we brought along an actual potty seat trainer. We did use it once, so it was worth bringing it that time. 

Whatever it is you want to do or wherever you want to go, work out a plan on making it happen but don't get stuck on planning the whole trip. I have always loved traveling and being able to share that with my family has been fulfilling and a beautiful experience. As a dad, I want to show the world to my daughter and learn about different cultures, traditions, and food. We all have our different reasons to travel and get away from the daily life. Find a reason, even if it is just to go on vacation for the summer when the kids are out of school. The only real difference in traveling with kids, particularly younger children, is having a watchful eye and keeping them within reach and away from any potential dangers. 

I wanted to share this with you all so you can not only enjoy the outdoors but also make a learning experience where the family can learn together. I have found myself in many conversations where parents would not travel for years waiting for their kids to grow into their teen years. Sharing some tips and advice can really inspire some to just go out and explore. As a dad, I want to share ways that other families can enjoy the outdoors and work around their fears or frustrations of traveling. I hope there were some useful pointers in this article and would love to hear your stories and questions in the comment section below!

Jeff Segura