traveling with toddlers - Boston Moms Blog

Before my son was born, parents seemed to enjoy sharing all the things I should savor. Sleep now while you still can. Say good-bye to date nights without paying $50 for a babysitter. Enjoy traveling now, because soon you won’t be going anywhere for 18 years. Yes, these were all real warnings I heard (and sometimes still hear from other moms to expectant parents).

Now I’m not saying there isn’t any truth to these warnings. Life is certainly different with kids added to the mix. But why do people always mention the negatives? Can’t we talk about the good stuff too?

Our son will turn 2 in a few weeks, and he has already visited 16 states and spent a night in Canada. He has been a frequent flyer, and I’ve lost count of how many hours he has spent in the car. People often comment on our frequent travel — mostly a mix of inquiring and incredulous — because the common narrative seems to be that traveling with small children is miserable, or even impossible. I am here to tell you the other side of the story.

Yes, traveling with little ones certainly poses challenges. But for us, the rewards definitely outweigh the difficulties. Here’s why:

Actual face time with family

We don’t have a single family member in the Boston area (or New England, for that matter), so if we don’t travel, our son’s experience with family members would be mostly through a screen. While I am so grateful for the technology that can keep us connected across the miles, there is nothing quite like real human face time with the people he loves.

Switching up the routine

Many people list disruption to routine as a reason not to travel. I would argue that sometimes it is exactly the reason you should! We try our best to keep a similar nap, mealtime, and bedtime routine for our son on the road, but it can be fun to follow this daily routine in a new place. Bedtime stories in a cabin up in the mountains can suddenly seem a lot more exciting than the same stories at home (for a few nights, anyway).

Realizing the world is bigger than our neighborhood

I know our son won’t remember our travels from these early days of his life. I do hope that maybe these experiences in some way help him internalize that the world is so much more than our street here in Boston. Even if it doesn’t do that for him quite yet, it is good for me to remember that there is life outside nap schedules and “Daniel Tiger.”

It doesn’t have to be expensive

Yes, traveling can be expensive. But do your research before you rule it out! I have been surprised how affordable it can be, especially if you’re visiting friends or family who can also host. Even if you stay in a hotel or Airbnb, remember that most of the country doesn’t have quite the sticker shock of Boston! Buy groceries when you get there, drink the hotel coffee, find places where kids dine free — there are so many easy ways to keep costs down. And remember, kids only fly free until they turn 2… yet another reason to travel with a toddler!

This time is fleeting

Before we know it, our little guy will start school, I will go back to teaching, and suddenly our calendar will be filled with commitments. I want to take full advantage of this time that we have to travel together as a family while we have it. In fact, it was a major factor in my decision to take a few years away from teaching to be home with my son. If we’d waited until he was older, simply to avoid traveling with a toddler, we would miss out on so many amazing visits with family and friends.

Of course, every family situation is different, and only you can decide what is best for yours. I just want to make sure you hear a positive voice among the naysayers: You CAN travel with infants and toddlers, and it can be an amazing experience!


Katie Biddle
Katie grew up in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania before heading to college in the Philadelphia area. She earned a degree in Accounting but after a very brief stint in public accounting, tossed her Judy’s Tenkey and joined a service program teaching 2nd grade in Washington, D.C. She fell in love with teaching and never looked back. She taught everything from 2nd grade to high school seniors during her 9-year teaching career. Katie met her husband during their early teaching days but it wasn’t until a few years later while they were catching up over a cup of coffee in Baltimore that they realized it was something more than friendship. The math teacher (Katie) and the Physicist (her husband) were engaged on the Most Epic Pi Day of Our Lifetime (3-14-15) and were married a year later. They moved to Boston in 2016 when her husband accepted a job in Longwood. Katie taught nearby in Mission Hill until May 2017 when she stepped out of the classroom to stay home with her favorite student yet: her now 2-year-old son. She works part-time at a Pregnancy Center near their home in Brighton. She loves coffee, baking gluten-free (out of necessity, not preference) treats that actually taste good, writing about food allergies, and running (when it’s actually warm in Boston)