Americans have a serious problem with not allowing themselves to take vacations. And if you already suffer from vacation denial, it’s unlikely your new baby will be the cure. In fact, your kid may compound the problem: causing you to dread flights, or road trips, or any travel that requires a period of forced confinement with no escape (which is probably why they don’t allow parents traveling with kids to sit in exit rows).
Check it: you are being ridiculous and selfish. The fact is that vacation is really good for you. In fact, a 2014 study found that men who didn’t take an annual vacation had a 30 percent higher risk of death from heart disease. Which would seem to suggest that you need to take that baby somewhere awesome or leave them orphaned. Yes. Those are your only 2 options.
Also? Babies are stupidly easy to travel with. Need more reasons? Fine. If it prevents you dying from heart disease, here are 7 of them.
Babies Are Cheap Travel Companions
If the kid is breastfeeding, then they’re eating like kings at Chez TaTa regardless of where they happen to be at any moment. So no additional expense required there. If you’re flying with them as a lap child, they’re basically scoring a free flight before even collecting a single sky mile. Finally, babies do not count for additional occupancy in hotel rooms and they usually get in free to all the stuff you totally want to do. And they’re small enough to smuggle under your shirt in the odd cases where they’ll cost an admission fee. “What’s that lump? Oh. Tumor. Terrible tumor.”
Babies Are Great Conversation Starters
Obviously the baby isn’t the one starting the conversation. That said, there are a lot of people in the world, across many cultures, who are cuh-razy about babies. These people will start conversations. They may even want pictures of your baby. And they’ll be so excited that you have one. So if you ever wanted an “in” with another culture, you’re cute little so and so is it. Be prepared to feel like part of your kids entourage, Turtle.
It Trains Them To Be Better At Traveling
The more you travel with your baby, the better they will get at it. If you make travel a habit it becomes totally easy. Eventually your kid will be chill on the plane, nonplussed by transit chaos and make all the people who insist on wearing lace-up boots in the security line look like complete newbie chumps. Which they are. Boots? Seriously?
It Will Blow Their Minds
You know what a baby’s brain really likes? Novelty. It thrives on the new. Every sound and sight and smell builds and reinforces new synapses. Yeah, they may never remember their first journey, but it will shape their brain. And it’s way more stimulating than batting at the same stupid stuffed lion again and again as they confront the void of existence from the never-changing play mat. What are you, trying to raise another Sartre here?
Paternity Leave Part 2: Adventure Boogaloo
Remember during paternity leave (you took it, right?) how it was an amazing time to bond and connect with your family without the distractions of work? It’s the same thing when you travel with your baby. When you’re out of pocket and responsibility free, you can keep building those bonds with your partner and your kid. You’re enjoying this shared experience. You’re in it with them. That can only be a good thing.
A Good Stress Test
Yeah, sometimes it’s not a good thing. There are times when shit might break down. You’ll need to dig deep and trust yourself and your partner. No room service? This is when you build resiliency, bro. But seriously, if you can rise to the challenges as a family outside your comfort zone, then you’re set to deal with the little hiccups on the home front. Like running out of Cherry Garcia.
Making Memories (Your Own)
The truth of the matter is that your baby isn’t going to stay a baby. Being out in the world traveling with them puts little unique markers in your brain. They’re like little anchors of memory that you can go back to again and again. Before you know it they’ll be off on their own.
It will happen before you expect it. And when it does, do you want try to sift for gems amidst the heaping bland recollections of the daily slog? Or do you want to walk into a vault filled with shimmering treasures? Some of them will be stained with spit-up, sure, but each absolutely precious. It’s your choice.