10 advantages of traveling alone with a young child

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My last post was a bit negative and you know I´m not like that at all. Sure feeling overwhelmed at times is part of life and I´m no different than anyone on this, but since I´m always aware of looking at things the way I want, I thought it would be convenient to stress on the advantages of traveling alone with a young child.

Just like the disadvantages, the advantages can be pretty much applied to everyday life, not simply traveling. But traveling makes some of the things more apparent. Here are some reasons why it´s really nice to travel with a 3-year old:

1. A healthy life-style – while traveling with a child, you will fall into the healthy living of sleeping and waking up early and eating the healthiest food available. When traveling child-free, you might fall into drinking beer everyday at the beach, but with a child, you will much prefer juice that you can both share, plus you need the energy to keep up the pace of your child, so keeping healthy it´s really not an option.

2. Looking at things you would never do otherwise – the child will make you stop to look at colorful insects, flowers, tiny red frogs, other children and a variety of experiences will happen that wouldn´t if you were child-free. You need to take breaks more often, sit and talk to someone next to you. Often, these pauses between activities will offer you discoveries in them, like that local attracted to your child who then shares a bit of their life to you or you choosing child entertaining attractions like monkey parks and botanical gardens that maybe wouldn´t be on your regular planning.

3. Keeping it slow – I´m sure you can plan an hectic trip with your little one in tow, but it´s advisable that you take time to be in places and make a few routines before leaving, like greeting the few people you´ve met to make the transitions easier to understand for the child. This means you´ll see less places, but you´ll feel the atmosphere of each place more deeply.

4. Keeping it simple – the less moves and changes of transportations, the easier to be on the road. One bus a day, sleeping over and then moving again the next day might be simpler to handle with bags and a child. Looking less for places, going to the closer attractions, searching more of the actual area you are in. Sometimes while child-free, you feel like experiencing it all, traveling extra miles once you are ¨so close¨ to other attractions. With a child, you prefer to stay in the zone and explore all you can in a given perimeter.

5. Seeing more smiles and help around you – the younger the child, the more commotion you get when traveling alone and more people trying to help you. It´s very unlikely that people will let you drop of a bus while holding a sleepy baby without helping you with your bags and directions, you hardly have to ask. At least in the places I´ve been with Luísa (Brazil, Italy, Chile and Costa Rica), people usually smile and engage in some playing with her.

6. Splitting dishes at restaurants – I only order one plate for me and my 3-year old anywhere we go. One plate and two drinks is a sweet economic deal.

7- Easy Access – cutting lines at customs, being the first off a taxi-boat and stuff like this is quite nice.

8. The younger, the cheaper – from 0 – 2 children don´t pay the airfare, any other transportation or accommodations. While still breastfeeding (if you are a mom doing this) you save up on buying food on the road. This is huge to consider and why I went to visit my family in Italy and Chile before Luísa turned two.

9. Both you and the child needing to make new friends – At all our stops I look for places with more children for Luísa to hang out with. I end up making friends among the parents of those children and so we both have appropriate age new mates to be with. If you are a family traveling with more than one child, I´m sure at many places you can chill within just you. If you are traveling with a mate, you meet less people on the road. Only when traveling alone, or alone with a child, I think you make meeting people more frequent.

10. The language learning and cultural immersion happens so fast – The biggest reason that made me go on this long trip abroad with my 3-year old was so that she could pick up easily on another language. Here in Costa Rica, she is picking up on both English and Spanish. The first month we were on the go and only by playing here and there with other children and listening to me talking to other people she was already picking up their language. At our second month, she started going to school in the morning, she is speaking a lot of both Spanish and English already.

As you can see, there are many good things about being on the road with a young child, I could keep numbering a few more, but 10 is good enough for one post. It can be tough at times, but the advantages are much bigger than the disadvantages.


This article was originally posted on Tripping Mom by Marilia Di Cesare on March 14, 2011. Republished with authorization. Click here for all other posts.


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