Traveling Overseas with Young Kids

This summer, we’re going to Europe with our 3- and 5-year-old. I get lots of different reactions when I tell people this:

“Wow, that sounds amazing!”

“Yikes, that’s a long flight with young children!”

“That sounds expensive!”

“Why don’t you wait until they’re older so they remember more?”

I totally understand all of these reactions. This will actually be our older child’s second trip overseas in his 5 years of living. The first time we took him, he was 18 months old and I was pregnant (no wine or yummy French cheese for me … that was a bummer!). And did we have some difficult moments? Sure we did! There was whining, there was crying, there was even an unfortunately huge and disgusting blowout on the way to Giverny (my family is forever traumatized by that one).

But we also had some amazing moments. My dad is a big World War II buff and we spent most of the trip staying with them in a beautiful country house in Normandy. He tasted delicious food and saw amazing sights. He breathed the air of the French countryside and looked across the gorgeous wheat fields behind the house we were staying in. He heard people speaking a language other than the one he heard all the time.

Does he remember it? Nope. But I really do believe these experiences nest in the deep recesses of our little ones’ minds and shape who they are as people. And now that we’re going back, we can show him pictures of his one-year-old self in this beautiful place and he’s so excited to be returning there.

And yes, it costs money. And no, we’re not rich. We save our money and set aside big portions of work bonuses in order to take these trips. Travel will always be a big priority for us, and we want our kids to look back on their childhoods and see adventure. It definitely takes sacrifice though, and this year we had to buy four plane tickets instead of the two we bought last time (gulp!).

I’m so excited to show my children the world. We are also going to London and Paris before we go to meet my parents in Normandy and I can’t wait to show my boys where the Queen of England lives, and ride a double decker bus with them and see Big Ben. I hope they always remember their early lives as a time of travel and adventure!

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Emma is mommy to one-year-old William and wife to Bill. She was born and bred in Baton Rouge, attending Episcopal High School, the Manship School of Mass Communication at LSU and the LSU Law Center. Married since 2010, she is loving her new life as a mother. She is an attorney but has limited her practice for now so she can stay home with William full-time, and she feels so fortunate to be able to do that. She is learning as she goes, rejoicing in every milestone and happy moment as well as working her way through the challenges that come with parenting. When she gets a chance, she loves reading, writing, and watching movies. She and Bill are both lucky enough to have their families close by and love spending time with them. She looks forward to seeing her little boy grow and eventually expanding her family. Motherhood has been the most fulfilling role of her life.

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