Is a Growing Family the Reason I Want to Travel Less?


Ever since my son was born 16 months ago travel has become a lot less appealing. When I was twenty I left my study abroad program early to take the Trans-Siberian railroad and then backpack across Europe for six weeks. When I was twenty-three, my primary goal was to quit my job and travel the world.

Even in the midst of my busiest year of law school, I skipped class for a two week press trip to Australia.  But suddenly, travel just isn’t as appealing any more.

And I’ve been wondering why.

Is it because I’ve visited many of the places I really wanted to go?

No. There are still many places I want to visit sometime in my life.

Is it because I’m getting older and just more ready to settle down?

Probably not. Many people who are almost thirty are just getting the travel itch.

travel less kids on a beach
travel less

The only thing I can truly attribute it to is now having a child. Planning for a vacation with a kid isn’t all that different than planning for a trip without a child. But actually taking a vacation is a huge difference.

With a kid, vacations are a lot less spontaneous. They are still fun and enjoyable, but just in a different sort of way. You have to be more flexible (to accommodate possible meltdowns) but your flexibility is constrained by early bedtimes, fewer fancy restaurants or interesting bars.

There’s no lounging by the pool, completely unaware of your surroundings, reading a book. Instead you’re trying to make sure your kid doesn’t drown.

And even something as basic as a long hike may turn into only going 500 yards because your toddler has decided he wants to walk himself and not let you carry him.

Money also plays a part of it. I’d much rather spend $100 on an annual pass to the children’s museum where we take monthly trips than spend it on a thermal spa day in Rotorua, New Zealand.

I know that in time travel with kids gets easier again. But for now, we will probably take fewer trips,  to places a little closer to home, that cost a little more. And the adventurer-at-heart in me is ok with that.

This post is part of Women’s Money Week. You can read more about money and family here.

6 Tips to Find a Babysitter When Traveling

Whether you’re on a vacation and booking a date night or at a work conference with baby in tow, you might find yourself looking for a sitter in a faraway city. The process can be overwhelming. You want to find someone trustworthy and experienced,  but where to start? We’ve been there and we’ve got you covered. These 6 tips will tell you how to find a babysitter when traveling.

Talk to Your Hotel or Resort

Some resorts offer childcare for a fee, but most require reservations, so plan ahead. Even if your hotel doesn’t, it’s worth inquiring; they might be able to refer you to a reputable childcare agency.

Check Out Online Babysitting Services

We’ve had great luck to find excellent babysitters and nannies, both at home and when we’re traveling. We’ve used it to find five different babysitters in three different states and they’ve all been great.

My favorite things  are that you can request background checks on applicants for free and that applicants are rated and reviewed by other parents. I always conduct an in-person and/or phone interview and call references so that I’m confident in the person I hire. There’s a similar service, SitterCity, but I’ve never used it.

Babysitter When Traveling

Look Into Local Babysitting Services

Google “babysitting service” along with the name of your city and see what comes up. I just did that for Minneapolis and found Twin Cities Nanny & Sitter and Jack and Jill Sitting Service.

If you find companies this way, do your due diligence to make sure they’re reputable. Look up online reviews and see if they’re on the BBB’s website, then ask for references when you talk to the company.

Reach Out to Your Social Networks

We all have Facebook and Twitter friends we don’t see often (or ever) in-person and some of them just might live in the city you’ll be visiting. It’s worth posting a shout out to your social networks asking if anyone can recommend a good sitter.

Ask Around in Your Community

Your neighbor’s sister might live in Seattle (or whichever city you’re traveling to) and she may be willing to sit for your kids, or know someone who is.

It doesn’t hurt to ask a few friends or family members in your hometown if they know anyone you can reach out to for your vacation.

Ask Friends Who Live in the Area

If you need a babysitter in Chicago and a friend of yours lives there, ask her if she knows anyone who might be available.

Even if she doesn’t have kids herself, she might know of a neighbor, coworker, or friend’s teenager who babysits often. When I traveled to a family wedding in Dallas, my cousin was able to recommend a friend’s mom’s babysitting service.

6 Tips for Traveling by Rail in Europe with Kids
Tips for Traveling with Kids Tips from Parents

photo credits: surlygirlScott & Elaine van der Chijs

4 thoughts on “Is a Growing Family the Reason I Want to Travel Less?”

  1. Heather Stephens

    Hi Elizabeth!

    Traveling with kids is tough, and I’ve found that there are plenty of things in our home town to keep them occupied. I may never have scouted them out without the catalyst of children to encourage me to do so. It’s led to a tradition where instead of buying the kids bunches of presents at Christmas, our family buys a membership somewhere like the local Zoo. In the past few years we have gotten tickets to a different museum at one of the big cities near us. Lots of museums offer reciprocity helping us save while seeing new things.

    Things do get easier when the kids get a little bigger. This year we’re taking a train ride to Flagstaff from Illinois with the kids to visit Grandma. We’ll be seeing the Grand Canyon and then driving down to Phoenix to see her for a few days. We did the trip last year when my son was 4. I was nervous about how he’d do for 30 hours on a train, but it was one of the best experiences we’ve ever had together as a family.

    🙂 Heather

  2. It has to be really different with a child. I have traveled a lot, for months at a time, and would consider doing some kind of slow travel with kids for a few months, but the idea of packing tons of stuff for a week away is a lot of organization, I’d rather have fun locally.

  3. I LOVE the idea of buying a zoo or museum membership instead of lots of Christmas presents. We’ll have to start doing that this year.

    I can see how a 4-year-old would have a great time on the train. In a lot of ways, I bet it’s better than flying — and definitely better than driving. I like the idea of a cross-country train trip with young kids.

    Thanks for sharing! You’ve given us good ideas.

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