We’ve been away from home for nearly a month. We spent one week in Chile without Colby (our one year old) and have spent the rest of the time road tripping to Colorado (stopping in Idaho, and Utah along the way) with our little guy and our dog.
It seems like ever since we embarked on this journey, people keep asking me whether traveling with a one year old is hard. And the answer is quite simple: duh, of course it is HARD. But like so much else with parenting, traveling with Colby is also so worth it.
We started traveling with Colby when he was just over two months old; he took his first flight (to San Diego) to join me for a work event that I couldn’t miss.
We then drove through Nevada and stayed on a ranch in the middle of nowhere for a night.
From Nevada we drove to Oregon (near John Day) and camped (Colby’s first time) in Strawberry Mountain.
From there, we ventured on to the The Steens and completed our windiest (and Colby’s highest elevation yet) hike.
And finally, we made our way to the Wallowas where Colby completed his first ever double digit hike, before returning home to Portland.
When he was nine months old, we took him to Bend for a weekend to stay in a house with eight close friends (none of whom have babies or kids).
He screamed for nearly the first hour of the drive (sorry Nic!), and he decided he didn’t care much for sleeping at night in Bend, but he did really well (ahem napped the majority of the time) on his first snowshoe adventure.
And then when he was 10 months old, I (sans husband) took him on first international trip. I left the rain and cold in Portland (in February) and braved a nearly 5 hour flight with a 10 month old to Puerto Vallarta.
On the way out, I actually flew with him first to Sacramento to meet up with my family. While the flight to Sacramento is a short one, it was one of the most difficult solo baby flights yet, as I was still recovering from a bad head cold and was feverish and miserable, while basically wrestling my very active baby for two hours on a cramped and full plane. After a mostly sleepless night in Sacramento, we were up at 3:45 am to catch our very early flight to Puerto Vallarta.
We had a layover in LA before heading to Mexico which actually proved to be beneficial because it allowed us all to get up and stretch our legs (which for Colby meant being carried around the airport so he could people watch and stare at shiny objects). Having extra hands meant I could use the bathroom and grab a bite to eat, too.
Once in Mexico, we navigated customs easily and made our way to the taxi line. And get ready to cringe (or tar and feather me) for this one, I didn’t bring a car seat (they aren’t required in Mexico). In fact, all I brought for one week in Mexico was our passports, one carry on size suitcase, an umbrella stroller, and the Ergo.
Anyway, Colby thoroughly enjoyed his first ever “free” taxi ride. He was so happy to be looking out the window the same direction as everyone else, and I made sure to remind him that this wasn’t something he should get used to.
Once in Mexico, I quickly realized that it would be anything but a relaxing vacation. Colby was busy as can be, which meant I spent the majority of my week chasing him around the beach, trying to get sunscreen on him, or attempting to put him down for naps.
While it wasn’t easy, there were fun parts, like watching him fall in love with sand…
taking him swimming every single day…
and getting to witness him meeting his first ever fish…
We even survived a 4 hour boat ride (not to dissimilar from being on an airplane with an infant, really).
He also go to spend some valuable time with family…
And got to bond with his grandparents a little more each day so that I could go on a daily run…
And while I realize that Colby won’t remember his first double digit hike, his first time camping, his first international flight, riding in a taxi on my lap, meeting his first fish, or playing in the sand, I will remember. No matter how hard or stressful the travel might be, I think these experiences and memories are the ones that will live on in our hearts for years to come.
So yes, traveling with a one year old is HARD but also worth it. And I’m excited to continue traveling with Colby, no matter his age or current difficulty level for many years to come (until he no longer wants to travel with me…).
Do you (did you) travel with your little ones? And if so, why? And if not, why? And if you’re a parent, make sure you join me on Parent Riot – it’s a great community for swapping stories, tips, gear, advice, laughs and more!
If you’re a travel, outdoors, and adventure junkie, make sure you join me on Stoke Life – it’s a great place to swap stories, get ideas for your next adventure, meet other travel, outdoors, and adventure enthusiasts, and try cool gear!
Stay sweaty (and travel often!).