Why travel with a baby

I promise this blog hasn’t become “The Family Miler” despite a few family-travel-related posts this week. But the other day on Frequent Miler, we had some lively discussion about whether or not it’s OK to fly in business class with a baby. I’m not going to repeat that discussion here, see “The baby in business class debate” if you’re interested and missed it. One point that was echoed by a few folks was the notion that flying with young children isn’t necessary or that a baby or toddler wouldn’t remember it anyway. Putting aside for a moment the debate over whether some people are more entitled to unnecessary travel than others, I certainly have to admit that much (most? all?) of my travel is not necessary, and I know that at 15 months, my son won’t have any direct memories of our current trips. So why do I do it? I’m glad you asked.

A little background

I think there are two separate but equally important components as to why I travel with a baby. For the first half, some personal background context is necessary.

My father grew up poor. He was one of eight boys born in Puerto Rico and raised in the South Bronx of New York City in the 1960’s and 70’s. I think he counts having moved nearly 30 times by the time he was 18. His parents never took public assistance, but rather worked hard to keep their sons clothed and fed. My grandmother once told me a story about how she didn’t have the money to buy enough new school clothes for eight boys, so she bought each boy 1 white dress shirt. That way, she could wash, dry, and press their shirts at night and send them to school wearing the same shirts again the next day and nobody would know they were wearing the same shirt every day. The stories of my grandmother’s discipline are legendary (and my parents remind me how she would see a misbehaving child and hold her pinky finger straight in the air while saying, “1 week” — as in that’s all the time it would take her to straighten out their behavioral issues). She sure did something right, because those eight boys each found their way out of the environment in which they were raised and discovered paths to success.

But that success obviously wasn’t instant. When I was born, my parents didn’t have much. My first Christmas, they couldn’t afford to buy a tree. A neighbor gave them one. My mom didn’t want me to have a Christmas tree without ornaments, so she made them out of paper and colored them with crayons. Times were tight.

But by the time I was old enough to know the difference (indeed, by the time I was old enough to actually remember much), my parents had worked hard to put our family comfortably into the middle class. I had everything I needed and most of what I wanted growing up. I was a lucky kid.

We took family vacations every summer — usually visiting an amusement park or beach for a few days. Apart from a trip to Puerto Rico with Grandma Reyes when I was in second grade, those trips never involved an airplane (and typically only extended to a distance of 3-6 hours from home by car). My parents’ main standards for a hotel was that it had clean rooms and a swimming pool. I don’t ever remember them picking a hotel by its brand. But we had a lot of fun and I learned what it was like to enjoy travel with a family.

Fast forward into my young adulthood. At a family event, I was hanging out with some of my older male cousins. With the brash exuberance of our youth and the encouragement of a camera rolling to capture proof of our wisdom for posterity, we declared that we were “The next generation of Reyeses, and we’re gonna do it right!”.

Years later, I found out that my dad took some offense to that comment — that the sons of his generation somehow seemed to think that their parents did something wrong. Of course, he eventually realized that we were merely expressing the same concept that his mother had hoped for him and his brothers and that in turn they hoped for us: that we would do it better, whatever “it” is — career, marriage, children, life. I guess that’s the hope that all parents hold for their kids — that their kids are somehow able to have a life that is at least a little better than the one than came before it.

Part II

So while doing it “better” is one part of why I try to give my son experiences that I did not have, that concept ties into the second piece of “why” I travel with a baby: in the hopes that it makes him a better person — one more prepared for an interconnected world and exposed to as many people and things as possible to help him find his niche in that world. Do I think that by bringing him to Japan at 15 months, he’s going to discover a love of trains that leads him to become an electrical engineer working on the next generation of hyperloop technology? Absolutely not.

But do I think there is value in bringing him to a baseball game in the Tokyo Dome, where he is surrounded by people who look different, speak a different language, write words with different characters, and where he can see that mom and dad are totally calm and even enjoying that experience with those around them rather than being afraid or uncomfortable? Yes, I do think there is value in that.

Some will say, “He won’t remember a trip to Japan when he was 15 months old!”. Taken literally, that’s correct. But at 15 months, he remembers the sound of his name. He remembers what it means when his mom says, “Where are your shoes?” and he immediately goes to the door looking for them (and when we return and she says “Shoes off”, he bends down to undo the Velcro straps). He remembers that he shouldn’t smack the spoon when he’s being fed and knows to lift his leg when it’s time to put his pants on. While he’s incredibly special to us, our son is not exceptional in those abilities. How does he remember those things? The same way all children do: by repetition, routine, and reinforcement.

And so, while I know he won’t remember that we took him to play in the snow on a 6,000-ft mountain, I hope he won’t be afraid of heights the next time we encourage him to get into a gondola and climb.

While he surely won’t remember eating soba noodles for breakfast every day for a week (though he sure did remember what the bowls looked like each day and wouldn’t eat anything else once he saw me get one!), I hope he will remember that trying different foods is just something that you do.

For years, we know he won’t know that he took swimming lessons at 6 months old and had dipped his toes in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans before he was 1 year old. But hopefully he won’t be afraid to dive in to the deep end, confident that he can handle it.

There’s no doubt he won’t remember the waitress whose hand he reached for after breakfast each day and how she walked him out responding to all of his loquacious ramblings with inquisitive “oh really”s and authoritative “I agree”s. But in a world where he’ll see the worst of humanity on TV every day and in which I hope he’ll exercise due caution, I hope he’ll also remember that most people are good.

Someday down the line, I hope he’ll be excited to appreciate foreign cultures and understand foreign perspectives, that his fears won’t hold him back from risks he knows are minimal, that he’ll be grateful to live in a country where he can get food from around the globe, and that he’ll seek out good people and hold on to them. When we travel, I constantly marvel at the jobs that exist in this world that I’d never remotely considered: someone gets paid to design the layout of the massive flower displays at Bellagio; it is someone’s job to figure out how much it costs to make the lights flash on the Eiffel Tower multiple times each night; someone decides on the scent of the Emirates First Class cabin. I hope my son will see enough of the world to know how limitless his options can be.

But I know that just like when we taught him his name or what his shoes were or that he should keep his hands down when he’s being fed, it is going to require repetition, patience, practice, modeling, re-directing, patience, practice, positive reinforcement, discipline, patience, practice, time, experience, and a little more patience and practice. And just like learning how to eat or put his shoes on, I think that travel is an important component of life for which I want my son to be prepared — and it is one for which I have the means and he has the ability to lay the foundation right now. I’m not going to wait to lay that foundation any more than I’m going to wait until he can read to tell him bedtime stories.

Travel obviously isn’t necessary. I’m not even suggesting that it’s necessary in order to have a good life — or a better one than the previous generation. But I do think that traveling has made me a better person. It has expanded my understanding of the world and its many people and perspectives. I often say that the most salient lesson I’ve learned from travel is what it means to be American and how that influences my perspectives. I find value in that self-awareness.

Just like we speak and read to our son now to build recognition and awareness of language, we hope to build the same recognition and awareness of the world around him. I hope that learning in its many forms becomes part of his routine in the same way that he knows bath time will be followed by brushing his teeth and a bedtime story. And so, like many family travel folks before me, I want to make travel part of his routine in the hopes that it makes him a good learner, a more curious person, and a better human.

The other reason I bring my son

As someone who is fortunate enough to earn a living writing on the Internet, I accept that not everyone will agree with me. The day I took the job working here, I knew there would be times when someone may say something unkind or offer a perspective with which I vehemently disagree. Those comments don’t generally bother me — I can accept that people have different perspectives. I made my case as to why I’m not afraid to travel with a baby in business class and I can accept that some people disagree with me on that without getting too emotional about it.

But one comment from a different post yesterday did strike a chord with me. It was this one:

one thing yesterdays intentional hot topic argument never mentioned, and it is an emotional issue that most parents refuse to accept the scientific reality of….all kids that age are slightly more intelligent than monkeys, they see lights and geometric patterns, and will have NO memory of their trip beyond what you tell them…so put mouse ears on them in front of a green screen and years later you can tell them how much they enjoyed Disneyland. The logistics of traveling with a toddler and his gear internationally is extreme (as you well know it appears), It reduces the quality time between parents and unless Mommy just can’t be separated from little darling, a stay at the grandparents would be better for all involved…you will have many years to show your kid the world, wait until he will remember it….personally my earliest memory is of my 4th birthday party, so even if my parents drug me around the world before then, I would not have remembered, enjoyed, or cared about the experience….so your not doing anyone a favor by taking the kid along, not him, not you or your wife, not the grandparents (unless he has colic when you drop him off for an extended visit) and expecially not the traveling public at large……..

Wait until the kid can talk and walk, enjoy and remember the sights they see, and most importantly behave with the manners of a considerate traveler like his parents.

I laid out an argument above already as to why I’m not traveling with him for direct memories of Disneyland, etc (though, coincidentally, when I asked Greg about the ideal time to go to Disney before my son was born, he said 18 months — “He won’t remember it, but you will remember the look on his face forever”).

But that’s not what bothered me about the comment.

What bothered me was the suggestion that it would be better to drop my son off at his grandparents’ in order for his mother and I to travel. I know that people do that, and let me be clear that I do not mean to criticize those who do (and in fact we had to take one trip without him early on, though that was much more stressful than traveling with him). In my case, I don’t view a child as a nuisance that gets in the way of quality time between parents or makes my life less convenient. My wife and I spent many years together and traveled extensively before we were ready to start a family — when our son came along, we couldn’t wait to embark on this next adventure with him. I’m not inconvenienced by having a child. Sure, it means my travel is different now than it was before (and yes, sometimes it is more difficult), but the truth is that I can’t wait to show my son everything from how to use a slinky to the colorful fish of a barrier reef. And just like I know he won’t remember the book I read to him today or the beach we visit tomorrow, I’ll remember having him there and that’s the way I intended our life to be.

That is surely influenced by my upbringing. My parents often say that we went everywhere with them as kids — if we couldn’t go, they weren’t going, either. I won’t say it is impossible that my wife and I may decide to someday take a trip alone to focus on each other, but at this point I’m just not interested in taking a leisure trip without our son. That brings me back to those family trips to Hershey Park and Darien Lake. We didn’t take trips because mom and dad wanted to travel — we took them because mom and dad wanted to spend time with us.

All that is to say that the other reason I bring my son is simple: I want to travel with my son. I don’t bring him because I want to travel and I’m stuck bringing him if I’m going to take the trips I want to take. I bring him because now, having been fortunate enough to see many of the places I want to see in this world, I’m excited to go and see places with him.

I know that the opposite side of this perspective is that strangers don’t set out hoping to travel with my son. I get that. I don’t set out on a trip with the intention of traveling with the other hundred and change folks on the plane any more than I go to a restaurant intending to dine with the other customers or I go to a sporting event intending to sit next to an unruly intoxicated fan, but a public place is public, so I don’t put myself in any of those situations unprepared to deal with the public. And I guess that’s why I’m not nervous about bringing my son in business class or why I’m not worried about bringing him to travel: I know that we will encounter members of the public who may not like me, him, or us, but I can accept that and continue forward the same as I will when someone disagrees with this post. I know I won’t make everyone happy 100% of the time, but I sleep well knowing that the decisions I make are made with good intentions and that, when I make mistakes, I’ll reflect and adjust. Hopefully travel helps my son learn to do the same.

While my grandparents may have struggled to make ends meet, and my parents saved up all year long to take us on a summer vacation, I am fortunate enough to be able to generate these magical miles and points that I can trade in for experiences. Through those experiences, hopefully I can impart a curiosity about the world in my son and spark a desire for him to somehow do it better — whatever it may be for him. And while I don’t expect that today’s trips will directly influence that, I hope that they will lay the groundwork for a life of curiosity about the unknown and comfort with the unfamiliar. A comfortable seat to fly us there won’t hurt.

About Nick Reyes

Nick Reyes is a (fairly) regular guy with an animalistic passion for maximizing the value of miles and money to travel the world in comfort and style. There is little in life that he loves more than finding a fantastic deal and helping you shop smarter & harder to achieve your travel dreams.

More articles by Nick Reyes »

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SlinkeyTravel
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SlinkeyTravel

You seem like a great dad. I too travel with my family (2.5yr and 5 month old boys) all over the world. After a bunch of recent sickness/passings, sadly they don’t have any grandparents to “drop them off with” either. I will treasure every moment on all the around the world vacations til my last breath. Whether good or bad. First class or Coach.

Sophia
Guest
Sophia

What a sweet article, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

John M
Guest
John M

This thread is getting out of control. It’s very simple – you travel with your son because you get personal enjoyment from it. You get enjoyment from taking pictures of him and posting them to this blog. Everyone gets enjoyment from their kid. Whether the kid truly learns is another question that I won’t comment on. He’d probably also learn at his grandma’s learning to cope with separation…

What we all have an issue with is kids who cry in Economy or Business class. It doesn’t matter which class. It’s kids who cry because their parents don’t know how to bring activities onto the plane such as books, toys, food, etc. A properly equipped parent can ensure their kid is well behaved. If the parent can’t do that, they shouldn’t fly.

It sounds like your kid didn’t cry and was well behaved. So… congratulations!

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

John M
Well said it must be rating week or something . Greg I bet is looking to buy another Benz or Ferrari let’s keep it green people save the earth.
Thumbs down anyone ?
” Can I have Another ”

CHEERs

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

I understand and agree with your perspective but I’m tired of reading posts about baby travel this, family travel that. I have a son too, we travel with him, and the thing is, our kids are just not that special or interesting to other people. It does feel like “The Family Miler” and that’s not why I read here.

Signed, The Public
Guest
Signed, The Public

Where’s Greg? The posts were better when he was doing this thing solo.

Marie F
Guest
Marie F

This comment thread was better when you weren’t on it.

Jackie
Guest
Jackie

I love everything you had to say here. I took my son to Disney Springs when he was 3 months old. I didn’t care that he would never remember it. We love to travel and we enjoyed going somewhere as a family. We’re going to Seattle later this year and while I’m a little nervous about a transcon flight with a toddler, I am looking forward to it. Babies and young children are a part of everyday society and that includes air travel. I’m a lot less bothered by a crying baby than by a fully grown adult who won’t behave on a flight.

Blue
Guest
Blue

I’ve got an 11 year old. My son may not remember his early travels now (even trips from when he was 8 are hazy for him). But as we have gone on trips he sure remembered earlier travels when he was on his next trip. For example, I used to take him down to the beach as a toddler at Rockport, Texas. He only has a couple of memories of that–but he remembered those trips when we went to North Carolina when he was five.

Whether it is conscious or not travel can indeed build a base of experience for children.

Peter
Guest
Peter

Every parent is free to raise their the kid the way they want to. Would I do what you do as a parent? No. I think it’s somewhat abusive to your kid to have them travel long haul regardless of class not to mention if your child is one of those kids who cries regularly you are going to be bothering others.

Do everyone a favor. Keep your kid at home. Or take short trips. Or don’t if you feel strongly about it. At the end of the day we all don’t control each other.

rod
Guest
rod

So, you are glad we asked. well, we didn’t ask. You might want to consider that you could get a lot more than some mean looks and disdain all while you can sleep well at night. Don’t be surprised if a drink falls on that kid, or worse. I will be screaming loud and long if I am faced with a screaming baby in business or first. I couldn’t possibly read your complete and self serving diatribe because you don’t make any sense. So, just remember, we all have the same rights to scream, smell, and take up space as that kid does and I will certainly exercise those rights. Don’t worry, I won’t do anything criminal, but you will be uncomfortable. On the other hand, if your kid sits there quietly for 14 hours and doesn’t smell like poop, then I have no problem with it. Otherwise you are just an millennial jerk that want attention and has no regard for other traveller.

Sam
Guest
Sam

Wow..just wow. Hopefully your day gets better.

Namey
Guest
Namey

Let me guess, you like Trump don’t you?

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

Not me Trump’s a pig I voted for Bernie and wear his white 2016 hat all over the world .
Bernie for ever !!!
CHEERs

Lynn
Guest
Lynn

I can pretty much guarantee that!

Hubbe
Guest
Hubbe

Rod, while your post is generally speaking disturbing, might I point that throwing your drink on anyone, let alone a baby, can be considered an assault. So that’s that about that about the argument of just being a common jerk but “not a criminal”.

Marie F
Guest
Marie F

Oh, yeah. Cool. I’m sure no one will react adversely to a grown man behaving like a baby. That’s a great plan. I’m betting it’ll solve all of your problems, too. Your flight will be much more peaceful with you screaming as well. And you’ll definitely come out looking better than these clowns who travel with *gasp* an actual baby. You stay classy now.

Gabe
Guest
Gabe

Great article! Thank you for stating your point of view so eloquently. Your kid is lucky to have such great parents! Keep on traveling and remember you don’t have to justify *how* or *why* you travel to anyone else.

Renee
Guest
Renee

I say travel where you want, with whom you want, whenever you want, and it is no one else’s business. Of course we all feel “stuck” when there is a screaming kid on a plane – because we are stuck. But it is usually the ill equipped parents that are the culprits. How many times have I heard babies screaming during ascent and it seems the parents are clueless to their little ones ears (most likely) popping. I want to say, geese could you give that child something to suck on, it helps with the popping – your child is in pain!

That has nothing to do with the right to travel, though. You should take your kid where you want to take him and when. In the end, it is no one’s business. We traveled a lot like your family, when I was growing up. My sisters and I have done more travelling than our parents could and now our kids are able to do more than we were. I am taking my three young teenage granddaughters to Europe this fall. They have never been out of the country and I want them to know and see this big world and to have a view of it firsthand, not from what someone tells them. I hope they will decide to spend some college semesters studying abroad. Anyway, don’t let others opinions get under your skin. You have no reason to even explain why you do what you do. It is your son, your decision.

Now a story in a facebook group the other day about a woman in a lounge with a baby, who just read her book while the baby screamed – that is not ok. That is when she needed removed from the lounge. Not because the baby was crying but because she did nothing about it and caused everyone else to be miserable.

Jim
Guest
Jim

That’s it…. enough is enough. Too many blogs that write about miles and points. Goodbye

Not that Jim
Guest
Not that Jim

LOL, cause reading about free priority pass visits is so much better than real people and stories.

Felicia
Guest
Felicia

Bye Jim!

Tania
Guest
Tania

Hi Nick,

This post brought tears to my eyes. My grandparents were immigrants in Brazil and now I am an immigrant in NYC. They worked super hard to give my parents a better life just like your grandparents. A lot of the readers seems to forget how privilege they are to be able to play this game (you need time, good credit, being financially educated and have some extra cash around). I am a solo/divorced mother and I am so grateful to be able to travel with my 6 year old son thank to all the tricks I learned along the 8+ years I am playing this game. Indeed my son won’t remember a lot of trips. But the memories I created for me and my family we will never forget. Miles and points allowed me visit my family in Brazil once a year so they could bond with my son. I am sure he cried on the plane but I try to be as prepare as possible for 8 hour flight. This past month I went to Portugal (using a hidden city ticket) for Spring Break and my son got sick on the plane. I am sure the other passengers were mad, but I am not going to stop traveling because of little mishaps. My son told his teachers he went to visit his great grandparents little village in the mountains. This is priceless. This morning he told me about some pizza we ate 3 years ago in Miami when we took the Disney cruise (with Barclay’s points). I didn’t remember about the pizza but he did. Keep traveling with your family!!

PS. I can’t believe how nasty the comments are 🙁

Jim
Guest
Jim

Maybe we could cover breastfeeding next?

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

Jim
That’s no big deal . My buddy was a FA for United and back then u would clean planes as a first job then move up .I almost throw up when he told me he would find diapers in the seat pockets Cool .
CHEERs

Matty Tailwinds
Guest
Matty Tailwinds

Why are you still here? You leech of Nick and Greg’s hard work and knowledge base to serve your own interests and your thanks is to provide vitriol and snippy comments? Awwww, Little jimmy wants to be heard and cries out because he’s not entertained or getting what he wants. Damn, the irony.

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

Why are u still here Little Matty ? I never knocked Nick or Greg just the Self Centered Fools like you who put their interests above other travelers Get It ??
CHEERs

Matty Tailwinds
Guest
Matty Tailwinds

That would be Mr. Tailwinds to you. Here to be the contrarian to the clowns that lack a semblance of perspective or a sense of irony. Unless you’re “Jim” and Finkle is Einhorn, then I don’t recall addressing you. Are you being accused of knocking Nick or Greg? No? Are you victim to a Self-Centered perpetrator? No? Did you just insert yourself into the center? What foolishness or self-interest did I express? None? There’s little to “Get” about your rhetoric or Strawman argument.
No CHEERS to you.

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

Mr. Matly
OOp’s Sorry u posted under me which I figured @ Me .
Have a Nice Day
CHEERs

Matty Tailwinds
Guest
Matty Tailwinds

Cheers!

projectx
Guest
projectx

You owe no one an explanation. You travel with your son because you enjoy it. End of story. Continue to do so and anyone that likes to throw criticism your way can piss off.

Mitch Cumstein
Guest
Mitch Cumstein

From what I’ve read, this generation of Reyeses is doing it right.

DSK
Guest
DSK

Nick–thank you. That was beautifully written and your honesty is kind and refreshing. We grew up with very similar backgrounds (for me, not much money, and any travel was to see family or occasionally the Jersey shore). If wanting to show your kids what is out there early in life and to give them the gift of travel that you never really had is being a “millennial jerk”, then I guess I was a baby boomer jerk. But I don’t look at it that way. While watching everyone else get wasted on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, we were pushing two strollers with our very young kids looking for the open drug store to buy more diapers. I totally get it.

Where unfortunately I disagree is how much they will remember. At least in my experience, sure, when they are four they may remember what happened when they were two, but they really won’t remember much as the years go on. I did an informal survey of my mid-20’s kids and there earliest memory of great trips was somewhere around age 7, plus or minus a little bit. You may hope your son will be different, but it is just the way it is.

It will also get harder on you as your son gets older, and if you have more kids. When we had our third, we had to switch from a “man-to-man” defense to a zone, since they outnumbered us. They will also be a lot more mobile and have lots of energy that they will need to run off. They will want to be kids.

There are plenty of places to take your son, with plenty of great experiences. But, all I am suggesting is be easier on yourself and your wife, and start with places that give you a bit more flexibility. Go fly into Seattle or Portland or San Francisco or Las Vegas or New Orleans or Salt Lake City or (I could keep going on) and rent a minivan and tour a bit and get out of town and explore away! Drive up to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and stay at The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island–it is fantastic with a wonderful kids program that runs during your fancy dinner. Ride an airboat in the Everglades and show your son the alligators. Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper–gorgeous. Go to the International UFO Museum in Roswell, New Mexico and try explaining that to your son. You don’t necessarily need to take your 18-month old on a 13-hour plane ride to a city of 9 million people where you don’t speak the language and need to rely heavily on public transportation to get all of those experiences you want to share with him. And, rumor has it that there are some great ball parks in the USA and Canada! Perhaps you may want to save some of those big cities in far away countries with harder logistics and a lot more cost for a little bit later in life, when your kid or kids will truly remember them and you can tour at the speed you would like. In any event, keep travelling with your kid or kids, and don’t ever look back.

Signed, The Public
Guest
Signed, The Public

He doesn’t get it. He thinks this is about him.

Signed, The Public
Guest
Signed, The Public

You’re missing the point. It’s not about you, it’s about caring enough to be considerate to others.

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

Signed,The Public
They should start a GoFundMe site for babies and get them ALL in First Class where they belong . I Snore ( Oh my God) and had enough points to get a Suite for a trip I DIDN”T out of respect for my fellow travelers .
CHEERs

Lynn
Guest
Lynn

Greg, not sure how you found Nick, but so glad you did. He has really added a lot to the blog and I think you two are a great combination. I have no interest in this becoming a “travel with kids” blog, but I actually really enjoyed this post. I like knowing a little more about Nick, it makes me relate to his posts even more.

I truly don’t understand haters. Don’t read the post if it isn’t interesting to you from the title, but does it really make you feel better to be nasty?

Nick
Guest
Nick

Forget all the haters Nick. My own parents took me on a 10+ hour flight on a 747 before my third birthday. I still have flashes of memories of that experience. I still remember my Dad setting up a little area on the floor for me to sleep flat, and I listened to the loud hum of the engine with my ear pressed against the floor.

I may not remember all the details of trips from my younger years, but I sure as hell appreciate that my parents took me around the world. Traveling, meeting new people and cultures, trying new foods definitely opens your mind and changes how you see the world.

I’m completely with you wanting to bring your son along everywhere. He looks like he’s having a blast! Great job 🙂

David
Guest
David

Nick, thank you for these posts. You are an awesome Dad, and your son is very blessed to have you as his father. From one dad to another, keep you skin thick and never apologize for doing what is best for your family.

Lara S.
Guest
Lara S.

If you could hear me, you’d hear applause and me shouting- Amen!! Thank you.

And for those who say it doesn’t matter because they can’t remember it I call BS. The repetitive nature of travel, of the ritual of packing, driving to the airport, riding the shuttle, getting on the plane and going to a hotel in a new place with new food and people and languages is memorable. My son has been traveling on planes since he was four months and he is a pro at the system and being on a plane. He knows how the planes work and sound and he is comfortable with the entire experience.

I’d also note he definitely remembers learning to use chopsticks at the asian restaurant we went to on his first international trip at age 2, he remembers the woman who was our concierge (Miss Julia, bless her) and he is excited to go back in June of this year. So I would add to the idea of repetition making memories that bright shining exciting moments also make memories in the young. My first memory is age 2 when my parents took us to the mountains and my dad took us on a row boat on a pond and splashed us all with the oar. It was so surprising to us since he is normally very stoic and it stuck with me, that surprise and sudden burst of laughter from all us kids.

AlexL
Guest
AlexL

Beautifully written! Thank you for sharing from a personal perspective!

DrGF
Guest
DrGF

Words can’t express how touched I am by this piece, and how much it resonates with our family’s reasons for travelling together. Thank you so much for sharing it and for so thoughtfully raising a child who will have a foundation of kindness, compassion, patience, and openmindedness when dealing with people from other backgrounds — whether in their own home town or on the other side of the world, while having a cushion of multigenerational love from a family who keeps getting it right. The next generation needs that context now more than ever!

Dom
Guest
Dom

Nick, keep it up! I travel with my toddler all over the world every chance I get. The experiences we make are priceless. Thanks for keeping your head above board with this post, others would dismiss the critics and say “f em”!

Riku
Guest
Riku

Beautiful story Nick! I see many commenters complaining posts like this and asking for mile & points related posts or asking Greg to write more. But they can go elsewhere if they don’t like. I very much enjoy reading not only your posts, but your comments. By reading this post I feel like I got to know you better and your high quality posts reflect who you are.

wes
Guest
wes

Hey, Nick, great post. Well written, and well supported. I feel for you that you have to put up with some of the retarded comments, but my guess is you wouldn’t have gotten into this line of work if you didn’t have thick skin. In your article you hit on a powerful point that my wife and I have discussed recently as well. Our society’s abysmal view of our children. It’s sad to see how some people view humanity; in this case, children. They are at best a commodity, at worst an undesired obligation. This is one of the primary indicators of the current, rapid decline of western civilization- how we treat our young due to our rampant narcissism.

Thanks for valuing your child, and for also valuing your role as his father. Fathers that don’t despise being fathers tend to end up being better fathers. (go figure) Appreciated both yours and Greg’s responses, and I look forward to more points and miles content from the blog. Safe travels.

wise2u
Guest
wise2u

here to stir the pot again…if you bring a toddler on an international trip for your comfort and enjoyment, to take pictures of and dote on in a foreign land, at least be honest and admit it is for you and not for them…..you would be better off with a comfort animal….less annoying

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

wise2u
I don’t think so in Nick’s case . I really got sick of that stuff in the 90’s using the baby for a prop .I carried a diaper bag on a plane for an overburden lady that’s what she was Doing . I do Remember fishing @ about 3 years old caught a fish too .But found out @ 10 Dad put his fish on my hook HaHa .
CHEERs

Dr. McFrugal
Guest
Dr. McFrugal

I like this post a lot! Probably because it resonates really well with me. I can totally relate. My parents loved to travel and they would always take me and my sisters on trips with them. We went to Mexico and multiple national parks in the US and Canada when we were toddlers and young children. When we were a bit older in our early teens, they took us to Europe and China. My sisters and I always appreciated their efforts to include us. We are such a close knit family and I think part of the reason why is because we did everything together– even (or especially) travel.

Keep doing what you’re doing. I know some people here don’t like “Family Miler” posts, but I do because I can relate. Also, I know it’s debatable whether he’ll remember anything at all. But I’m sure when he’s older, he’ll appreciate the effort you put in including him and spending time with him. All little kids desire is love and attention from their parents. And it’s apparent from your post that you and your wife are doing a fantastic job as parents in that regard.

My wife and I are taking our 17 month to Paris in a few months. We are also taking my wife’s parents. Thanks to points and miles, we were able to get reasonable business class seats for all of us! My wife’s parents have never been to Europe, and it’s one of their life long dreams to visit Paris. We are making it happen for them. And it doesn’t hurt to have grandparents take care of them at the same time. 🙂

Greg The Frequent Miler
Admin

I love this post. It’s heartfelt and beautifully written. As someone who was head over heels in love with my son from the moment he was born, I can relate completely with Nick’s sentiments. “I want to travel with my son,” “I’m excited to go and see places with him.” I’ve probably spoken the same words many times and they’re just as true today with my son at 19 years old, as they were when he was 15 months old. Now, he’s beginning to travel on his own, and I revel in his excitement while at the same time ache that I can’t be by his side.

JohnSF
Guest
JohnSF

Excellent article Nick. I always enjoy reading your articles. Your ability to express your feelings in the written word and relate them in a way that is understandable to everyone is top tier. You are an integral part of the Frequent Miler site and I hope Greg appreciates how much value your talented writing brings to the site.

I fully support your decision to share experiences with your son. I find it hard to believe others are so callus towards bonding with children but I guess that’s life. I wish you happy travels and look forward to reading more of your adventures.

Jared
Guest
Jared

I’m only commenting to add a positive voice and counteract the negativity. I really enjoyed the post. Thank you

MSer
Guest
MSer

What a load of complete bollocks. Dragging a toddler around because of some ludicrously ridiculous notion that it will broaden their horizons is the biggest load of self-serving rationalizing bs I’ve read in a long time. Face it, you aren’t doing it with thwle kid’s best iinterest at heart, it’s your own selfish wants, and is bad parenting.

Jim
Guest
Jim

Been reading the blog forever. I really enjoyed the human touch of this article. I’m so tired of the whole this lounge gives you 2 free beer and a more comfortable seat! You sound like a great father Nick.

My comments:
1. I was laughing at the first article, 15 months is the end of the easy period. As the father of a 4.5 & 2 year old with 100k under their wings, 1.50-2.5 is the worst age for traveling with kids. It’s about to get a lot harder LOL
2. It seems like you already have this one down, but I don’t give one cent care to what anyone else thinks about me when traveling. Life is better when you don’t worry about what others think of you.
3. Perspective, the older I get the more I realize that 2 people can look at something and have 2 wildly different conclusions/thoughts. We don’t know their life or why they think that way. It makes the world a better place. It’s when people get emotional about that difference that their’s a problem. Most of the time we can see where the other person is coming from if you can put yourself in their shoes.

Great job, keep on writing.

Melissa
Guest
Melissa

Yes, yes, YES! Everything you say here. Our little ones are 7 and 9, and we’ve been exploring with them since they were weeks old. What they don’t remember, we do. And we didn’t do it so they would “remember it” but so we could share joy and “firsts” and a passion for the unknown together, as a team. We travel with them because we enjoy experiencing life together. ❤️ Keep sharing your love and passion for travel with those you hold most dear!

Kelnland
Guest
Kelnland

Nick- I loved this piece. Please disregard the negativity. You are providing a beautiful start to your son’s life. I say- keep writing from your heart. I travel with my small kids for many of the same reasons you wrote. The negative folks can go elsewhere. I don’t recall any of them being forced to read your posts. You and Greg are a great duo!

fairy8i8
Guest
fairy8i8

Ageism lives on… and it’s against the law like all other hate crimes, people.

Bryce
Guest
Bryce

My 5yo has now flown 112 segments including about 10% in premium classes. A lot of that’s been domestic but not all.

We did for a lot of reasons. Some to visit family, some mixed family/fun trips, some to visit places more obviously for my wife and me, some necessary because we weren’t situated to leave him for days with anyone.

He grew up on planes. He wants to travel. We know how to manage him and, better, he manages himself well in that environment.

We’ll never know for sure but we believe it helped shape him into the chill, friendly, explorer he is.

The number of occasions where he made any negative distraction we’re amazingly few and, I believe, never in those premium cabins which largely occurred with him as a lap infant.

I think you’re doing great Nick!

Steve
Guest
Steve

Nick, this is an atypical post for FM, but is one of its best ever. In fact, it is one of the best blog posts of any kind that I’ve ever read, period. Thanks for sharing your story and your feelings on this issue. Your motives for bringing your son on your trips are truly beautiful.

Jason
Guest
Jason

My daughter is 16 months now and she’s been on 24 segments half have been greater than 4 hrs, it was easier when she was younger and it getting tougher as she ages. At 7 months we did 2 segments in biz, our longest segments, and did get asked by the FAs to move to the back of the biz cabin, which I refused. She behaved better than some of the pax in biz. I feel like it’s all about being prepared as a parent. If the baby is crying and the parent is doing their best to try and calm and comfort their child that’s all good by me.

Patty
Guest
Patty

Loved this post. It’s how we feel about traveling with our children even though the youngest is 17 and about to graduate from high school. We did not have the opportunity to travel when they were as young as yours, but we took them to many experiences for the same reasons you bring your son on your travels. Over the years I have found that at certain times it is wise not to take certain children to some of these experiences, but they got out of those stages pretty quickly. I have also found that sometimes taking older children is actually harder than taking the younger children!

Galaxy Tourism
Guest
Galaxy Tourism

Very sweet, Such a great time you enjoyed with Family. Thanks for sharing the post.

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