Traveling with Children

My wife and I are super excited to celebrate my son’s six month mark! He joined us in late June and we have loved having him with us in our family. Becoming a father has been WAY more exciting than I ever expected. Smiles, giggles, laughs, and babbling absolutely win me over. I enjoy laying with him on the floor, watching him roll over, and feeding him  bottles or food from a spoon.

Our Little Boy

We have obviously been travelers to this point in our lives, but we are now reaching the point where we have to decide whether or not Max will be joining us on our next trip.  We are considering going to Europe in the fall of 2012.

The AAdvantage miles (expired) will take good care of us so we can fly into Zurich.  This means that we will only have to pay taxes on that flight.  Taxes on a flight to Europe might be $200 each, resulting in $400 of unavoidable costs (I’ll definitely use my Capital One card to cover this–see below).  Our Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express card will allow us to stay for free in 9 different hotels across Alpine Europe.  Because my wife and I both scored the SPG card we have accumulated approximately 80,000 SPG points.  When redeeming these points no taxes are paid.  Yes!  So we shouldn’t be paying anything for hotels. Check out our post about using credit cards to secure free travel.

We also scored on the Capital One Venture card.  This card had a very short term promotion where they would “Match My Miles”  (expired) the amount of frequent flier miles that you had up to 100,000.  Luckily the AAdvantage card had filled my account and my wife’s account too.  We were able to score this bonus which resulted in $2400 in spending.  We’ve already burned through almost a thousand dollars, but it has been well worth it.  This will be used the pay the taxes on our flight and our rental car or train.

Doing the math it looks pretty good.  We should be spending $0 on our airfare, hotels, and car rental.  That is a savings of over $4000 easily!  Tell me that it’s not worth it!?

Family at the Biltmore

Max has traveled with us two times already.  He went to North Carolina in September and Tennessee in November.  He has been a good little traveler, but I’m going to need some advice from each of you guys.  What has your experience been on traveling with children?

We are considering taking him to Europe with us in the Spring of 2012 on this trip.  He will be approximately 10-11 months.  I’m just not sure what his mobility would be like at that time.  I’m also thinking would it be better to rent a car, or to take the train with the little guy?

Up to this point our travels with him have been excellent.  In his short six months of life he has already been to six states.  While Shae was pregnant we went to Costa Rica, and took a cruise to the Southern Caribbean.  I’m hoping that as a result of this he has become an excellent traveler. What has been your experience at that age?

Obviously the trip involves quite a bit of traveling from place to place as we would be exploring. I wouldn’t even think twice if we were going to one location as a relaxation vacation. What advice would you give me?

Get your own Starwood Preferred Guest card and score some awesome hotels.

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2 Responses to Traveling with Children

  1. michelle says:

    I’ve been meaning to comment on this post and never got around to doing it! I 100% believe children should be introduced to travel at a young age-it helps them develop a innate sense of cultural differences and appreciation, as well as intellectual skills that come from being exposed to foreign languages, learning to use foreign currencies, etc.

    We celebrated my husband’s college graduation by backpacking 6 weeks in Europe. Our little boy turned 1 while we were in Rome on that vacation. Traveling with him was a blast! We only had a car for a few days on the whole trip, so I’m biased towards train travel, but I really do think that’s the way to go. No having to worry about car seats. Travel minimally. We carried our little boy on our backs with a great used carrier we found in France. We carried him EVERYWHERE! It made it so easy to run for trains or get through crowds-trying to push a stroller over European cobblestone streets would be a nightmare.

    The toughest part of traveling with a baby overseas for us was trying to find diapers. I’m not sure how long you’ll be gone, but it might be something to consider taking with you. The American brands are available, but very expensive. With the local brands you just never know what you’re getting. We bought “Happy Baby” diapers in Albania that didn’t exactly deliver a happy baby.

    Last, I’d say traveling with kids is much easier if you can try to relax. Let him get down and crawl around on the ground, even if it’s dirty and littered with cigarette butts (which in Europe I promise you it will be). Slow down. We made it a point to find a playground in each city we were in so he had opportunities to play. So many European cities have oldschool playgrounds that were a blast from the past for my husband and I, too.

    That’s a lot of rambling, but something that’s important to me. Happy traveling!

    • Sheldon says:


      I really thank you for your comment. My wife and I were up last night until almost midnight discussing our options. It was so timely that you wrote your post either last night or this morning.

      We still haven’t decided what to do, but we are working on it right now. Where did you get your Euro Rail tickets? The places that I look are outrageous prices.

      Thanks again for your comment.

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