The perks of travelling alone with kids
Travelling mama Anna Von Frances shares her personal account of travelling alone with her baby. Forget your fears and trade them in for freedom and fun…with your little one in tow! Here’s her story:
I have been traveling by myself since I was 4 (yes, 4 years old!). It was the 80s, kids were more independent and divorce was still new. My mom threw that Unaccompanied Minor badge on me, put my hand in the hand of a Flight Attendant and off I went to visit my dad for the summer. I grew to love traveling alone over the years. In the beginning it was because of the snacks and the free movies and all the attention, but later it became about introspection and meeting new friends and seeing life from another perspective; and even later it became me-time where I got to be off my phone/computer and sometimes suspended between time zones where I could catch up on a book or some sleep. And then I had a baby.
I feared the death of travel after a baby. So many of my friends who were fierce travelers started talking about all-inclusive and Disney and packing a bag per person. When I got pregnant, I had just finished living out of a hammock and a 40L bag for 8 months with my dog off grid throughout Central America. The idea of lining up for over priced pizza on a secluded beach in Mexico where they play the mega-mix form 2008 on repeat was horrifying. Not to knock that kind of thing, I have enjoyed many a time share, all-inclusive and other super mainstream packages in the past and it really is what you make of it. However, I had a choice back then and once I gave birth, it felt like my choice was gone.
I had my daughter by myself in Mexico. So I was bored to tears by month 2 of being home with a kid 24-7. I know this is common, but since I was living in Mexico which is really inexpensive once you get away from the tourist traps, and it was only $30 USD to fly from one end to the other…and I wasn’t working – I thought, why not take this show on the road?
I started planning a 7 week beach trip with my daughter for the Yucatan and Quintana Roo (the touristy party by Cancun). I was going to keep mostly to the well beaten path “just in case” but wanted to try my hand and traveling with her for longer than a week, living out of a backpack. If anything happened, I could always fly back to the mountains for $30 right?
Initially, I searched the internet to see what tips were out there for traveling with a baby. You know what I found? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Not a video, not an article. Nothing.I got scared for the first time in my life to travel alone. I thought, “If NO ONE has done this before, then maybe it’s really unsafe?”
I ended up taking that trip, and you know what? It’s all complete and utter bullshit (excuse my language but it’s apt here). Not only was it one of the most magical trips of my entire life, but my daughter, at the tender age of 3 months, had a blast (as much as a human potato can). Traveling by yourself with your child is ten times more fun than any girls trip or dare I say it…family vacation could ever be.
You are out there on your own which is really bonding for you and your kid as well as super empowering. Plus, people will help you A LOT – and I don’t mean like they will nicely give you directions, I mean you will not stand in one line, people will go out of their way to ask questions and offer suggestions and give you recommendations on everything from restaurants to places to go with kids. Everyone in Latin America has children, so the random 25 year old working in a pharmacy can help you pick out a floaty that will work in a pool for a kid under 6 months cause he has four kids at home and knows what works for his family. Being alone makes you more approachable and I felt like my social life improved ten fold. I met people from all walks of life who told me of their kids and gave me high fives for traveling with mine alone. I think I more support on that trip than ever in my life. I had no idea it would be so great to see the world with someone who couldn’t even sit up on her own.
We stayed in airbnbs, hostels with pools (email in advance to make sure they are not party hostels), a few hotel rooms and even a tent near the beach in Tulum. I took buses and boats and tours and planes and they all worked out great. When I came back after that trip I decided I would create a trip of my own, designed for mother’s and their children so I could share this gift with other mama’s. It’s finally happening in March 2018 with The Heart Of Travel in Guatemala (our current home). If you would like to come, there is still room, and if not, at the every least, please take a trip with your offspring somewhere (anywhere) on your own so you can get a taste of how incredible the bond is for both you and your kids. The trip is just a short period, but the glory is forever.
My tips for traveling alone with kids:
1. Relax – they respond to your stress and that usually turns into crying and fits and the more chill you are, the more your children will be
2. Pack Tempra – this way, if your baby spikes a teething fever in the middle of the night, you can handle the first step while you look for a doctor
3. Book family run, local spots – built in babysitters and locals are more likely to know where all the stuff is you might need like special food, doctors and where to buy baby items, plus the vibe is more authentic and the price is usually better
Check out an amazing opportunity to travel with your baby by clicking here!
ABOUT ANNA VON FRANCES
Anna Von Frances is a traveling single mom and yogin. She has been to 28 countries in her life and traveled solo for ten years before adding Luna to her team. Originally from Toronto, Canada, she has called Guatemala and Mexico home for the past three years. You can follow her adventures as a travel mom with Luna on their Youtube channel and Instagram.