12 travel challenges with young children in tow

By Hilarye Fuller

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 11 2012 9:50 p.m. MST

It’s been four years since I began actively traveling. Some may say that I’ve been bitten by the travel bug or that I have itchy feet and need to travel to keep my sanity. Perhaps that is true, but I like to think it’s because I have a curiosity burning inside me that can never be extinguished, one that is only fueled by each trip that I take.

It began once I graduated college, and with that adventure behind me I sought new and even more tangible adventures. Reid and I had only been married two years and he had grown up constantly experiencing the world. His love for travel was something that intrigued me.

So we set forth, visiting places together and enjoying what the world had to offer. Then ToddlerTravels came along a few years later and we decided not to let it stop us in our aspirations to travel. It became a gift we gave to our child. The gift of experience, culture and time together as a family. By the time ToddlerTravels was a year old she had been on more than 60 flights, to a foreign country, on a cruise and to more than a quarter of the states, including Hawaii and Alaska.

This summer our traveling lifestyle took an unexpected twist when my second pregnancy turned high-risk and I was deemed unfit and unsafe to fly. Two separate trips were canceled and airline tickets refunded. We were sad, but Reid and ToddlerTravels kept at it, while I sat at home and wallowed in my pregnancy complications.

This fall our little miracle came and we became a family of four. Reid, myself, ToddlerTravels and BabyTravels. We are determined to continue on in our travels, fully understanding and comprehending the new challenges we must take on to make this happen. The purchase of three airline tickets, dealing with two kids 2 years old and under, etc. Although we know that it will be difficult at times we know it is possible and even enjoyable.

We decided to come up with 12 travel challenges we will undergo this year with our toddler and infant. Some of them will be a challenge to just us for many reasons, some most people would find a challenge with young children, and some are just plain taboo and not advised by most. Primarily, they exist to inspire and push us to continue traveling. We plan to document our journey, just as we have done before, with photos, tips, stories and experiences here for you to read in hopes it may help some people as they plan their trips or even inspire some who may be afraid to try it themselves. All of it, the good, the bad and the just downright ugly.

Our 12 travel challenges for 2012 as a family of four, ages 29, 26, 2 and 2 months, are (in no particular order):

Fly by myself with both kids

Visit Disneyland or Disney World

Take a red-eye flight

Go on a 500-plus mile road-trip

Visit New York City

Go on a cruise

Leave babies behind for at least a week to leave the country

Go camping

Go on a beach vacation

Take an international flight

Visit a national park

Go on a ski vacation

We don’t consider ourselves experts at traveling with children. We aren’t sure that even exists. Children are unpredictable, which is why traveling with them can be challenging. We also recognize that many people accomplish these challenges every year with small children. We, however, have never attempted them with two young children and are documenting our first times.

Looking forward to 2012 and the adventure it promises.

Hilarye Fuller lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she stays at home with her two young daughters and pens the travel blog DottingTheMap. For more information on 12 in 2012 Challenge, and for tips and reviews visit http://www.dottingthemap.com

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