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Traveling to Ireland with a 2 year old?

My husband and I are considering traveling to Ireland with our 2 year old son (just turned 2, but will be about 2 1/2 when we want to travel). We have access to a time-share, so we'd be in one locale for a week, then in B&Bs for a second week. Hopefully he will be potty trained by then (he's in the process now). Are we crazy? Is it worth the hassle? We are getting stir crazy since we used to travel before our son was born and it's been a while now. What are we up for?

Posted by
6 posts

Hello Maggie,

I don't have much advice on traveling with a small child (my kids are all teenagers) but I can give you a site for B&B in Ireland. This past summer I stayed at Moher Lodge. The hostess was Mary Considine (she was the best part of my trip). Mary is extremely friendly, her home is warm and very welcoming. I know for a fact that your family would be happy. The home has rooms big enough to sleep your family with room to spare and its close to a lot of attractions. Pls check out her site - cliffsofmoher-ireland.com.

Mary is very good about emailing back and will give you great advice on everything Ireland (please tell her Hello for me)!

Take care, Wendy

Posted by
9363 posts

If you can potty train a boy by age 2 1/2, more power to you! Boys are usually slower to become reliable. To answer your question, though, I would not have considered such a trip with my son when he was two. You will miss some of what Ireland has to offer if you can't spend time in the pubs to hear the music, and he won't get anything out of the sightseeing. And while some kids can handle the long airplane trip, I've been on flights where miserable kids cried the whole way. I'd suggest a domestic trip for the first time out to see how he adapts to travel in general before you spring for a big trip.

Posted by
10344 posts

The other moms know what they're talking about. As a male, I venture into this area cautiously! This must be a difficult decision for you, because understandably you don't want to wait years to do Europe again--if there is another child, if the dollar gets even worse against the euro, then waiting some years doesn't sound like a good alternative. I guess part of it comes down to: how badly do you want the trip to Europe? Realistic expectations are that it won't be anything like your trips before kids. Are there alternatives you can live with: shorter trip somewhere else with shorter plane flights? leaving him with a loving grandma, as difficult as that might be?

Posted by
1589 posts

Yes, you are. 2 1/2 yo boys rarely are toilet trained. No, it will ot be worth the hassle. B& Bs are no place for any toddlers. Wait a few more years.

Posted by
11450 posts

Have three kids, and have travelled from a young age.
If child is potty trained completely by then, child may have set backs on trip. Totally new toilets and new schedule. You may regret.

Two yr olds can travel fine, but, I wouldn't tackle overseas flight.
We did a flight to Hawaii once with 2 yr old and that was about 6 hours, um,, not too pleasant. He was not a nightmare, but, it did exhaust us!

The timeshcare idea is not a bad one though, same place for a week and you can cook his food he is used to ( to some degree) , finding a BB that he will really be welcome at( no, not them just saying it , but meaning it, ) will be a task, but, not impossible.

Personally , go to Disneyland or take a Caribbean cruise, kids really could care less for Europe at 2, they could be anywhere really, at least at DL or on a cruise there will be tons of other parents kids having meltdowns in the dining room so you won't stand out, LOL>

Seriously, it is not a horrible idea,

Posted by
11450 posts

( I mean wanting to travel again after kids) we felt same way,, we even took our first child to Reno , and Lake Tahoe , by car ( two day drive, LOL) when he was about 7 months old, LOL, I sat in the back and sang "Itsy Bitsy Spider" for about 1000 miles,, Yuck. LOL

We then took various other trips as other kids arrived. Anything is possible, and alot to do with each childs own personality, some kids DO travel better then others.

You only have one child, so if you are going to have a decent shot of making this work now is the time, it is harder with more then one.
So go for it, but do NOT expect it to be ANYTHING like travel BK( before kids).

Posted by
800 posts

Maggie - you're not crazy for wanting to travel but having traveled with my 2 kids and now a grandmother of 2, I can say that you should consider:

1) Leave your son at home with loving grandparents. My mom and dad came and took care of my kids for short trips as soon as I stopped nursing. She also came for the 10 day trips we started taking when they were 5 & 3. Yes, it was hard to leave them but I know that my mom REALLY loved being with them full time and I could fully rely on her so I wasn't nervous about that, just sad (a bit) to be without my kids.

2) If you can't leave them someone you trust 100% it gets trickier. The time share is a great idea. I'd look for another self-catering unit for the 2nd week rather than go for B&B's.

3) I think the worst part will be the plane ride so figure out how you will deal with that. We did drugs (Benadryl) when the kids were older. My daughter in law dreads each 2 hour flight she takes with her girls, much less a 7 hour+ one.

Posted by
2788 posts

Two thoughts from a male traveler: 1) I fly between Hawaii and Seattle several time a year and on those 5 1/2 flights there are always screaming youngsters 2) I fly between Seattle and Europe every year and on those 9 hours flights there are always screaming youngsters. I hope you will not be subjecting passengers seated around you to that
"music" If your child can fly on that long a flight and not be a screamer more power to you. Most youngsters have difficulty clearing their ears during take-off and landings which contributes to their discomfort. I would not give a child that young any drugs unless I had the approval of his doctor. I stay in B&Bs when I travel and I do notice that most of them do not allow guests younger than a certain age. Be sure to check that out with any B&B you might consider. Happy travels.

Posted by
34 posts

travelled all through europe with a 3 year old boy and had the time of our life!!! be sure to take one of the cheapest, smallest umbrella strollers. a little one causes you to stop by naptime but he had fun chasing pigeons in st marks square, in barcelona at gaudi park...in fact he has pku so is on a very restictive diet but it worked out fine. one thing we did find invaluable was one of those heaters for doing tea in a cup...was great for making quick soups for him. granted there were 3 adults with the one kid so it did free up 2 for sight seeing and the other one for sitting at the playground with him but it was fun. he is 8 now and even remembers things we did in europe. spent 5 weeks there. he loved the trains.

Posted by
10344 posts

Teri (above post) mentions the heating coils for heating beverages in a cup: very handy, but make sure you read the directions and don't even think about plugging it in with the coil not immersed in the fluid--I made that mistake, it instantly fries the coil.

Posted by
11450 posts

Terri , you mentioned going with three adults, so did you take your mom??

Posted by
800 posts

Just to clarify - if my choice was not traveling at all versus traveling with a 2 year old, I'd certainly take the latter. I did travel with kids when they were 2 including coast to coast flights. They were not fun but it was "worth it" to see family. We also did 6-9 hours drive in a car. Again, not fun at all, but something I'm willing to do again with my granddaughters so it wasn't all that bad.

But, if it is an option for you at all, I'd leave your son at home. My son & wife left their toddler at home with grandma and had a short break in London. I'm encouraging them to go again and leave the girls (now 3 & 1) for a week or so. It is good for them to get away as a couple with young children. I really enjoyed the 3 trips I took with my husband while leaving the kids at home.

Best thing is when all of sudden the kids become VERY travelable - for us it was when my son was 5. Staying up late, getting off schedule - none of it mattered. I'm not sorry that we waited.

Posted by
206 posts

The other posters have brought up some very good points. In addition, you might consider what your son would get out of the trip. Probably not much.... No offense, but he won't remember it for long. Really, do any of us remember where we went when we were toddlers? I don't although my mother seems to think I do! "Remember when you were three and you didn't like Santa Claus?" etc. ;-) Anyway, best of luck on your trip, whatever you decide. Maybe it will be like a "second honeymoon". :-)

Posted by
4 posts

You have all made some great points and given my husband and I a lot to think about. I guess when it comes down to it, we would be traveling more for our sake then for his, since he's so young. And as far as leaving him with relatives, that would be feasible for maybe a day, but not a week and certainly not more. We have considered taking my sister-in-law with us so she could do some babysitting nights and give us a break. But yeah, we should probably wait until the potty training is assured and do some domestic travel in the interim. Thanks to everyone for your input.

Posted by
10344 posts

Maggie: Thanks for updating us on your decision.

Posted by
11798 posts

The child will be a great conversation starter with the locals.

The travel may throw off sleep patterns and potty training efforts for quite awhile.

Eventually your child will get cranky, hungry and/or tired. Have a plan B handy for dropping what you are doing and getting some rest, food or just a change of scenery.

I wouldn't do it mainly because the child won't remember it and you'll have spent a lot of money and effort bringing him.

Posted by
5 posts

Dear Maggie,
I am a mother of a 22 month old and we are planning a trip to Ireland next fall. I have also raised 3 other children. So here are my thoughts. Be flexible and go for it!
It maybe challenging at first but kids are so adaptable and will learn how to travel with many trips and lots of experience. If you are good parents with good parenting skills don't let a few set backs discourage you. GOOD PARENTING SKILLS IS A MUST!
Now as far as the comments made on how it will not benefit your child and how he won't remember anything...give me a break. For one thing you will remember.Children seldom remember those early years but does that mean we shouldn't provide rich experiences, no. All their experiences good and bad, remembered or not, make them who they are. Who you are and how you live your life has an even bigger impact. So be adventurous parents and give your child the chance to understand (maybe not now but later through your stories)the importance of living big.
I don't understand the importance of being out of diapers?

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks for your input! Very encouraging. He's not in diapers, that's the problem. He's in between - he has learned that diapers are only for sleeping (when I foolishly thought that potty training wouldn't take FOREVER) and is in underwear. He hates wearing diapers unless he's going to bed, so I have to have quick access to toilets when the need arises, and he often has accidents in his pants. I clean a lot of underwear...so that would be tough on the road. But I am hoping that will be MUCH better by spring, which is when we were hoping to travel. Your comments are much appreciated, and I think we have pretty good parenting skills. We are very committed to being flexible for good experiences w/our son, no matter where we are and what we're doing.

Posted by
87 posts

I read the "take your kids to europe . . ." as something to read from the library. It was how I came upon Rick Steves and this website. I found it helpful when our trip became a reality.

Posted by
5 posts

Hi Maggie. You got me thinking since you and your husband love to travel and so do many other young parents, write a book in a few years about your experience. We would love to learn from your travel experience just as we do from Rick Steves. He has very little regarding travel with children. Many young parents today have the travel bug and don't want to stop after children. Grandparents don't understand and don't have a reference to advise from. So be a reference to all of us wanting to travel with our children to exotic places, not Dysneyland.
I do hope you go on your trip with your son and create wonderful memories.

Posted by
808 posts

I think that was a great suggestion from Nan! Or maybe even post your own blog as you go! That might be interesting!

Posted by
4 posts

Oooo, intriguing. I've always loved writing in one form or another. Here's the link to our last Ireland trip when I was pregnant, nearly 3 years ago. Much of it is written in response to family member comments and a few inside jokes (Alpacas), but there are some fun vid clips there among other things.

www.jakeandmaggie.com/ireland

(Oh, that photo of my husband! He has since lost 40 lbs and gotten a haircut. See us recent photo at www.jakeandmaggie.com)

Sorry to go on and on for those not interested in so much detail.

Posted by
9363 posts

Nan, that book has already been written. "One Year Off: Leaving It All Behind for a Round-the-World Journey with Our Children" by David Elliot Cohen gives a vivid account of what it's like to travel with kids.

Posted by
5 posts

The book looks great! Thank you for the tip. I order it and pre-ordered "Take your kids to Europe 8th, How to travel safely (and sanely) in Europe with your children." It looks like this is updated yearly and has current information. The reviews by readers was excellent. I've seen several books (many written several years ago) on traveling with children but few for under five. Many parents are wanting to travel sooner with younger children (especially with one child) and it would be nice to get more updated info simular to Rick Steves. Hotels, Cribs available, what to take and what to buy when you get there, resturants & boosters, tips on kid friendly travel, car, train, ships, best times to travel, less crowds, weather considerations...
Sorry about the length of this but I too need as much info on these topics as Maggie. Maybe we just learn as we go because every child, country, and situation will be different.

Posted by
11 posts

It's been 29 yrs now but we spent 3 weeks in England and Scotland with our 2 yr old (I was about 5 months pregnant with the next one). We had a wonderful time and it's not just old memories. We spend some time with family and friends but also stayed in B&B accomodations. Usually about 4:00 he collapsed and we sat in park while he napped. Whereever we went he charmed people who enjoy children. The only problem I remember was his chasing pigeons and an elderly lady who was feeding them appearing unhappy. We missed the theatre and pubs but had a zillion other great experiences. We've been back many times but that trip was as much fun as any other. Vicki