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How These Parents Quit Their Jobs to Travel the World — With a 1 Year Old!

Annie Gabillet

Megan Fraley and her husband, Steven, always loved to travel. Over a couple glasses of wine, they’d even dream about quitting their jobs to see the world. For a long time, nothing ever came of it. But like many people who share the fantasy, the idea stayed with them. When they finally decided to make the jump, they had a baby in tow.

Somewhat unexpectedly, it was the birth of their son, Charlie, that made them seriously revisit the idea of traveling on a full-time basis. While we might think of early parenting days as a time to stay home and nest, Megan and her husband were ready to fly the coop. “As first-time parents who had previously spent the majority of our disposable income on travel and food and drink experiences, we quickly realized that things were changing. And changing fast,” Megan told us, as we caught up with her during her adventure, which you can follow on their Instagram, @passport_parenting.

“We believe that life is short and you should do everything in your power to maximize the experiences you enjoy.”

They loved parenting and planned for more kids, but they also didn’t want to lose sight of their priorities and passions as a couple. “We decided to sit down and have a serious discussion about what this might look like,” Megan explained. After a couple months of research and planning, they got to a place where they both felt comfortable and incredibly excited about the decision. “We believe that life is short and you should do everything in your power to maximize the experiences you enjoy. What better way to do that than with your husband, nine-month-old son, and a few too many bags?” Ultimately the decision was simple. They knew they’d regret it if they didn’t fulfill their dream. “We weren’t interested in that.”

Today, they’re on a months-long trip that will take them from Maui to the Mediterranean, with stops in countries like Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, England, Denmark, and more on the way. Charlie, who was nine months when the journey began, will soon have more stamps on his passport than many people get in their lifetime.

Courtesy of Megan Fraley

Challenges of Long Travel With a Baby

When we asked Megan to describe the biggest challenge of traveling with a baby, she said she hadn’t quite anticipated it. “Without a doubt it’s been the lack of routine for Charlie,” she said. One of the best things about traveling as an adult is that it breaks up your routine, even if that’s tiring. But for babies, new time zones, hotels, Airbnbs, and sleeping arrangements can mess up the delicate balance needed to keep them happy. Throw in a lack of consistent nap and feeding times, and you have a new set of travel challenges beyond carrying around a car seat and stroller.

A packing decision also added a challenge: “Because we chose not to travel with our travel crib, the sleeping arrangements have been somewhat difficult,” Megan admitted. “Charlie has been sleeping in something different in every city we have been, and in the case of Kyoto in bed with us. Not ideal at all!” Megan said the easy solution would be to bring a Pack ‘n Play with you. “Basically, do what you need in order for everyone to get some sleep,” she added.

Tips for Traveling With an Infant

Now that she has a few countries under her belt, Megan has travel tips to share with other parents thinking about international travel with an infant. They include:

  • Be flexible with naps. If you can tell your kid is tired, bring him back to the hotel for proper sleep, instead of assuming he can get a nap in the carrier.
  • Always have a bottle and basic snacks handy. Megan buys fruit from local vendors or carries bread and yogurt when possible. She also bought individually packed peanut butter servings from home for when raw tuna or mysterious street food are the only options.
  • You don’t need to pack diapers, but do bring wet wipes! Megan said she can find diapers everywhere, including Southeast Asia. Wet wipes on the other hand have proved to be the most important thing they brought besides her “two breasts,” she joked. Speaking of breasts, she’s also happy she brought her breast pump with her.
  • Go with the flow. Unlike before, Megan and her husband aren’t planning their daily itineraries or making reservations for every meal. Instead they are traveling the way they would now recommend everyone travel: without too many plans.

Courtesy of Megan Fraley

The Benefits of Traveling With a Baby

“There are certain things that people in every country and society are passionate about, and one of those things is children,” Megan explained. She told us that having a young child while traveling is a great way to meet the locals and gain a different perspective on their culture and ideals. “I don’t know how many times we’ve been stopped so that someone can take pictures of Charlie or have a chance to shake hands with him. This has given us the opportunity to interact with locals on a more intimate level.”

“Traveling around the world has provided us the opportunity to learn so much more about each other.”

In addition, it’s helped Megan connect more with her son and husband. “Traveling around the world has provided us the opportunity to learn so much more about each other, both good and bad,” she admitted. She and her husband are now grateful for the simpler things in life, like spending time together, gaining new perspectives, and watching Charlie take it all in along the way.

Courtesy of Megan Fraley

Don’t get her wrong: traveling with a child certainly presents unique challenges. But Megan believes it is manageable as long as you’re flexible and willing to do it. “We hope to share our experiences and help encourage other families with young children to travel,” she said. For Megan, it seems that all too often people have children and delay any further travel until their kids are older. “I’m not sure if it’s because they think it is too difficult to travel with young children or if it simply isn’t worth the trouble. But with a little planning and preparation it’s totally doable.” They wouldn’t change their decision to travel early and often with baby Charlie. “It’s something that we love to do, so Charlie will love it too.”