Happy Birthday to Us! Have Baby Will Travel Is a Teenager!
Setting out to create the baby travel website I was looking for…
The very first trip we took with our daughter feels like a lifetime ago. But our
memories are as vivid and fresh as the blue of the Caribbean Sea and the breeze off of Varadero Beach. My husband and I loved to travel prior to becoming parents, and had great memories of family vacations growing up. It was a goal of ours to continue traveling as our family grew.
As my year-long maternity leave was wrapping up, we planned a vacation to Cuba with our daughter, who was just shy of her first birthday. As an “older” mom who’d read everything I could get my hands on, I was certain of an easy birth and a regimented baby schedule that would allow me to become the chill, easygoing mom with a chill, easygoing baby. I know there’s a saying about best laid plans or something along those lines….
Why the need for a baby travel website?
Remember that chill, easygoing mom with a chill, easygoing baby? Turns out I actually got a pretty chill baby.
But I was anything but an easygoing mom.
This was something I couldn’t predict. And it’s one of those things you won’t realize until you have your first child. In hindsight I’m relieved I had an easy baby (and then another one!) because I’m not sure how I would have managed if I didn’t. My need to control my environment made it tough for me to leave the house. I had no idea how we’d manage to leave the country.
Because I wanted to travel so badly, I turned to the internet to find information on traveling with a baby. At the time, there wasn’t much. And what there was certainly did not support the idea of traveling with a baby. It was either written by folks who clearly no longer had babies. Or, it was negative, as in, “Why on Earth would you want to travel with a baby?” The general line of thinking was that your kids would have a much better time staying with Grandma. And that you would have a much better time without your kids.
So I had the idea of creating a baby travel website that would have practical first-hand tips from parents about traveling with a baby, and would highlight baby-friendly destinations, accommodations, and attractions.
Have Baby Will Travel Was Born!
My mat leave was wrapping up and I wasn’t entirely thrilled about returning to work, but I had a bee in my bonnet about this website idea that wouldn’ t let up! Luckily, I had that easy baby who was in bed asleep by 7pm, so we actually had our evenings free. I gathered and created the content, my husband learned Dreamweaver, which is a now-obsolete website building program, and the very first iteration of Have Baby Will Travel was launched from our basement.
I had no idea what I was doing.
Now, I realize that’s a blessing! I’ve had about a million other website ideas whirling around in my head since that have yet to come to fruition because now I know just enough to fret about the details.
What I Set Out to Do…
I broke down traveling with a baby or toddler into four main aspects: Eating, Sleeping, Playing, and Getting Around. But I believe that first-time parents and parents in the throes of babyhood and toddlerhood really want (and need) to hear first-hand stories from others in the same boat.
It’s obviously been a long time since I’ve been the parent of a baby or toddler. But I’m not that far enough removed that I don’t remember what it’s like. And since I’ve made this website my baby, I’m always focused on new and evolved ways of traveling with kids of all ages. These days I publish stories from anyone who’s willing to write about their experiences and share them with me. And I manage the ongoing evolution of information about baby travel gear, as well as destinations and accommodations. It’s still very much a work in progress!
The Evolution of Have Baby Will Travel
Eventually, I had a my (amazing!) graphic designer friend mock up a new logo. I LOVED my plane and reluctantly updated it a couple of years ago (same friend!). But over the years, with looks and layout and build, it’s been difficult.
Over the years I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I’ve also done a lot of things right. The content side of this website is something that comes easy to me, but I struggle with the technical details. Because I finally figured out tracking, I know we’ve helped millions of parents plan trips with their babies and toddlers. I try to focus on that instead of the millions more I might have helped if I knew what I was doing from a technical standpoint.
I’ve had the privilege of working with some amazing companies and agencies who represent brands that support travel with babies, and toddlers: Disney, Beaches, Club Med… I’ve also developed true friendships and enjoyed great relationships with the many tourism reps and writers I’ve met along the way. At one point I even became a real travel agent! (I still have my TICO certification). And, thanks to Have Baby Will Travel, my career has evolved in ways I could never have imagined.
Prior to developing this site I worked in TV. Now I have a career that touches all media platforms–video, digital, and even print. My “day job” is Editor in Chief for Bell Media’s Movie Entertainment magazine. I’ve learned so much from all the work I’ve put in here and I’m still excited about what the future holds!
What’s Next for Have Baby Will Travel?
There’s still a lot of work to do here terms of organizing and updating all of the content and also updating the design and the technical back-end. I’m developing a “sister site,” Have Kids Will Travel , and playing with making videos for my kids’ YouTube Channel, Reviews for Kids. It’s all very much a work in progress, since I also have a full-time job.
Over the years I’ve had two serious offers to buy Have Baby Will Travel. But I was always afraid it would turn into something I don’t want it to be. It may take me longer to get there, but my vision here is pure and my “why,” first and foremost, is not to make money. It’s to help.
Greetings from Lockdown 🙂
Right now we’re on month two of the COVID-19 lockdown, with no travel in sight. I got married during SARS and we did travel during the H1N1 pandemic, but this is nothing like anyone could have imagined.
We’re a busy family and I’m itching to travel again. It’s tough because we don’t even know if that will even be a possibility for as long as a year or more! I suppose that gives me some time to make those fixes and changes here, since helping new parents plan those adventures truly gives me joy. And I’m certain there are future adventures to be had.
Have Baby Will Travel‘s mission is to inspire, motivate, and help families travel with babies, toddlers, and young children. Entering adolescence feels like the perfect time to grow and evolve into adulthood and the future. Please connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram! I love to hear all about your upcoming adventures and to share any advice I can give.
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