Amsterdam with a nearly 3 year old?

My husband has a conference in Amsterdam every September and wants me and our daughter, who will be nearly three, to come. He has to work 3 full days (8am-8pm), and 3 half days (where the other half of the day we could tag along on a work outing like a boat trip or something), and we can extend the trip before or after the conference. The hotel will be paid for, but we'd have to pay for the extra plane tickets from SF. At first I thought it'd be doable and fun (bike rides with daughter, playgrounds, naps in the hotel room, etc) but now that I know how much he'll need to work, I feel like that much time being a solo caregiver in a new place will be too much. For reference, 6 days with my daughter without daycare would be stressful and lonely for me even at home. Previously I was more excited about this trip and started getting our daughter's passport application ready, located playgrounds in the city, etc, but now I'm feeling stressed about it. We haven't bought any tickets, so no harm in deciding not to go, but I'm kind of disappointed in myself in not thinking I can handle this.

  • Cathy
    May 13

    I took my almost 2 year old to Amsterdam last year with my husband. Between the horrible plane ride, time change and just it being different - I would never, ever, ever do it again until he was at least 5 or 6 years old. And I had my husband and his sister around. No freaking way.

  • Anonymous
    May 13

    We went on a trip to Amsterdam with my niece who was 1 at the time and my other niece who was 3 at the time. There are a lot of kid friendly activities. The zoo there is incredible and worthwhile

  • Anonymous
    May 13

    Here’s my experience: I have a 1.5 yo & 3 yo and we’ve been abroad at least 4 times since my first was born. I’ve done a lot of cross-country and international flights solo with them too. Time zones are tough, having so much solo time will be challenging, but overall the experience will be priceless and worth it. She’s young but she will understand so much and learn so much from the experience. They always do better out of the hotel than sitting around. Plan activities and have a loose itinerary before hand, but be flexible because it will change. I repeat, it will change. Food is always a distraction, especially trying something new. She’ll be tired, you’ll be tired, but just have an easygoing attitude and let things go that won’t matter tomorrow, so to speak. You have this great opportunity to invest very little on an amazing trip, you really should take advantage! Oh and btw- you can handle this, give yourself more credit and don’t overthink it! It won’t be perfect but it will be fun! Best of luck!

  • Anonymous
    May 14

    Is there anyway little girl can stay with grandparents for a week and you go with your husband alone? I think it’s totally doable and amazing family memories BUT time change alone is a huge challenge for little ones who don’t quite understand.... however, it will be nice you can tend to that, no rushing around and you can let her nap/adjust as needed. If it’s going to be 5-6 days I say no, if it’s going to be over a week I say yes. Look up the bucket list family on Instagram, they travel the world with three little kids!

  • Andrea
    May 14

    It depends on the kid. We've traveled a ton internationally with our now three year old. The time changing sucks, but be flexible and you can deal with it. Set some goals, not plans, and be happy when they happen :) There's a ton of great museums, parks, and playgrounds. Bring a stroller for napping and stay out of the hotel as much as you can. Check for Facebook groups for international moms in Amsterdam and ask about things to do during your travel dates. These kinds of groups can be priceless for finding one time events for kids at museums, etc. If your kid is generally easy going and you can manage not to be too nervous, this can be a trip of a lifetime for both of you!

  • Sara
    May 15

    One thing I did when traveling with my husband and 2 kids for work (I was the one working and he was watching the kids) is we got him a babysitter to be with him and the kids 2 of the days. This was not a babysitter we knew in advance so we didn't feel comfortable leaving the babysitter alone with the kids, but it was great for him to have a "mother's" (father's) helper for 2 days when I was busy at my conference all day. Sometimes hotels are connected with babysitting agencies and are a good place to start. This could help by giving you a little break (even if you're with them, you can have someone else entertaining your daughter for some amount of time). That said, you know your limits and your kid the best of anyone. If you think this trip would be exhausting and not enjoyable, then don't feel bad about not going. It will only get easier to travel together as a family as she gets older and it's not even like this is a free flight which is one of the most expensive parts of international travel.

  • T
    Friday

    Life is all about experiences imo. Take the trip, it’s only as bad as you make it. My 14yo is going to Paris for two weeks in July. I’m also island hopping with my 4yo and 13yo this summer.

  • Leelee
    Friday

    Yes yes yes! Unless you NEED some couple time, take the kid! They may not remember the experience, but they're going to remember all the stories you'll tell about it later. We take our 4 year old everywhere. She's been to Fiji at 2.5 and she had the BEST time! She's been to Mexico multiple times and we're headed back in a week. I think it's amazing to have the ability to travel with your kids! My parents always took us on vacations around the states and Canada,and it's my favorite memories from childhood.

  • Jenny
    Friday

    I wouldn't do it. If he was doing all half days I would say maybe but 3 full work days (8-8) means you're completely solo those days. Even on the half days you're tagging along on work outings. I realize some people are totally down with travelling to new countries with their kid and look at it as an adventure but I just see a jet lagged toddler and a tired mom.

  • Venetia
    Friday

    Travelling international isn’t easy and it really up to you to determine if that is worth it. It also depends how comfortable are you with travelling. All kids are different, my LO only jetlags a day and is fine after and is totally adaptable. I have done 18hr flights... had a flight get cancelled on us. I disagree that they are “too young to remember it” If you do decide to go ahead with it, just go with the flow!

  • Molly
    Friday

    Traveling around Europe with my then 2.5 year old was awesome! There were painful parts (time change adjustments) but generally it was so fun. Challenging, exciting, and I would most definitely do it again. I did have my partner with me, and if you don’t generally spend time with your kid alone and when you do it makes you lonely, then maybe it’s not right for you. BUT it could be a great bonding experience for you and you’d find a way not to be lonely in the company of your child.

  • JM
    Friday

    I think it really depends on the child. Is your child okay with being woken up in the middle of nap or have somewhat irregular sleep schedule? Does he/she sit still in a car/plane for longer periods of time with entertainment? Is your child a picky eater or willing to try new foods? All of these little things can determine whether the trip will be fun and exciting, or miserable and not worth it. My daughter is 4.5 years old and we have been to Mexico, Colombia, Germany, Belize, Jordan, Lebanon and soon Japan with her. There are certainly compromises that my husband and I have to make in order to make it work with a toddler. But we will continue to take her everywhere. Even though she doesn't remember every detail of every trip, but once in a while, she will bring up memories she has from a trip and that makes it all worthwhile. Also it does get easier as the child starts getting used to the rhythm of traveling and knows what to expect. Happy traveling!