Is it even worthwhile to travel with a young child to Israel? My answer is YES.
For years I wanted to take my wife to Israel, the top destination on her travel bucket list. Our three-year-old son was inconvenient in the sense that he certainly slowed us down. But it was so precious to have him along with us and I know he will look back on all the pictures I took one day and greatly appreciate this trip.
Every child is different, but don’t expect your young child to absorb the significance of the sites that you will see. Also prepare your child to do a lot of walking or else be prepared to do a lot of carrying.
We chose to leave the stroller behind and found that to be a wise choice. With many stairs and not so many escalators or elevators, walking through Jerusalem and many sites around the country is an absolute must.
Each day was essentially practice. Augustine practiced walking. He practiced being patient by waiting in lines or by being quiet in places deemed holy. Food and rest were spaced out, forcing him to be even more patient.
I don’t think there was any site I saw the entire week that was so kid-unfriendly that I would recommend avoiding it. Quite the contrary, Augustine was welcomed into every place we set foot in.
We avoided fancy restaurants, but even at the places we did stop and eat I did not feel self-conscious about having a young child who wasn’t always perfectly quiet.
Most people were very friendly toward him. In Bethlehem, a man near the Separation Wall instantly endeared himself to Augustine and entertained him for several minutes.
The only explicitly kid-friendly thing we did was take Augustine to Nazareth Village, a recreation of what Nazareth was like 2,000 years. Augustine loved the live animals. This is highly recommended for children.
In short, don’t let a young child or children hold you back from visiting the Holy Land. Yes, you won’t see as much. But we did not tailor the trip around him. On the contrary, we just took him along on our trip. It worked out quite well.