Why I Want My Daughter With Down Syndrome To Travel

by Carrie McLaren with 9 comments

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month and as a parent whose daughter has this condition, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share a bit about Molly and how travel has helped her blossom.

We learned of Molly’s diagnosis on June 24, 2010,  the day after she was born. The news came as a total shock to us, as I had a one in 851 chance of a having a child with Down syndrome. At the time, our life came to a screeching halt filled with questions and uncertainties.


Would she ever walk by herself? Feed herself? Would she talk? How would our friends and family take this news? How would this impact our family’s quality of life? Would it keep us from traveling?

So many questions… and honestly, doctors always erred on the side of caution telling us that it was a strong possibility that she’d never do any of those things. But, oh were they wrong!


Molly is a thriving, six-year old that attends a traditional elementary school, loves traveling and meeting new people (She’s a hugger)! Watching her discover new places overwhelms me – her joy and excitement is contagious.

Travel exposes each of us to new experiences and people — and ultimately, that’s what helps us grow. Just because Molly has Down syndrome doesn’t mean she should be limited in her experiences. As her mom, I want Molly to experience things that every other child her age does. From swimming at the pool, to dancing the night away on the dance floor (which she does often) and exploring – I want Molly to do it all.


At times, we’ve had to tweak our traveling schedule or activities — but never has it meant that we wouldn’t travel. I see traveling as a way to expose Molly to new experiences, new people and it allows her to interact with others. Travel is a learning experience.

And most of all — traveling allows others to see people with special needs enjoying the same experiences as *typical* individuals. When those around us are exposed to individuals with special needs — it creates a time of interaction with others. And it often sparks conversations with strangers wanting to share their connection with the special needs community — or just learn more about Molly.


Travel is a constant factor in all of our lives. It makes no difference whether you have an extra chromosome or not. I’m excited to see where our future travels take us and I’m thankful to see the world through her eyes in the years to come too!

What Are Your Thoughts? 


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  • Ann scott

    Molly is an amazing and happy child. She is so blessed to be part of a loving encouraging family! She makes me smile!❤️

  • Becky

    I love seeing this precious girl as she grows and travels! Love your little family.

  • Candy

    Our 17yo has loved to travel from a young age. And we have never let DS stand in the way of a trip. He has traveled across the US via every mode of transportation. He is an amazing traveler. He has also traveled internationally with long layovers in foreign countries. Again terrific. Four years ago Colton traveled independently to visit his cousins in North Carolina. Three years later I’m not even sure at this point how many times he has. Incidentally he has bought those plane tickets with his own money that he has earned from the two paid competitive jobs he holds while attending high school. He has a strong desire to have a place in this world and I have no doubt his early travels played a role. Btw his 5yo sister withou DS has only been on a plane once. She is a horrible traveler. Part of what spurn Coltons first i dependent flight

  • Jeff

    I too have a 10 year old daughter with DS and she has 2 older 12 year old daughters. In addition to that, mom has MS. That has not slowed us down! the girls have all been to 36 states so far and 5 foreign countries. We just did a trip to Australia and New Zealand this summer and MacKenzie was a hit with all the locals. MacKenzie initially struggled to swim. She would hold on to me like if she let go, she would drown. It wasn’t until we found a pool in Sedona that she found a pool with the perfect depth where she could glide off with her noodle on her own that she became independent in the pool (she was 7 at the time). This year, in Australia, the pool she wanted to swim in only had deep water and it had a slide. The only way she could do that slide over and over is that she had to swim independently. She did!
    There are countless ways my family has benefited by traveling together. And all I keep doing is finding a way to make the next one happen.

  • arabiannightsafari

    A excellent post, a superb blog! Excellent luck

  • mover dubai

    Looks realy great! Thanks for the post.

  • Bonnie Saxton

    I have 3 grown daughters with Down Syndrome and they have been to many parts of our wonderful world. Two of these ladies are adopted. Since they were all babies they have been given many life experiences to enhance their growth and abilities. They are all pretty amazing and we have had some incredible experiences. You will have so much fun and I am excited to find your blog.

  • GMG Dubai

    You Looks so cute. I like your all pictures Thanks for the post.

  • Trackbacks

  • Trackback from My 2020 Travel Wish List | Carrie on Travel
    Wednesday, 8 January, 2020

    […] sweet Molly has Down syndrome and I’ve been anxious about flying with her, therefore all of our travels are by car — […]

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