5 Reasons Why Travel with Kids Creates a Better Traveling Experience

5 Reasons Why Traveling with Kids Creates a Better Traveling Experience

Traveling with kids ain’t all bad. Seriously. Take it from us, the good times of exploring near and far don’t have to end once you become a parent (which many people believe unfortunately).

Believe it or not, there are some great benefits to traveling with kids. They force you to evolve your style of travel, and in my opinion, usually for the better.

1. They force you to SLOW down

My number one travel tip I generally give people is to SLOW DOWN and spend more time in fewer places. When you travel with kids, you basically have no choice but to plan for a slower pace than you might usually attempt if traveling solo or as a couple.

They force you to be realistic about what you can and can’t do in the time frame you have. They don’t allow you to cram too much in to your itinerary (if you do you learn that lesson pretty quickly), and for the most part, I recommend you set the pace of your trip to what your youngest child can handle.

Plus, on road trips they force you to build into your agenda time for stops along the way for snack breaks, toilet breaks and play time – often this leads us to stopping at small towns or beaches we would never have visited.

Other benefits of slow travel:

  • You Spend Less Money – the more you move around by taking flights, buses, trains or road tripping the more you spend on tickets and fuel. Too much transport can really eat into your budget.
  • The less you feel you have to see, the more enjoyable and stress-free for EVERYONE.
  • You get to know a region well – instead of racing from one end of a country to another, or tearing through 6 countries in 6 weeks, you’ll get a better feel for a place and learn about the best things to see and do, and build a connection with the locals.
  • Less Burnout – having to pack and unpack, deal with many airports, bus terminals, boarder crossings and even visa issues can lead to burn out.
Jervis Bay, NSW, Australia
Taking it SLOW in Jervis Bay, NSW

2. They force you to MEET PEOPLE

Kids are incredible ice breakers for conversations, and they can be best friends with total strangers within 5 minutes. Us adults, well, we can stand distant from others for hours, even days minding our own business without ever saying hello.

Kids, they just look at each other and they’re off playing like long lost cousins.

When our kids start playing with other kids, of course we then engage with their parents, it’s rude not to right? And it’s an easy conversation starter.

Because of this, we’ve met so many other interesting travelers we may never have had a conversation with, which can lead to friendships or at the very least, the sharing of tips and stories.

Same goes for meeting the locals in foreign countries. From our experience, people just come up to us and start interacting with our kids, and in Asia they steal your babies! Be prepared for your children to be picked up, cuddled, and have photos taken of them in some foreign lands. Breathe, and enjoy the new experience of meeting friendlily strangers.

Grand palace Bangkok
Group photo with some local Thais at the Grand Palace in Bangkok

3. It’s an Excuse to Stay in Apartments

Before kids we never considered staying in apartments as a budget accommodation option. It was mostly cheap hotels or hostels. But now we love staying in apartments, whether it’s inner city or on the beach, and it’s mainly because of our kids we gave them a shot.

Most big-city hotel rooms were not built for families with young kids. They usually have no refrigerator or microwave, floor space is at a premium, and neighbors can hear every tantrum.

But with an apartment you get more space, thicker walls, a kitchen, a washing machine, and separate bedrooms. These extra facilities, especially on a long stay, can make your trip so much more enjoyable. Try it, and even consider sharing a 4 bed apartment with another family to really make it economical.

Kangaroo Valley NSW 003

4. They force you to stay in safe / central locations

When it was just Caz and I, we’d often stay wherever we got the cheapest price, and sometimes those neighborhoods were out of the way or in dodgy locations. Especially creepy coming home late at night.

Now that we have kids we are conscious of staying in a safe, central locationthat’s also close to local attractions, food outlets, the beach, the park, and all preferably within walking distance.

This has a flow on effect of saving us time and money in getting to places, and provides more options for cheap local eats, especially if we’re staying in a hotel or motel as we don’t want to have to eat in their expensive restaurants.

5. They force you to go on ROAD TRIPS

Before we left on our #yTravelOz road trip around Australia, we seriously considered doing a big trip through Asia. That was until we spent 2 weeks in Thailand where the only real option was using public transport to get around the country.

Savannah, at 2 years old, was tough to deal with in Asia and we longed for having our own vehicle and going at our own pace.

Road trips are AWESOME, and especially awesome for families. By having your own vehicle and a place to store your stuff, and you have LOTS of stuff with kids, it makes for a more pleasant experience than having to load and unload everything constantly on planes, trains, mini-vans, tuk tuks, you name it.

And by having the flexibility to stop when you want to stop, to be able to slow down or speed up, or divert from your initial route, is priceless. You can’t do that so much when relying on public transport.

Tasmania 4 069
Road tripping Tasmania

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What other reasons can you think of that’s a benefit of traveling with kids?

 

Craig
Craig Makepeace is the founder of yTravel Blog and has been traveling the world since 2002, first with his wife Caz, and now with his two daughters. Get his free email series on the 4 best ways to reduce travel costs. Follow him on Google+

26 Comments on “5 Reasons Why Travel with Kids Creates a Better Traveling Experience”

  1. Awesome reasons to travel with kids and I think also it forces you to make the most out of living every day, and you have to be in the moment. If you’re not, all hell breaks loose! But seriously, they do open your eyes to all sorts of new things and it’s lovely to see the world through a child’s eyes too.
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    • Absolutely Jo, sometimes we can question what we’re doing, but then we see a smile or hear a laugh from our kids and we are quickly reminded of the fun memories we are creating together.

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  2. Great post! I love the way kids have the ability to infect you with their enthusiasm over seemingly everyday things, an unexceptional view becomes exceptional when your four old begins raving about it.
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  3. Catalin M.

    I think it’s a benefit for kids also. They may learn that there are countries with people talking different languages, eating different meals. They can experience things that you can’t find in your country/city. Shortly, they can learn to become cosmopolitans. These benefits may not be immediately, but the kids will accumulate experience.

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  4. Chris Dobson

    You create life long memories as a family together. On our return we load all our travel photos onto an apple tv and let them run on the screen during family meal times and all ‘guess the place’ and reminisce…. keeps the memories alive with the kids long after the trip has finished.

    Reply
  5. Really, nobody could have thought that way about traveling with kids. Well, if they are sober and obedient, I am fine, otherwise I am the kind of person who gets exasperated with them! I agree with ‘breaking the ice’ part. Kids have the ability to give adults a new, interesting take on everything in life.
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  6. I completely agree with all of these. One that I would add is that kids make you appreciate things about the travel experience that you otherwise might not notice. Last weekend, we spent 4 days outdoors near San Francisco, and experiencing it with them made it so much more special…crossing creeks to look for special rocks, learning to “hike” at age 3, etc. made us fall in love with the area in a way we wouldn’t have otherwise.

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  7. A great post and totally agree with all your points. Whenever I’m in a new place I find my way to where local children are. It’s so easy to start talking to them and finding out more about that new place. They’ll mostly love to tell you everything they know!
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  8. Totally agree with all of these reasons, especially the first one about forcing parents to slow down while traveling. There are so many reasons why traveling with kids is beneficial for parents, and one I’d like to add is that they force you to see the world through their eyes. Kids always have questions about everything and while traveling, these questions help us take the time to reflect and capitalize on the self-discovery that travel magically creates. By being more observant and providing simple answers to kids’ endless questions, we become more mindful of ourselves as well as the world we live in.
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  9. I like the different perspective they bring to what they see! Mine are constantly questioning things which makes me re-evaluate what I think.

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  10. With our 10-month-old, we’re already learning these things, esp the 2-bedroom apartment necessity! Which makes accomm a little more expensive, but definitely more enjoyable–especially for all those nights we’re housebound after 7:30, when he goes to bed. We’re looking forward to traveling a lot more near and far with our little guy!

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  11. Lovely post! Reminded me of my childhood when I used to do such things out of curiosity and also to irritate my parents at times. Thanks! Made me nostalgic :)
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  12. This is a wonderful post!

    We love traveling with our daughter and all the points you talked about are part of what makes that so enjoyable.

    One of the things we love the most about it is that our bond with her grows stronger with all the new things we experience together. Seeing new places, experiencing different cultures, trying new food… all of that helps us grow closer as a family.

    Love the shot of your family in Bangkok!
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  13. My favourite bit is seeing the world through my son’s eyes.
    They are so innocent and take note of little things you just don’t even see.

    It is a joy to travel with kids – who would have thought!
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    Sally@Toddlers on Tour recently posted..When things go wrong.

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  14. When I already had a family of my own .I will definitely bring my kids in my travels.
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    lyn recently posted..Camiguin Island Resort

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  15. Also:
    Just the fun of making memories together, see how they love it and the powerful feeling that you did it!

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  16. For us the biggest benefit is spending family time together. Our lives are so hectic today that we don’t get to spend as much time together as we would like too. Our family vacations solve that problem.
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  17. Wonderful to have found this web site!! I do a lot of road trips here in South Africa with my 1.5 yr old daughter. I’m a single mom and many people ask me: How do you DO it? But I can’t imagine NOT sharing the things I love most with my daughter so I HAVE to travel. And just to see her little face light up with each new boat trip or safari. It is priceless!!

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