Yep. There are a lot of reasons you won’t consider family travel.
I understand all of them and how they make you believe it’s just not the right time for you now and you’ll all enjoy it much more as a family when…
Suzie gets out of nappies.
Tommy learns to walk.
Francois finishes high school.
Kadisha graduates from grade six
and you aren’t so edgy.
Here’s how you can overcome your procrastination to travel anyway and make amazing memories with your kids now before they graduate from high school and won’t want to know you!
9 reasons you won’t consider family travel
1. Lack of freedom
Many people have the misconception that traveling with kids means you lose pursuing your own interests to playgrounds, museums and science centres. No wonder you don’t want to travel with kids. How boring!
However, it’s about creating a balanced itinerary.
Choose the most amazing kid activities that you’ll enjoy too (because if they aren’t amazing the kids will hate them too), build a family passion for activities like hiking and kayaking, and schedule in time for everyone to do their own passion based stuff.
If you participate in high-engaging activities together your kids will love traveling with you and will be more inclined to embrace those quieter more restful experiences like cafe bumming and reading books on the beach.
2. Traveling with kids is too expensive
Yep. So are all the extra-curricular activities your kids do after school and on the weekends. A lot of them they don’t even care so much about, or you can find cheaper alternatives.
Go through your expenses (I did last week and was horrified at all the areas we were wasting money on things that don’t matter) cut them out and then put that money into your savings account for travel.
A couple of other tips to reduce the cost of family travel:
- Choose smart and prepare well.
- Travel closer to home. Shorter getaways can be just as good and cheaper.
- Travel in your own backyard. It’s incredible the new things you’ll discover when wearing a different set of glasses.
- Go camping – cheap, fun, educational and even free in some places.
- Take road trips, especially now that fuel prices are so low. Check out our ultimate road trip with kids guide.
- Travel to the right currency. For Aussies right now, you want to travel in Australia – way more bang for your buck. Forget that overseas holiday, you’re losing 30% of your money just by leaving the country.
- Rent apartments. It’s cheaper and you can cook your own meals and save more money. Plus, you won’t feel so cabin feverish and the need to always be out spending money. You’ll appreciate a night in.
- Do all the free stuff. Nature lends itself to amazing travel experiences and it’s free.
3. They’re too young
Rubbish! No one is ever too young or too old to travel.
I haven’t experienced travel with a child beyond 8 years old, but, based on my experiences, babies are the easiest age to travel with kids. Especially if you are breast feeding.
Savannah was only 8 weeks old on her first international trip to New Zealand. She was an easy traveler!
Mind you, it’s best you are a little flexible and easy going. If you’re so rigid with schedules and routines you’ll fall apart. If that’s the case, family travel period may not work for you.
Travel requires a certain element of flexibility, adaptability and the willingness to go with the flow at any age.
4. They’ll drive me crazy
Savannah drives me insane traveling in the car with her. Within the first 20 minutes of our departure on our 18-month Australian road trip, she was trying to climb out of her car seat and throwing vegemite sandwiches at me. But we survived traveling around the entire country with her!
You can handle more than you think you can.
I managed it because I loved the moments in between. They were filled with so much nourishing bonding time that it made the insanity moments worth it.
“In the middle of all the chaos and mess are little bits and pieces of magic to be savored. Don’t miss them.” – Unknown (click to tweet)
I mean let’s face it, they drive you crazy at home.
That’s why you know they’ll drive you crazy when you’re traveling. The difference is your expectations of travel. You see it as being this amazing relaxing time and you think kids will take that away.
Change your definition.
It’s an experience to share with the only people in the world you can continue to love with such intensity even though they drive you crazy.
Some tips for managing the craziness of family travel:
- Start them early. Train them to be great travelers. Despite Savannah’s car meltdowns, both girls are incredible travelers.
- Start slow. Practice with weekend getaways or staycations your kids. Don’t just launch straight into an epic family round the world adventure if you have no experience traveling together.
- Make it a family affair. Get the kids involved in the travel experience right from the planning stage. It makes a massive difference. You can get access to our free family planning kit to will help you.
Click here access to the free toolkitwith planning worksheets and tasks.
5. They’re in school
I’m probably not the best person to give you advice here as I’ll just say, “Who cares. Take them out!” I don’t have a great opinion of the traditional education system and I believe travel gives our children a much more well-rounded, relevant education and life skills.
However, I do have a teaching degree and 15 years of global experience as a teacher. I’m also very consistent and diligent in ensuring my kids are developing their skills and growing as a person. I love being a guide like this.
It might not be your thing and that’s okay. My girls are also very independent, curious and love learning. It might not be your child’s thing.
It’s all okay as long as you know what works for you best and working around that.
You can always embrace homeschooling or distance education if you want more of a structured framework and guidance for teaching your kids on the road. Or, just plan your travels around school terms and miss a week here and there if you feel comfortable in doing that and won’t end up in prison as a consequence. (apparently that’s a UK thing.)
Consider your decision carefully and make the best decision for you and your circumstances.
You can read more about my thoughts on it on the following:
6. It’s too tiring
Same deal with the driving you crazy. You’re going to be tired anyway managing school, work and general life at home. Might as well make the moments in between great!
- Travel slowly.
- Don’t try and do everything.
- Pick the right travel experience – maybe a cruise, camping trip, or resort stay might be your thing.
- Incorporate special treats for you – spa treatments, babysitter for the evening, kids club.
- Eat a high-energy diet. Not one full of sugar, caffeine and fake energy. A nutritious whole food diet works wonders.
7. They won’t remember it anyway
I know, just like they won’t remember all those loving snuggles you gave them when they were born! Does that mean you didn’t do it every chance you got?
Why? Because you knew it would positively impact their growth and sense of self.
Everything has an impact upon a child, whether they remember it or not. It’s not the checking off the bucket list items that you’re traveling with your kids for. It’s to have memories and moments together!
They might not remember the details, but that sense of freedom, togetherness, joy, and love will forever have an impact.
They’re more in tune with life and I know this well help them grow into more rounded adults. They’ll probably remember a lot more of their childhood if you travel with them then if you didn’t.
Savannah doesn’t remember much of our road trip, but the way it has impacted her growth is enormous. We’ve got photos and videos and shared conversations to help her remember.
8. Too much luggage
Yep. You can work around this though.
- Careful planning so you only take what will make your life easier.
- Travel in a different style – we love road trips because we can carry more.
- Train your children to pack and carry their own luggage. Our girls have been doing it since they could walk. Yep. Check out the video below. Savannah when she was 17 months old traveling to Thailand.
- Only bring one or two toys. Your kids imagination will go crazy off the charts when they learn they only have the world around them to play with.
9. The world’s too dangerous
It sure is scary out there and we’re told on a daily basis why we should feel so afraid to step out of our door.
It’s also magical and offers endless beauty and moments to discover, explore, connect and feel joy. It all depends on what you want to experience.
When I go, whether it’s quietly with age, or prematurely as a result of our dangerous world, I want my final breath to be full knowing that my memories were crammed with experience, joy and freedom. I want that for my children as well. We won’t get that by hiding under the couch in fear.
The strange thing is when you get out from behind the couch and focus on living from the perspective that the world is safe and wonderful, you stop thinking it’s dangerous and you rarely have any experiences to prove you wrong.
Arm yourself with sensibility, tune into the present moment and your intuition, and make smart choices. You’ll be right!
And you will be right. I finish this article at the end of a day when I really needed to lean on my own advice here. It was one of the most draining and crap travel days I’d had with my kids since forever.
They were at each other’s throat all day and so whiny and rude. I was over it. I pouted in the corner with a “F**k this. The US road trip is off. I’m not going to choose to live like this every day for the 2 years. It’s not worth it.”
But then at the end of the day, Kalyra sat on my lap at the restaurant after we had an amazing German meal together. We were chatting and Kalyra was making us laugh with her quick wit. Savannah was curled up beside me on the seat asleep. (divine perfection!) My heart was full and I commented, Gee that was a great meal and an awesome day.
The struggles forgotten about and I was left with only the amazing memories.
Because that’s what travel does – the bad stuff is left as funny stories to tell once you get over it. But the good stuff seeps down deep inside your soul, creates memories and bonds that can’t be forgotten, and forever changes you.