Traveling the World with Kids
If you’re one of those individuals that think that traveling the world should be accomplished before kids take precedence over your life, you’re probably among many that share that same feeling. When you are single, or in a relationship with no kids, you are free, the world is yours. No scheduling around kids school breaks, no need to limit your vacations to kid friendly places only, and the most important of all, no worrying about the extra money you will spend, because with kids, you’ll be paying for additional airline tickets, hotels with larger rooms (especially when you hit the three kid mark) and budgeting a lot more for food. Panic probably sets in just thinking about it.
But as a parent of three I can honestly say that travel doesn’t have to end with kids, if anything, it will make it more interesting. Of course, your kids are still your number one priority and a lot more thought has to go into it, but plan it right and the whole family will have a great time. To help you, here are a few tips I picked up while traveling as a family with kids.
1. Travel times
You don’t have to wait for spring, summer or winter break to travel. Schools are closed on national holidays, teacher institute days, parent-teacher conference day and some religious holidays as well and if you’re lucky, some of these days might be scheduled back to back. Add the weekend to that and you just got yourself a few days of travel. And because the days our outside of the normal school break times, traveling could be a lot cheaper too. We were able to combine a full week recently and found a direct flight to Beijing with a major airline for half of what the normal price is.
2. Don’t get stuck on one destination
We all have our bucket list of places we want to visit. But our world is so vast and full of beauty, you just need to keep an open mind to see it all. Now that you managed to pull together a few extra traveling dates, it’s time to look for a destination. Check out sites such as Skyscanner and Google Flights that offer the ability to search anywhere in the world for your dates. Grab whatever good deals you find and prepare yourself for the adventure of a lifetime. My family visited places we never thought of, countries that made it on our travel itinerary purely because we took advantage of the flight specials we found on our specific dates.
3. Let kids help with planning
Vacations are about family and to make it successful it has to include something for everyone. Have your kids do some research to find things they would like to do or see once you get there. When you put a plan together, make sure to incorporate their wishes as well. Take into account their food preferences too but don’t neglect yours. You can let the kids choose where to eat lunch while the adults choose at dinner. We try to plan in a way that is enjoyable for every member of the family. We visit war museums for our history child, dedicate a few hours of shopping for our fashion child and spend some playground time with our youngest.
Try to stay close to the center. This way you eliminate travel time between attractions and all the boredom kids will experience from just waiting. Plus you won’t hear the much dreaded phrase of “how much longer ‘till we get there”. Instead of hotels, opt for renting an apartment from sites such as Airbnb and VRBO for the same price of a hotel room or even lower. You will have a lot more space for the family to spread out plus a kitchen where you could serve a few meals thus saving money on food. A washer and dryer would be a bonus too so you can pack lighter and save on luggage fees. The apartment we rented on our last vacation was amazing and the kitchen really did come in handy. Some of our sightseeing tours returned back late into the night and having the full size kitchen to prepare a snack for the kids was a blessing.
There is no right or wrong way to travel and we learn what fits as we go. The one thing that is certain is that adventure doesn’t stop at kids; traveling and exploring new destinations is fun and a great learning opportunity for them. Being exposed to different cultures, languages and foods is eye-opening, and spending time as a family is priceless.
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