Will kids put a crimp in your travel plans? Are you destined to be trapped in resorts when you really want to be trekking through the rainforest? Will travelling with children be prohibitively expensive? Is it possible to have a relaxing holiday with kids in tow?
If you have young children or are considering starting a family and you’re concerned about these issues, you’re certainly not alone. Questions like these are typical fare on the Kids to Go branch on the Thorn Tree forum. While you will get the occasional naysayer, the replies to queries on the branch are overwhelmingly optimistic, supporting the premise that travel is still possible after children, and that it can be extremely rewarding both for you and your kids.
Lonely Planet founders Tony and Maureen Wheeler took their kids along with them on their travels from a very young age. As Maureen says in the foreword to the new 5th edition of Travel with Children, “Travelling with your children opens up the world to them and gives you a chance to see it again through fresh eyes, and despite the inevitable anxious moments and the sheer hard work involved, I would do it all again.”
Naturally, there are challenges inherent to travel with children, some obvious, and others you might not have considered before:
- When is it safe to start travelling with your little ones?
- Some destinations are more kid-friendly than others, so where should you go?
- What can you do to keep your kids safe while travelling?
- What do you do with those bulky strollers and car seats?
- Do you have to think more carefully about factors like altitude and malaria?
- Should you break up long-haul flights with multiple stops, or just push through?
- Are you mad to consider sleeping in a dorm with a child and possibly disturbing other sleepers?
If you’ve got the travel bug, there are always creative solutions. Some take solo trips while the other partner stays at home with the children, others try to meet up with other travelling families. For single parents the challenges may seem even more daunting, but take some inspiration from these threads about single parents who are going it alone or are looking to team up with others to make travel safer and easier.
If you can master the family holiday, why stop there? Thorn Tree member and travel blogger globalprices recently put together a list of blogs by families on round-the-world trips (discussed on this thread – or jump directly to the list). At the time of this post, there are 79 blogs on the list, and there are undoubtedly more that haven’t been captured yet by the list, not to mention all of the non-blogging families trotting the globe.
If you’re an old hand at travelling with children and you’ve gained the wisdom of experience, what are your top tips for making family travel low-stress, affordable, fun, and rewarding for all?