The Top 5 Advantages of Traveling with Kids in Tow…

We could have traveled in our ‘younger’ days, but we never did. Work, mortgages and eventually kids, all became priorities instead.

And yet, here we are, at the grand old age of 36, traveling the world with 2 kids aged 10 and 7.  Despite the incredulity of the youngster travelers we meet, traveling as a family unit has mostly been a great experience. We explained in our previous blog post about some of the perils of traveling with kids, that it’s not all 5-star hotels and sunbathing; but there are lots of wonderful things about family travel.

Here are our Top 5 Advantages of Traveling with Kids:

1. Safety
Somehow, travelling with the kids seems to have given us a bit of an advantage. We have 4 pairs of eyes to watch out for each other and to look after our stuff on planes, trains and automobiles. We generally don’t go out late at night, we don’t get drunk, and as one of the rules in most Asian hotels rooms is ‘Don’t use heroin’, we don’t do that either.

Following Smiles from the localsthese rules means we don’t make ourselves vulnerable to opportunistic danger. Also travelling with the kids really does bring out the kindness in local people- we have never felt threatened, worried or scared, despite using trains at night, visiting a hundred different airports, staying in a whole range of places, regularly travelling on dodgy local buses, eating at a thousand different restaurants and finding ourselves in too many cities, towns and villages to even count. People see us traveling with the kids and always greet us with a smile!

2. Accommodation
We haven’t managed to stay anywhere too grotty (yet!). Traveling as a family unit means we always stay together, and on this basis, its normally cheaper to get a ‘family’ room, opposed to individual ‘dorm’ style beds in a hotel or hostel. This means we have the safety and security of a private room. We also find that most places that offer family rooms, are a small step up from some of the

Mountain View Resort, Koh Tao, Thailand

backstreet places offering cheap single dorm beds, which would probably appeal to us and our budget if we were traveling alone or as a couple.

A secure, private room means we have mostly avoided the whole noisy, drunken 2am coming home from the bar of other travelers; or finding our bed occupied by another person after a busy day out; and the doom of picking a place for the night that turns out to be a bed in someone’s kitchen, out the back, behind a steamy launderette…. We thank you!

3. Finances
Supporting a whole family on the road is definitely much more expensive than just traveling as a single person – there is no doubt about that. Buying four meals, four drinks, and paying for quadruple seats on a bus, plane or train certainly adds up. From a treat night out to see the Circus in Siem Reap, to a ride on the luge in Queenstown, it all has to be multiplied by four. There are definitely things we haven’t been able to do because we just couldn’t afford it: things like helicoptering up to the glacier in New Zealand, a bungee jump, climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and spending some extra time in Australia visiting the Gold Coast will just have to wait until next time.

BUT: the benefits of traveling in our 30’s compared to when we were 18 (even with a family in tow) are numerous. For a start, we had some savings to finance our trip. We also have the advantage of a small rental income from our house back home. Finally, once our adventure is over, we have steady, reliable jobs to return to. This gives us the financial security to know that life will be OK when we get home and we know for definite that we’ll be able to pay the credit card off!

4. Friends and family
When we told people about our plans to travel, so many friends and family members had recommendations for us. They excitedly told us about places we must see, countries we had to visit, experiences not to be missed. Why? Because lots of our friends are lucky enough to be well-traveled themselves. They were fortunate to have done the whole gap-year thing or work abroad placement already, and so they have been there and done that! And now we are reaping the benefits of their experience, which is great. They got to re-live their magical experiences and best memories with us and we got to know where’s good (and where’s not)!

The other great thing about traveling now, is that we have had various friends and family members who over the years have emigrated abroad. Whether they have followed exciting new job opportunities, moved for love or an exciting new life overseas, some of our friends have now settled in far flung places. This trip has been a wonderful reason to go say ‘Hi!’ or “G’day!’and have a long-overdue catch-up. We had great people put us up and make us welcome for as long as we needed to stay, and spending time with them has been one of the best parts of our adventure – reconnecting with people we love.

I think if we had traveled 20 years ago, we certainly wouldn’t have had so many good people to catch up with and make the trip so special.

5. Coming home
Arriving home from the traditional gap year, young people often need to figure out what to do with their lives. This is possibly why they took the trip in the first place! They might not yet have a job. They will probably have to find a place to live. Their friends may have moved away to follow their own dreams. Life has to start from scratch. I feel fortunate that now in our 30’s, we have a lovely home to return to and well-established and long-lasting friends to welcome us home. The kids can’t wait to go back to school. We both have careers that we look forward to resuming, with colleagues who we are excited to work with again.

In addition to all this though, the break we’ve had means that we are going to return as different people. We want to build an even better life back home and hope we get the opportunity to do this. We’ve learnt so much by being away. Our priorities have changed and we have gained new interests. We have made new friends too, who we look forward to seeing again. We want to travel more in the UK too- can you believe we have never visited Scotland or Ireland?! That’s something that needs to change…

Although our flight home will mean the end of this trip, I’m certain that our taste for adventure isn’t going to finish!

3 thoughts on “The Top 5 Advantages of Traveling with Kids in Tow…”

  1. Hi sweetheart.
    These last two posts are exceptional. Worthy of earning you a penny or two to replace your funds I’m sure 😍
    This just demonstrates the clarity of creative and reflective thought that can be achieved without all that disruptive white noise we endure in day-to-day life. Simply wonderful. Be proud. It has helped me understand so well.
    Enjoy the rest of your hols. Stay safe. See you very soon for a good catchup.
    Best love and a big hug
    Jan xx

    1. Thank you Jan! I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed sharing our experiences! Looking forward to seeing you again soon and hearing all the stuff I’ve missed out on back home! X x

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