Today’s interview is from Erin Tullius of Gypseekers.com. Erin just returned from an 8 month RTW trip with her husband and 5 year old son. But their adventures are far from over… follow them on the blog, twitter, or facebook.
What was your travel style like before you had children?
Before my husband and I were married, I studied abroad in college and worked for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines so that I could travel and work simultaneously. After we were married and running our own business, we took several weekend trips throughout the year and 1-2 big trips per year. We kept up the 1-2 trips per year after our son was born. He was on his first plane well before his first birthday.
What ages were your children when you started travelling with them?
See above…but I think he was about 6 months old.
Why did you decide that exposing your children to travel was important?
I don’t know that we thought about it that way at first. Travel was just a way of life for us and we continued to do it after he was born. Now that he is older (5), I realize just how important it has been for his development to be exposed to different cultures, languages, people and lifestyles.
What is your travel style now that you travel with children? How did it change from before you were a parent?
We have just returned from an 8-month round-the-world adventure. It was the kind of travel I had always wanted to do, but never thought possible. Even though I had been exposed to the idea of work and travel combined, I didn’t feel like we could leave our business for any length of time. Even though our travel style has changed, I don’t think our son was the catalyst. Now however, we move slowly and bring more snacks.
What has been the most difficult thing about travelling with children?
Traveling with children is not for the faint of heart. My son had a major meltdown on the streets outside the Vatican that my husband and I refer to as “The time an alien took over our son.” It was horrid. Of course, their slower pace sometimes mean you miss the train or you carry them. And if you’re budget travelers, be prepared to spend many nights with their feet in your ribcage while you share a bed.
What has been the most rewarding part of travelling with children?
I was sitting in the car waiting for my husband with my son in the backseat. We had been on Mallorca (Spain) for two weeks. All of a sudden, I heard him counting…in Spanish! Children are sponges, and the more you saturate them, the more they will soak up. He learned about Vikings in Norway while we saw the viking ships. He learned about artists like Gaudi and Dali while visiting their museums. He learned about Taiwanese food while eating at the night markets. He learned about kangaroos while petting one in Australia. He learned how to solve problems by watching us on the train platforms trying to find our way. He learned tolerance and acceptance by living with people of other cultures and beliefs. The rewards are endless and I am certain we will realize, as time goes on, just how much he has learned.
What is your favourite travel memory of travelling as a family?
There are so many, but one of my absolute favorites was dancing at the Magic Fountain in Barcelona, Spain. The joy in my son’s eyes while we got soaking wet and danced the night away filled my heart to overflowing.
According to your child, what is their favourite part about travel?
According to your child, what was their favourite place you have travelled as a family?
All of them!
According to your child, where in the world do they most want to travel to next?
China…but maybe in 60 more sleeps (he is happy to be “home” for the moment)
What tips would you offer parents when it comes to travel with children?
Go slow, allow for extra time, and ALWAYS, and I mean ALWAYS travel with snacks.
Are there certain destination or holiday types you would recommend for parents travelling with children?
Tyler loves the ocean (and so do we), so Fiji was amazing. People are very welcoming and accepting of children. Barcelona also has so many activities for children. Public transportation is easy and inexpensive and kids are treated with kindness and respect. Just be prepared to keep them up late if you are going out to dinner!
And finally – what are you upcoming travel plans?
After 8 months on the road, we have chosen to settle for a bit in San Diego. The “plan” (and I use that term loosely) is to use San Diego as a home base and travel from here. In October, we head to Buenos Aires and are hoping to include a few other South American stops.