This week’s travelling with children interview come from Erin from Travel With Bender. Follow their adventures at their travel blog, or drop them a line on twitter, facebook, pinterest, youtube, or get regular updates from signing up for their newsletter.
What was your travel style like before you had children?
I traveled before children and even before a husband. Basically I moved country from Perth to London and did small trips around Europe from there, mainly organised tours or with friends. Once I was married our travel style was very “touristy”. We travelled on birthdays, anniversaries and wherever we could fit it in until 2007 when we took 7 weeks off and travelled around the world. We did over 6 countries in those 7 weeks and over 16 flights. It was fast and furious and fun! All of a sudden we were travelling whenever we could. We would stay in hotels for a few days and visit the whole area until it was time for the next destination. We moved fast and saw a lot.
What ages were your children when you started travelling with them?
Our first-born was 6 weeks when we took her 3 hours drive south of Perth for a getaway. She had her first flight at 9 months, then again at 10 months. My son was 5 months on his first international flight.
When we commenced permanent travel my daughter was 3 and my son just turned 2.
Why did you decide that exposing your children to travel was important?
It wasn’t really a conscious thought, it was more of a ‘we did not want to stop because we had children’. And as they came along and experienced places with us we realised that they were getting just as much out of it, if not more than we were.
They were learning languages, seeing new sights, trying new food and most importantly they were spending quality time with us continuously.
What is your travel style now that you travel with children? How did it change from before you were a parent?
Our travel style is much slower now. We still like to visit a lot of places, but instead of days we spend months. This allows us to keep the kids rested and the business running. We can have a day of napping and couch time in between seeing sights and enjoying culture.
We also spend less time in hotels. Most hotels don’t offer the space we like so we started using AirBnB and holiday apartments for our journey. We usually get 2 to 3 bedrooms, as well as a pool, gym, playground, cleaner, wifi, etc. It’s actually, often better than hotel travel.
What has been the most difficult thing about travelling with children?
Fitting in naps & just stopping. Sometimes when you are out you just want to go, go, go. If you are at Disneyland you want to spend every moment walking and riding and staying all day. With toddler’s you can’t. They need breaks, they need food, they need the toilet and they need a sleep. Curbing the way we use to travel is certainly a learning curve.
I tell you what else is difficult – Potty Training!
What has been the most rewarding part of travelling with children?
Spending time with them. And quality time where we are out experiencing nature, trying food, not just staying at home doing “life”. I must say also the learning. My 3 year old can count to ten in 3 different languages now and my 2 year old is almost there too. They are learning without even trying and I love it.
What is your favourite travel memory of travelling as a family?
So far on this 120-day journey it would have to be Boracay. Life was just working so well there and it was beautiful. We would wake up and do some work while the kids ate breakfast, watched TV, read & then about 10am head to the beach, which was steps away. We would swim, play in the sand, read, build sand castles, take a walk. Usually the kids were asleep before we even got back so it gave us chance to work some more. Then when they woke we would walk down the beach towards town for dinner and people watching. I will always treasure this memory. It was so simple and we bonded so well.
According to your child, what is their favourite part about travel?
I’ll try and ask my three year old – Her answers are sweet 😀
Um, maybe, the beach and the sand in my undies. (I think she saw the above picture) haha.
According to your child, what was their favourite place you have travelled as a family?
The playground, indoors and upstairs.
According to your child, where in the world do they most want to travel to next?
A cool playground
What tips would you offer parents when it comes to travel with children?
- Get an iPad with movies and games for flights, honestly we never hear a peep from our children.
- Travel slower, make time in the schedule for naps, days off, nights in.
- Pack light, getting around airports with children who can’t carry their own bag yet and have a tendency to just run is hard work if both parents are loaded with bags.
- Bring a stroller. Sometimes it helps on those days where you just want to keep going and the child can have a nap or sit down.
- Don’t be scared to do it and don’t worry about those who say it’s not worth it. It’s worth every penny.
Are there certain destination or holiday types you would recommend for parents travelling with children?
We have lived in cities, on beaches, in nature huts and in hotels. There is no magical formula it is simply what works best for you and I recommend trying them all. But certainly a beach vacation has most people in high spirits with mum reading, dad surfing and the kids building sandcastles and filling their swimmers with sand.
And finally – what are you upcoming travel plans?
So in the last 120 days we have done – Bali, Singapore, Kuala Lumpar, Kota Kinabulu, Manila, Boracay, Hong Kong & Bangkok. Next is a nice stop in Penang, Malaysia for 2 months with maybe a side trip. After that we have no certain plans, we could be making the long flight to USA or to see family in Israel…. Keep watching the blog we will let you know!