I was talking to a friend of mine last week, we met at college whilst studying in Melbourne 15 years ago.
Lots has changed for us in this time: Marriage, mortgages, kids. One thing that hasn’t changed is that we still love to travel. The adventure. The stories. The culture. The food. We’ve had kids, but that underlying yearning is still there.
We always said we would travel with kids. That it couldn’t be that hard. We were both wrong and right: having kids is hard!
Travelling with kids is no harder than just the having kids part.
*Kate* asked me what I thought about the idea of taking her family (including a 4yo and 2yo) to South East Asia rather than to Noosa for a holiday this year. I could hear in her voice that she had itchy feet. She asked two questions in particular that resonated with me and is something that my husband and I asked ourselves before our first trip with Issy, as I am sure you have too!
“Is it worth it?” Worth the planning, packing and logistics.
“Do you get to experience the culture?” The food, the people, the places.
My answer to these questions a resounding ABSOLUTELY.
Here are 5 reasons that travel with young kids is worth it.
Just that. Having time slow down. Nowhere to be. No agendas. Time to be present… except of course for those deadlines that just have to be met in airports! Time on holidays is always slower, time in South East Asia (or any developing country) is in its own category all together. Timetables appear to be fluid, restaurant hours also… as are those for itineraries and anything else that you organise. The benefit being that you, and your children are challenged to just roll with it, go with the flow and trust in the experience
2) The people.
Connecting with people, with families and communities is one of life’s most precious experiences…and traveling with children is a catalyst for connecting. Traveling with young children seems to break down any cultural barriers, they are disarming and locals will be drawn to engage with you all. You will be invited into homes, experience generosity, have your children entertained whilst eating a meal and be asked if people can take a photo of you – rather than the other way around.
3) The stories.
Isn’t this why we all travel? For the moments and memories that we experience and create. The best stories are always the ones where something went wrong, and with 2 or more kids in tow this is a sure thing. Add in the logistics that go with traveling with young children through time zones, airports, language barriers, differing currencies and sub-optimal water quality (try explaining to a two year old why they can’t open their mouth in the shower!) and you have the perfect recipe for stories for years to come
4) Building resilience – yours mostly!
On our last trip to Vietnam, Isabelle managed to sleep for less than 5 hours over a 24 hour period in transit – she happily bounced along whilst both her dad and I tried to keep our eyes pried open. The only time she became upset – when we tried to make her sleep. The traveling, driving, flying, taxiing to your destinations are only one of the elements that will build yours and your child’s resilience. You will also need to deal with the jet lag, embrace starting your day at 4 am (if you’re luck) – it’s a beautiful time to be wandering the streets And drinking up the experience. The inevitable tantrums are bound to appear (equally at home) over a sandwich being cut the “wrong way” or the cheese being “not the same” – things that we might go out of our way to avoid at home – but we would probably agree that challenging our children to try new things and helping them to experience things done differently will help them build resilience in the future …………….And of course
5) The food.
Because even if your kids continue to survive off bananas, boiled eggs and smoothies you still have a smorgasbord of amazing dishes to experience at every meal and who knows – they may even try the noodles, the omelette or even a rice paper roll.
So there you have it, the top 5 reasons that make travel worth it with kids.
How about you? Is there anything you would add to this list?