OVERSEAS FAMILY TRAVEL
So you’re thinking about travelling overseas with your children, but not sure if it’s the right thing for you and your family? I understand. It’s a big decision. Some people advise against it. But I believe travelling the world has many rewarding and lifelong benefits for your children. Furthermore, seeing the world together as a family is a privilege to be embraced.
People have been travelling with their children for years and it’s a perfectly normal thing for families to do together. We have loads of awesome memories, photos and videos from 25 years of travelling with our children and totally recommend it, if you have the opportunity. It would be a mistake not to embark on an overseas family adventure at least once.
In this article I will give you 12 reasons why we travelled with kids on overseas vacations. These may help quell your fears and dispel some uncertainty about the benefits and advantages of overseas vacations, so that you will give it a go. Take the plunge. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Right?
Travelling with children can be daunting but when you really want to do something, you just do it.
You have to be organised, research your trip, plan ahead and pack everything but the kitchen sink. Well not quite, but almost. At least that’s what we used to do in the beginning. Then we learned to pack the essentials and the rest can be bought. You know, they have shops in other countries!
But sometimes no amount of planning and research can prepare you for some of the things that happen with young children along the way and you just have to wing it as you go. It just so happens that’s what we parents are good at, isn’t it?
You don’t have to miss out on world travel
The effort is worth it. Having children doesn’t mean you have to miss out on travelling the world.
My husband and I have travelled with our kids since they were babies, all through the ages. We have travelled 4 continents with them – Oceania, Asia, Europe and North America.
Visiting relatives overseas is one of the reasons why we travel as a family. But there are various other reasons for venturing abroad with our children.
Awesome reasons for travelling with children
So, what are the main reasons for taking our children on overseas holidays?
Aside from the fact we would miss them terribly and feel incredibly guilty if we left them at home, and wish they were with us, there are a multitude of other reasons why we have travelled with our children.
I’m going to give you 12 of the best reasons why we travelled with kids, and why you should too.
1. Spend valuable time together
Firstly, travel gives families the opportunity to spend valuable time together away from normal daily routines of school, work and home. Kids often see the best of us when we’re on holidays. We have more time to devote to them and are more relaxed.
2. Children get to see new places
Introducing them to new places and new activities on holidays allows you to see things through their eyes and the joy it gives them. Everything is an exciting adventure for young kids.
3. Build confidence and self-esteem in your children
Travel encourages kids of all ages to get out of their comfort zone and take appropriate risks in life. Travel builds their confidence and self-esteem, as they learn to conquer fears of the unknown and broaden their horizons.
4. Get kids involved in planning
Involving children in the travel planning, where possible, is a great idea, to help foster their enthusiasm about travel, learn about where they are travelling to, and empowering them to make decisions, within reason.
5. Children are able to experience new things
Travel allows kids to experience different things they can’t actually do at home. Like visiting ancient buildings, temples, caves, some of which perhaps don’t exist in their home country.
6. Kids learn about the world first hand
Travel gives kids some perspective about the size of the world, learning about geography, borders, oceans etc., while experiencing these first hand.
7. Kids love visiting famous places
Travelling allows kids to visit famous places they see on tv and in movies and be able to say ‘I’ve been there’.
8. Children get exposure to other cultures
Travel exposes them to other cultures and helps give them a better understanding of the world, and can meet and interact with local people and children.
9. Eye-opening experiences for kids
Having the possibility of travel allows them to be exposed to some of the poverty in the world. A very eye-opening and humbling experience even for children, teaching them compassion for those in the world who are less fortunate.
10. Kids learn about different ways
Visiting other countries gives them an understanding of how so many things are different, such as driving on the roads, public transport, shopping, housing, water, cooking, toilets and so much more. They learn how to adapt to the new environment and appreciate local customs.
11. Travel teaches kids valuable life skills
Children will certainly learn about some of the many essential aspects associated with travelling internationally – passports, visas, vaccinations, airplanes, airports, security, flights, customs and immigration, time zones, currency conversions, packing, accommodation, communicating in foreign countries, reading maps, asking for guidance, making friends on your travels. All of these things are huge, and very valuable life skills and experiences that cannot be taught at home or in school.
12. Children become wiser
Kids come home wiser and more knowledgeable about the world and life outside their own bubble. Travel gives them plenty of stimulus for mental growth.
Ultimately, as parents we hope that our children will come to appreciate and realise how fortunate they are to have been given the privilege of travel that many others don’t have.
And finally, they will have precious memories to cherish forever.
Travelling with young children
Travelling with young ones can be very challenging, I’m not gonna lie. You will find it overwhelming at first, but you will get used to it and develop your own winning strategies. Us mothers can do anything! Ok, fathers too. The most important things are:
- choose your destination/s wisely,
- accept that you can’t do everything you would like,
- be as flexible as you can with your itinerary,
- include plenty of fun activities for the kids on your travels, such as playgrounds, parks, ice cream stops and the like,
- don’t schedule too many things in one day,
- allow some time each day for just chilling out,
- always have accommodation booked in advance, preferably with a pool or beach,
- an apartment is often the best option when staying more than a couple of days in one place,
- don’t move from one place to the next too quickly, try to stay a few days in each location,
- don’t go on group tours with young children, and
- try not to stress.
Just be prepared to accept that it’s not always easy travelling with kids, but remember some of the best memories in life come from things that aren’t easy, right?
You may like to read tips from Qantas.
Travelling with older children
As the children get older it all becomes far simpler. Flying is so easier. You don’t need strollers and nappy bags. It’s a game changer. They can walk more, and last longer days.
And when they’re tweens or young teens, you have a lot more flexibility with things you can see and do, and where you can eat. They can help with luggage and organise their own belongings.
Travelling with older teenagers is great. They can go off and do some things on their own, have a little freedom at the beach or shopping, whilst parents can enjoy something the kids don’t want to do, like a museum or historic site.
Travelling with adult children
Now that our children are adults we have an abundance of cherished memories that we made together over the years and experiences we shall never forget.
Our kids are hugely appreciative and proud of the many fabulous travel experiences they have under their belt. It has greatly contributed to making them well-rounded adults and capable of handling themselves in the world, as they now travel by themselves and with friends.
We still enjoy travelling together, as our kids have become our best travel buddies.
Below are some photos of our family travel adventures.
Wishing you many years of happy family travel too.