Travel with Kids: Why You Should Do It – And Do It Now

Can I have 3 minutes of your life?

3 minutes – that’s it.

Read this!

I’m going to convince you to travel with your kids. That it’s worth it. That it’s special. That you can do this. I’m going to try anyways.

It’s not going to be the trip you had before you had kids. It’s going to demand a lot of you. You’ve got to be ON all the time. You’ve got to plan. You’ve got to Go when you want to Stop and Stop when you want to Go. You’ve got to have stores of patience to rival a monk.

Travel with kids in Bali

But there’s the payoff. It’s great. Like parenthood itself, it’s something you can’t quite explain until you’re in it. You can’t get there by some other route. There’s something unique about traveling with kids. You can’t sleepwalk through it. Or fake it. You can’t sum it up in a postcard.

I loved traveling when I was single. I loved traveling with my wife just after we were married. But I love it more now that I have kids. It takes it to another level. A different level. It’s almost a whole different experience. You can drink a glass of water. You can dive into the ocean. They both involve water but are totally different.

There’s something else added that changes it. Alters it. You see another side of local life. You’re accepted in. You share something with the locals that other travelers don’t. Even the most jaded and shady taxi driver or tout will let his guard down when he sees your kids. He’ll talk about his own children and where he lives and how last year his whole family took the train up North, into the mountains, to a little village where his mom still lives.

Believe me. I’ve done it both ways. There’s nothing those young backpackers can do to experience what you’re experiencing. What your kids are experiencing.

Taking a boat in Krabi, Thailand.

Don’t believe the hype. You can do this. I know you can.

Don’t be one of those people that gets to the end of their life and wishes they had done this or done that or hiked this trail or spent a month on that island just down by the tip of Italy. Don’t get to the end of your life and wished you’d done something special and unique with your kids when you could have.

You’ve got a window … and it’s closing … from the moment they’re born it’s closing.

You’ve got a choice. There’s a lot in life you want to do. You dream about. But this isn’t like reading Shakespeare or learning Greek or taking a pottery course. Those things you can do when you’re 22 or 82 and it doesn’t make a whole lot of difference.

But traveling with your kids is something you have to do now. You have to start now. Start planning. Start thinking. Start thumbing through guide books, running your fingers over maps, staring at pictures of beaches and mountains and rope bridges and great teeming Asian markets and see yourself, with your kids, slowly weaving your way through the magic.

Taking a boat on the Mekong River in Vietnam.

This can be the start right here! The day you read this piece.

And 2 years from now or 20. One night while you’re sitting around the dinner table, someone will ask where was that photo of your daughter taken? And you’ll begin a tale about your kids buying a strange piece of fruit at the market. And they didn’t know how to open it. So they handed it back to the fruit seller. This lady who didn’t speak a word of english, who sat on this mat with fruit from God knows what tree ringed round her like gold around a king — and she took the fruit with her hand and banged it once. And then twice. And poof it split open. And she held it all in both hands and offered it back to us like she was paying a debt her grandfather had owed. Only she had this smile, I don’t know, this smile like — you gotta taste this. And my daughter slowly slides her hands out to grab it and the look on her face! Well, that’s when I took that picture. And those are the lady’s hands right there, you can just make them out.

“And what made you decide to go?”, they’ll ask.

Well, uhmm, this sounds sort of corny, but one day I was bouncing between different websites and I stumbled upon this one travel blog about this guy who traveled with his kids and he was saying how magical it was and how special and you’ve just got one chance and you’ve got to take it now or it’s going to slip away and it won’t come back. It’s not coming out on DVD. There are no night classes for the missed credits. And, I don’t know, I just said to myself we’re doing it. We’re going on a trip.

All You Need to Know is That it’s Possible!

“One of the under-reported stories of the internet is this: it constantly reports on what’s possible. Somewhere in the world, someone is doing something that you decided couldn’t be done.”
– Seth Godin

You can do this!

181 questions and comments

  1. VoiceOfReason

    I think any parent has a right to leisure travel with their kids.
    Even though I think you have the right, I don’t think it’s a great idea to just
    take them with you to locations you desire.
    Before you shoot down this thought, please read further;

    I travel quite a bit and have visited many countries.
    In my opinion, I do not believe my motive of traveling has the
    same appeal to small children as it does me.
    Unless I am going to Disney World and some other child attractions
    in Florida or perhaps California.
    But when you’re talking about visiting China, Paris, or London. Even
    Japan. Kids simply are not interested the way that you are.
    Just because they go along with it and goof off and try to make some
    fun with it doesn’t mean they enjoy it. I think it’s just the parent’s way of
    trying to get the kids to like the same things you’re interested in.
    Kinda like a football fan father who tries to shove football down their kid’s
    throat by taking them to NFL games at age 3. Then telling the world how
    they have fun at the games. Yet, they’re busy doing other stuff other than
    actually watching the action on the field.
    If I travel with small children, I will only do so making sure that they are
    very interested in the idea.
    To many times I’ve been to popular spots like Rome, Amsterdam, and yes,
    even New York City, I’ve seen small kids just going along with their parents
    with no interest whatsoever.
    The very first major travel location I ever visited was New York City. There I was,
    maybe 4 or 5 years old following my aunt and cousins. And this was supposed
    to be a great city?
    Not for a 5 year old. My tune changed when we went to Orlando for vacation.
    And when my Kindergarten mates asked me if i had fun, to this day, I don’t
    know why I said yes. Maybe it’s because it was expected. I had fun visiting
    cousins but not the whole New York experience.
    So now I’m well into my adulthood, I have a different perspective and opinion about
    New York, Paris, China, etc.
    I live in a major city now and i see tourists all the time. Unless kids are in a big group
    like a school trip, they will not have the same appreciation for the location that you have.
    Trying to shove your travel interest down their throat is your right but just a bad idea.
    Having kids means you have to make sacrifices. Every time I ask someone if they’ve
    ever visited certain countries, sometimes I hear that they did, but they were very, very
    small and don’t really recall that much. I bet if it was Disney World, they would vividly

    1. Jamie

      You missed the point.

      Travel is the world, our history, our culture, humanity, it’s who we are!! If you are not interested in the world/travel then you are out of touch with what life is about!

      It is in no way the same as forcing football on a child.

      Travelling is not an interest, it’s just living. When you in a new city, you shouldn’t be consciously interested, it more a sub conscious feeling of experiencing!

      And for a kid – 4-5 etc.. they don’t know what they want. They’re just happy to be with mum and dad, and little do they know this is shaping them to be wiser people for the long run. Better social skills. Better understanding of the world around them.

  2. Avi

    Just had to say what a great read on Bali! I have forwarded it on to all of my mothers group and my facebook page. great work, thorough list and after months and months of research you basically summed up all my findings and then some! thanks x

  3. Lucille

    Great post! It speaks to me for a different reason though…it’s a great reminder that for many people, traveling with kids is not an option, or something they don’t really ever consider as being possible. We travel with our kids and don’t give it a second thought, but your post reminds me to be grateful because what we do is special, and not everyone can or will take the plunge.

  4. Joe @Dumbbell Daddies

    Awesome post. My wife and I would agree 100%. Our little guy is only 11 month and he’s already been all over Canada, Jamaica, Bahamas, Prague Czech Republic, Berlin Germany and all over Poland where we are currently living as expats. We can’t wait to continue travelling and showing him the world. Cheers

  5. Rachael (Travelling Anyway)

    I didn’t need convincing – but if I did, this article would have had me sold. We’re three months into a nine month trip and the growth, development and interest I have seen sparked in my kids is amazing. As a family, we are closer, have much more fun and talk through any of our occasional (ahem) family dysfunction issues!

    1. Eugen

      I totally agree with both the article and your post… To a certain extent we’ve done the same. Now the kids are grown up and wish we’ve traveled even more than we did, covering Asia, Europe, North America and the Caribbean.

      We’re still trying, but with a 20 yr old lady is kind of tough. With my 16 yr old there are no issues.
      Not sure how you managed to go on a nine month trip – we wish we could have managed that ourselves.
      My wife and I are 1 year old in the travel agency business and we still can’t see how we could do that sort of long travelling. Glad that you’re one of the lucky ones – especially doing it with your kids.

      Dave – thanks for having such an awesome blog.

    2. Chris Pimsri

      My husband was this kind of guy. When he wanted to do something, well, we just did it. We took the kids to all sorts of places…but the best was back to his homeland of Thailand. The writer is so on the mark. I almost cried with the memories. Have so many photos of exotic beaches, foods, temples…but I always took the time to “smell the roses”! After the kids grew up, “Kong” & I continued our travels. Always on impulse…nothing too planned that it became a hassle. He passed away 6 weeks ago in Thailand while with me. I’m still here settling the estate. Don’t feel sad for me. Although I miss him terribly, I’ve had the best of life with him and this article brought me joy!

  6. Gillian Bordon

    Hello, I have just discovered your blog and have spent the past few days reading it and I can’t tell you how enormously positive and even a little bit excited about life again. I recently separated from my husband and asides from the emotional trauma of that, for a while I felt as if life had stopped. That all of things I had hoped we would do, we wouldn’t be able to – travelling was one of them. However, we are soon off on our first holiday together, alone, to Amsterdam. We are only away for a week, and as much as I am nervous having never travelled on my own with my daughter, and taking into account my appalling sense of direction, I feel excited about the possibilities of future travel. Having read your website, which is so easy to read and set out so clearly, I am thinking about extending our trip to Amsterdam and taking her to Paris for a few days….. It is because of people like you, who take the time and effort to put this information together, that helps so many people, like me, who are clueless and nervous about travelling, have more confidence in doing so. Thank you, really.

  7. Charlotte

    So many people have thanked you but I must do so too. I’m doing it!!! I’m jetting off with my little boy… OK I’m not leaving right now but the wheels are in motion. I will be taking my son out of school for one academic year to travel in 2017. Sounds like a long time away but I know it will be here soon. I have lots of saving to do to make sure I can support us both for 10-12 months. I want to go big… not a holiday. I want the whole travel experience!! It will be great for me and so wonderful for my son who will be 8/9 years old. Reading your guides I feel so inspired and less fearful about my decision. Thank you again. Your work here has definitely not gone unnoticed and I wanted to share my gratitude x

    1. Kirsten

      Hi Charlotte!
      Your post,…and enthusiasm echoes my own, down to the detail. I am a single mom with an almost 8 year old boy and I too, am preparing for a “big journey” …wherein I’ll be “world-schooling” him along the way. I’ve got loads of planning ahead, as well, obviously….but if you felt like sharing I’d love to know (and maybe be inspired by) the itinerary you’re considering.

      In 2010 (when my son was 4) he and I lived for a few months in Rome– but I had him in a school…(helped with the breaks for me…and him with some Italian language development) Now that he’s older and I’d be schooling, we’re definitely up for more of an adventure. I’m feeling like the “easy” route would be to start 3 months Italy…then go to Ireland for 3 months (as that is one of the nations outside the “Shengen Zone”…to restart another 90 days in France or Spain.

      Anyway….I’m beginning to gather “unschooling/world schooling” resources….and would love to share info if you were interested!

      Meanhwhile, good luck with your process! And thanks for spicing up my day with inspiration!


      1. Michelle

        Kirsten, I love your idea. I’m just starting to think about the same with my twin four year olds…and am thinking of 2/3 month stops so that the kids can have time to go to preschools/schools. Would love to hear more about your plans.

    2. Adge Anctil

      I loved reading this…I am not just planning to travel for a year with 10 year old and hubby but we will be looking where to live in Sout east Asia or shanghai as my son lives there for years. I was getting myself all worried about school but once we settle my daughter can pick back up in a good school. I have my eyes set on Sihanoukville, Cambodia as I just love what I have read bit will visit first. Thank you for everyone’s story.

  8. Lindsay Nieminen

    this is EXACTLY what i needed to read this morning! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!
    my recent post about being afraid of nomadic travel becomes nothing after i read this!

  9. Jennifer

    Thank you for creating this blog. My husband and I love to travel and had some incredible adventures pre-baby. I can’t even count how many people told us though how great it was that we were traveling then because you just can’t do it once you have kids. We didn’t believe any of them, we want to show our child the world, but after a rough 1-night-only trip visiting family this past weekend with our 1 year old, I’ll admit I was getting worried. Thanks for giving me hope that more incredible adventures are still possible and not too far off!

  10. Josh, Beverly and Persephone

    We love traveling with our little one. Many people think that you have to stop traveling when you have a child, but it lets the child learn and see so much. We can not imagine not sharing the joy we have had in traveling with our child. We want her to grow up seeing the world. Currently we are teaching English in Ukraine and look forward to taking her to Thailand afterwards!

    Travels with Sophie

  11. Patrick, Poland

    Dear David,
    Thank you very much for this post. Usually I am not easily moved, but I honestly had tears in my eyes while I was reading it.
    I will always remember this magic moment when, during our first far-away trip, we arrived in Bangkok at 5 a.m. in the morning. The Khao San Road, a capital of hustle-and-bustle, was still asleep and we were sitting on a sidewalk deciding what to do next. Suddenly, a buddhist monk leaving a nearby temple approached our 1,5 year old son, blessed him, gave him a small coin and left as quietly as he appeared. I will never forget that day.
    Since then, we have travelled a lot, always with our kids. Our daughter is now already 20 and the “window of opportunity” is almost closed, though sometimes we still manage to talk her into joining us for some shorter trips. Our son, now 8, is also infected with this contagious and uncurable disease called travelling. Recently, inspired by his English language teacher, he even started writing his own travel blog :)
    Of course, the more we travel, the more magic moments we have to share. Busy with school/work and everyday life never do we have as much time for each other as during our trips. Of course, scary moments happen, too, but thanks to them we have even more interesting stories to tell later on… :)
    I couldn’t agree more about the kids openning practically every door. They are always a great point to start a conversation with, even if the only way of communication that remains… are your hands and smiles.
    Thank you, David, for sharing your experiences. Thank you, everyone, who travels with children, for proving that we are not crazy and that we are not alone…
    And if any of you would like to see it from an 8-year-old perspective, you can visit Simon’s blog:
    Happy travels,

  12. Beth

    Hello. I just came across your blog and I love it! My husband and I have always loved to travel, but it has been a couple of years since we’ve been anywhere. We are thinking about planning a trip in November. Our daughter will be 2.5 by then. I was wondering if you have any suggestions on a good place to take a toddler. We haven’t flown with her yet so im not sure how long of a flight she/we could handle. (We live in southern il, would fly from either St Louis or Nashville) Thanks so much!

    1. Toni

      I’m a single mum, my daughter and I travel together a lot. Some mornings we wake up, the sun is shining, so we throw our bodyboards in the car and head to the coast for the weekend. Other times we’ve been on bigger adventures, last month we went to Maui. (We are in England) my three tips would be. 1. Always pack a few extra small activities for them when travelling. We play cards or read together. Don’t under estimate the power of small kids and sticker books! 2. Try to take the trip at their pace. Dragging them round two museums and an art galley in one day is asking a lot of an adult, let alone a child. I try and plan one trip or activity a day (normally in the morning) then spend the afternoon in the pool or sea. It makes for a much more relaxing trip for you, which being a mum you probably don’t get chance to do. 3. Encourage your child to be sociable. My daughter can be quite shy, but when we travel she becomes a confident young women. Adults everywhere love polite, charming kids. You wouldn’t believe the amount of fuss she gets from air stewardesses, hotel staff etc. etc. She’s always being “secretly” being given an extra bit of desert or some treat by staff for being well behaved. Which in turn boosts her confidence and helps her understand that manners get you places! The thing to remember is to take it at your child’s pace, slow down and relax about it, who cares if you spend all day in the pool or go to the same museum twice because they loved it so much. If you miss something you wanted to see, go back and do it next time!

  13. Tessa

    I couldn’t agree more, we arrived home yesterday with miss 6, and master 8 after taking them to Nepal, to trek the mighty Himalaya no less. We fell in love with Nepal after trekking there 3 years ago, but leaving our children at home due to the Altitude. We then ummmmed and arrrr’d when we could take the kids to this amazing destination…well, let’s just say we shaved off a few years from our initial discussions.
    So, off we went, two backpacks and our kids and headed on a long journey from Australia to Nepal.
    We are now home safe, the kids loved it, and more importantly are still talking to us. They coped with the altitude, but we kept our trekking below 4000metres to be safe. They saw Yaks, played with Nepali children, we’re admired by Nepali elders and other Trekkers alike. They coped without all their first world comforts and electronic devices and lots of Dal Bhat.
    So, long and short, kids are resilient, they take it in, they cope, they grow, they adapt, and all this often much better than us adults.
    Thanks again for writing your blog, try Nepal, the Nepalese are lovely people.

  14. Desmond Gribben

    Just found your blog while looking up family travel information for a trip to Vietnam, Singapore and Bali in June, and I I can say is…..I COULDN’T AGREE MORE!!!

    My wife and I traveled a fair bit before getting married, and then a fair bit more after our wedding, and then people kept saying “it’s a good thing you traveled so much before having kids, because once you have kids you’re not going to be traveling anymore”. We kept thinking “why not”. I think we even took it as somewhat of a challenge.

    Now, almost 13 years in to parenting, our oldest has been to about 25 countries and our 8 year old has been to about a dozen, and I don’t believe there’s any way to truly quantify the positive effects that traveling has had on our children. In the very least, I like to believe that our children are more open-minded, tolerant and adaptable to change because of it….but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

    And now with and airbnb for inexpensive apartment rental, there’s no shortage of ways to make if more affordable.

    Anyway, just wanted to say thanks for the effort of creating this space and helping to inspire parents.

    Happy Travels!

    San Francisco

  15. Ferne

    My husband and I love to travel. In fact we just returned from a trip to NYC. Last night at dinner table we were talking with our boys, ages 17 and 12, where they’d like to visit next. Europe and DC popped up. Hence, I started a search on google and stumbled on your ‘little nomads’ website. You are right. Traveling with kids can be so much fun, and we’ve been doing it since my firstborn was three months old, basically, when he could hold his head up on his own while sitting in a baby carrier strapped to my back. My kids have become the gateway to so many opportunities for conversations, friendly smiles, and better seats at a restaurant! I’ve seen the world through their eyes, and some of their comments and perspectives are totally amazing and amusing. They’re more open to different local foods and customs. They’re curious about the world they live in. They’re interested about people, and are not afraid to converse with people. Books have come alive because when they read about something they’ve experienced, they tell me, “I’ve been there!” I realize not everyone can travel to exotic locales. Start small, start local, start in your state, or region. There is an old saying from the country where I originally came from. Translated it means, “a frog under a coconut shell” Yes, there’s a great big world out there. Let’s learn about it, let’s see it, let’s know it, and let’s allow it to capture our imaginations and be amazed.

  16. Georgina

    Wow this gave me hope!
    I just had my first baby and have had the blues especially since I believed that my travel life was over…my son is only 4 months and I would love for him to see the world with me :)

  17. T

    Thank you so much for this. We have 3 kids and have come up with thousands of reasons WHY we cannot travel with them. Reading this gave us the ONE real reason why we MUST.

  18. Jenn

    Such lovely words, thank you so much for writing them.
    I was raised by a mother whom embraced travel. It was an integral part of our lives for as long as I could remember.
    My most treasured memories are the ones when we got out a map and picked the next place we were going to head towards.
    I am 33 now and a mother myself and I just wanted to pass on my gratitude to you for putting into words just how magical it is to experience life on that level with your children.
    I spent the better part of my life having to defend my nomadic life to people who just cannot or will not allow themselves to see all of the many benefits that raising children this way brings.
    I have never to this day understood why it could possibly be frowned upon to enable and encourage your children to learn,respect and engage with as many different cultures and lifestyles as possible. Whilst encouraging going from one school to another and another with the same group of children until you eventually start a career, live pay day to pay day counting down the days until your next holiday and repeating the process is completely accepted as the norm.
    The things I have learned and experienced through living this way as a child compared with friends who were brought up the “proper” way are quite literally immense.
    I may not have had friends next door or my nan only minutes away but I had adventure. Life was my classroom and we met people from all walks of life along the way and each one had a lesson to teach in one way or another.
    It comes with its own set of challenges like everything else in life.
    However I feel and this is just my opinion that there are moments that you will share with your children that I shared with my mother as a child and have shared with my own children that you will miss out on if you don’t embark on some kind of extended journey with your babies whilst they still look at you like your the best thing ever.
    Live life.
    Don’t be a spectator.
    Enjoy your children for they won’t be children for long.

  19. soundsfab

    It is impossible for me to get my husband to book time off – he is a mad workaholic. I want to just take our 4 year old son on my own, starting somewhere I have been before on my own. Have you travelled on your own with the kids or only as a duo? Sorry if I missed that somewhere.

    1. David Post author

      Yes, I’ve taken both of my boys to Japan when they were 3 and 6 years old, both them to Paris (while my wife stayed in London) when they were 5 and 8, and one of them to Greece when he was 11. More typically I take them a week or so early on a trip (when my wife was working, she’s at home now). So trips to Mexico and Thailand started a week early for the 3 of us and my wife joined us later.

  20. Claire

    Hi, I’m really inspired by your article and some of your commenters also. I’m a single parent to an 8 year old, I used to travel a lot before I had my daughter. But since having her and her father leaving I just know he will do everything he can to prevent me from taking a trip with my daughter and make the preparation stressful and it puts me off even bringing it up. Because I am a UK resident I would need his ‘permission’ to take our daughter abroad for over a month and I would also have issues with taking her out of school because they don’t like to have children missing any school time. Holidays are divided and not the time to travel to destinations I want to take her. I find it so hard not having the freedom to choose I cannot tell you. I cannot seem to find any examples of people who have been through this kind of issue, I wonder if you have any advice or could signpost me to anyone who might have experience of this? Thank you

    1. Charlotte

      Hi Claire
      I dont know how old your post is but felt I had to answer! Like you I am a single parent and struggle to find real independent travel advise for taking adventuring alone with children.
      However I did manage a 3 month trip round Thailand when my daughter was 3 ( I gave her dad a years advance warning and he accepted it) it was also before legal school time so no problem there.

      I really hope you give it a shot, my daughter is now 8 and I have 2 year old and I really want to do something similar again but it will be harder with the two of them and dealing withthe school issue.

      I wish there were more likeminded single mums to discuss these issues with but doesnt seem to be!! But we have to take risks, be brave and go for it – as all you fellow parents say the benefit for all concerned outweighs the hassle and life is for living the way we choose. I hope you find a way to have your adventure :-)

    2. Debbie Parker

      I know exactly where you’re coming from as I too have the same issues and difficulties with my 8yr old. In turn, I’ve turned this negative into a positive by negotiating trips of just under a month to places around the globe. In exchange for more holiday time in the summer for example (given to dad) I’m able to fully utilize Easter with some add on days from the school. I’m happy, he’s happy and our son is definitely very excited.
      Hope my post has helped a little – you’re not alone with your circumstances under UK law.

  21. Charlotte (Little World Citizens)

    David, this is a brilliant post, I loved it. I agree with you 100%, travelling with kids is amazing, it is definitely a different experience but I would not miss it for the world. We´ve lived in 8 countries and travelled to 20 more with our kids. It’s been incredibly enriching.

    I know many parents are not just ready yet to travel with their children, thinking it would be too complicated and not worth it. This is my little contribution to your already very inspiring post that might change some people’s mind, “Common excuses not to travel with kids, debunked”, check it out here.

    Happy travels!

  22. Alet

    This year we took our 20-month old daughter to the Netherlands and Latvia (2014). We also visited Zambia earlier in the year. After Christmas we’re going to the Seychelles. Hopefully she’ll enjoy traveling as mush as we do when she is older!

  23. Erika

    I stumbled upon your blog when I’m researching about kids friendly destination and I’m glad to find other people just like us. We don’t let our kids stop us from traveling. We bring 3 of them along. My eldest one is 8 yrs old and she has been to 14 countries.

    In the beginning, it felt like a lot of work and I felt like I overpacked. But as we have gotten used to it and lower our standards of expectations, it gets much easier. Our youngest went to Greece at 6 months old. With my first one, I wouldn’t dare bringing her anywhere far.

    Traveling with our kids has been enriching. We get excited when they get excited seeing things for the first time. And they find little things that we find boring, to be adventures. Like going on a 8-hour ferry ride to Santorini and taking the trains from city to city. We would do things that we wouldn’t do as adults and for sure, like you said, locals are friendlier to us because we have kids. We found most of Asia and Italy and Greece to be very children friendly.

    I’m looking forward to reading more of your adventures and get tips in every city!

  24. Charlotte

    Great post, could not agree more! We are a nomad family, moving (almost) every year to a new country and travelling as much as we can in between moves to explore the continent we’re in.

    It’s such an amazing experience for the kids. I recently wrote a blog post about it: “5 life lessons I hope my kids will learn from their childhood abroad”.

    Cheers from Uruguay and best of luck in your future travels.

  25. Yury Faktorovich

    I couldn’t agree more. The only thing I would argue with is how hard it is to travel with kids. We take our kids everywhere, my son had his first birthday on the plane. There is nothing hard about , on the contrary I would say it is hard to travel w/o them. We have our flashbacks on our web site,

  26. Scott

    Nicely written, I am sure you have motivated many parents to at least consider experiencing travel as a family and I hope you have convinced some to do it. We travelled a lot before kids and have continued to travel with kids and I also prefer the latter, although it is much more difficult in so many ways and we do reminisce about the things we can’t (or maybe just wont) yet do again until the kids are older, like riding a scooter along the Amalfi Coast or climbing Machu Picchu, but it’s far more rewarding giving your kids those life-long memories. I think I would like to take the kids to the “North Pole” for Christmas next….

  27. London - Breakfast Places

    Dear David, The London for kids guide is impressive! it answered many questions we had. One quick one: we are staying close to Caxton Street… any recommendation for breakfast with the kids? Thanks a lot!

    1. David Post author

      I don’t know anything around there specifically, but the Pret A Manger and Eat restaurants are everywhere and are cheap and easy for breakfast.

  28. Mishka

    Love your blog! We are getting ready to plan our first trip, and looking for suggestions for international destinations safe for a single mom and 4 year old girl. I’m hoping to travel 1-2 months per year, and home school while learning about different cultures. Our first trip will be this Fall, and just 1-2 weeks, as a trial. :) Thank you so much!

    1. Noel @ RCTRL

      Hi Mishka!

      I would consider Costa Rica as a stop. Not sure how close you are, but there are wonderful towns with farmers markets, beaches, nature and other people with children.

      We travel 2-3 months out of the year, but just selected Dominical as a home base for a bit. Ticos love kids and people are very helpful without the feeling that they want something for it.

      Sounds like you’re up for an amazing adventure, have fun!

  29. Nathanial Poerio

    Ciao David,

    I am writing to tell you and you’re readers about a very cool game that has just come out in Rome and Assisi that is made for travelling families. It’s called Gumshoe Tours. It’s basically like a big treasure hunt all through the city. The kids have to find things, answer questions and have fun, but to play and to win they have to visit the sites and learn about them. It’s a lot of fun. I think you’ll like it.

    Gumshoe Tours

  30. Caty

    Your blog is awesome… I am planning my first big trip to Europe from the US with my 2 boys (8 and 4) and husband… We are thinking England and Scotland during August ….12 days trip… My eldest is a Harry Potter Fan and so do I.

    Any pointers, on how would you do it? If its too much to ask… Where to in scotland?

    A very overwhelmed but hopeful mom..Looking to give my kids the surprise of their lives.


  31. Jazmin

    I love your blog, I came across it yesterday, and I’ve started planning our trips for the next five years! And heck, once my kid goes to college, I’m going backpacking through Europe and Asia!

  32. Shar Newman

    I love your post! I am from North America, living in South America and have always been / will be somewhat of a nomad. I want to have kids soon, but the travel thing always nags at me. I was trying to type something else in my browser, and somehow this article popped up. Very weird, but great serendipity! I look forward to reading more of your travel tales.

  33. silvia

    I love this blog! I just feel what you said. I say to myself that sometimes we just cut our own wings only because someone said it is dangerous, without any real argument. But yes WE CAN DO IT. Everybody can.

    I have been travelling with my kids since My elder son was 2 years old and maybe it was too late. Gambia, Senegal, Iceland, France, Tunisia, Stockholm, London. Next time we are going to Sri Lanka. Yeahhh

    Why change our love for travelling when we have kids? They will appreciate it and it is one of the best experiences they can have. It will open their minds and they can see with their own eyes what they learn at school. Is there a better present and a better will for them?

    Congratulations for your blog. Thank for being one of those “freakies” who travel with kids.

  34. Paul Davies

    That post was very timely as we are travelling as a family in the near future. Although my wife and I have travelled a bit a decade ago, we now have 2 adorable young girls 6&9 who can’t wait to get on their first plane. We will be visiting 12 countries during the year. We are going to follow our noses and see what happens.

    Everyone of our friends and family think we are a mixture of crazy, irresponsible, and brave to go. I just think you get one chance with your children and its over in a flash.

    Thanks for that extra bit of inspiration!

  35. Nat

    Wow, I am so glad I found this blog! I am a single parent with a 7 year old son and have been really down recently as lots of my work colleagues and friends are embarking on trips around the world, SE Asia, South America, Australia and so on….
    I have been really miserable as I always wanted to travel when I was younger (I am 33 now) but I never did, many reasons…money (lack of it), being committed to a guy (which usually ended in tears) and then some years later settled down and got married. Which also ended in tears after a while…..hence the single parenthood! Anyway, watching all my friends go away to so many places has made me feel like I made a big mistake never doing it before I had my son, and its been my biggest ever regret.
    I have been thinking recently that I will never get the chance to see the world until he is 18 and will be old enough to decide if he wants to come or stay at home with his pals.
    Its been an utterly depressing time, I have felt like I wasted my life before I became a mother. I feel like the one who missed out, who will be too old to enjoy it the same when I finally get to go.

    Then I find this blog, I wish I had found it weeks ago! I feel so much better about things now. I have been telling myself ‘I can’t do an overland trip like that with a child, so I’ll just have to wait another 12 years…’ How wrong I was.

    This blog has made me realise that there is absolutely no reason why I cannot do this! I am going to start planning straight away, maybe start with a 2 – 3 week break to see how we go and then expand on this year after year…
    My son is a very well behaved well mannered little boy fascinated by all things new and interesting and he is crazy on learning about other cultures and countries. In actual fact I am kind of ashamed I didn’t consider him at all when I was thinking about where I wanted to see in the world. He would be my ideal travel partner!

    THis blog has totally changed the way I look at things, as travel is my passion I have been so depressed thinking my life is over and I can only travel to a limited number of places and stay in one hotel for a week All inclusive putting up with bad kids entertainment! now I want to go and stay in a small village in Cambodia or Laos and experience life with the locals whilst my boy broadens his horizons and his friendships!

    I just want to say…THANK YOU!!! Instead of feeling like my life of travelling is over, I feel like its only just begun!!!!

  36. Stacey

    Hi David, I stumbled upon your blog today as I’m researching travel articles for my Creative Writing -Non-Fiction university class. I am a SAHM but love to travel and this year was the first time we have taken our boys, age 5 & 3 on a major vacation. We went to Mexico with them and I can tell you one key point that you hit on was how the locals are when you are traveling with small children. From our encounters with the security agents at the Calgary International Airport right up to the customs agents in Cancun our experience was amazing. The resort staff were amazing with our kids and helped us out whenever the boys became unruly. Thanks to this experience we will make traveling a family affair. Thank you for a great article.

  37. Tenzing


    Thank you for your page. We have recently done an evaluation of our goals as a family and our financial situation and determined that best way forward is to travel and educate our children on the road. After living in the US 23 years, we are ready for a change. But the main motivation behind this goal is to improve our family’s awareness of how life is around the globe and to find our mission along the way. Lets see where this journey takes us, the only thing we need to conquer is fear. :)

    Tashi Delek


  38. Donna Waring

    My husband and I are planning a family but we love travelling/ scuba diving so much we keep putting it off. I always think ‘just one more trip’. This article has been a huge inspiration. I thought I was being ‘selfish and greedy’ wanting children and travel but it seems it is possible. Thank you for sharing this. It has made me think I am ready to have a family and yet still be able to follow my dreams of seeing the world through a little person’s eyes as well as my own. Sounds wonderful and very exciting.

  39. Christina

    I’m traveling by myself to Europe for two weeks this fall with my 10 and 8 yr. old boys for these very reasons. Why not?? I hope it’s the first of many.

  40. Jeff

    I don’t have any kids myself, although I hope that someday that will change. In any case, my parents loved to travel and to do it as a family. There was only one time that they went on a trip alone. Those are some of the fondest memories that I have as a child and I’m sure that my love for travel came from all of those wonderful experiences. I agree with you completely on this. :)

  41. Circe Dopp

    Well, I’ve gone all manic planning a cross-country road trip and two weeks in D.C. with seven kids, and it’s all your fault. Thanks. :) No, really.

  42. Cathy Johnson

    Thank you so much for all of your recommendations. We are just concluding our trip from Connecticut to Singapore, Phuket, and Railay with our three daughters, aged 4, 6, and 8. We had a wonderful time and probably would not have planned the trip had we not read about your experiences. Thanks for sharing them on your blog.

  43. Gabby

    Awesome write-up. You summed up my feelings exactly. There is just something so different traveling with kids. It can be sometimes frustrating but when it’s good (and the majority of every trip is)….. it’s GOOOOOOD. My daughter is only 4 and she frequently brings up this and that from this trip or that trip. “Hey Mom, it’s the statue of wiberty (liberty)! That’s in New Work (NY)”. “Mom, remember we listened to this song at the beach in Cawifornia (CA)?”. “Mom, when we go to Chicago we have to be careful driving because of the snow. It’s dangerous to go fast”.

    We’re taking our first overseas trip with her and my son (3) in a few months and I can’t wait to see and hear what stands out to them.

  44. victoria

    Hi David,

    I stumbled upon your blog last October. Its inspiring that you do travel with your kids. We do too. Sometimes some people think we are insane specially during winter time but I do agree with all your insights above. I love your blog and it helped us in our travel to kyoto :) I am even thinking of writing our experiences when travelling with our kids.


  45. Olesya

    You totally inspired me to travel w my kids when they were tiny! We have been going at it since. Thanks for the great blog.


  46. Bylromarha

    Couldn’t read and run – just stumbled across your blog and you write everything I feel about travelling with my kids. Has to be done, and has to be done now. Sad thing is so many parents look at us as Super Parents as we take our kids on far flung adventures – they see a weekend camping down the road as hard work with their kids! So sad.

    Our son’s first holiday was a 27 hour flight to the other side of the world. At the age of 8, the only continents he hasn’t visited are Antartica and S. America. Daughter aged 6 isn’t far behind. Our most recent trip was a 4 week SE Asia tour, taking in Cambodia and Thailand. Friends were shocked when we told them we were taking the kids – we were shocked they even asked the question IF we were taking them. Have to disagree about Bangkok though – we got really bored there and spent our 3rd day staying in the hotel pool. So many more exciting places for kids in SE Asia IME.

    Can’t wait to hear more of your adventures 😉

  47. faye Gonzalez

    We are just back — yesterday from a 9 week trip to Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos with our 3 children (ages 11, 6, and 5). I was inspired by your blog which I fell upon one dreary Monday. I want to back up what you say about travel with kids. To anyone deliberating – just do it! They played with the local children, did homestays with tribes, ate food they’d never ever consider at home, saw things almost everday that I’d never seen. You get to experiece other culttures both 1st-hand and also through the eyes of your children. It is so much easiier to make connections and it seems that nearly every SE Asian loves children. The children bonded together and without tv and their toys we found them playing for hours with what nature provided – my son made a cataput in Northern Laos with a stick and a sharp stone. He used coconut shellls for sand castles and to make magic potions – priceless. I would do it again in a heartbeat – and may just do that – it is addictive! Thank you again for inspiring us.

  48. Svetlana

    David, thank you for a very inspiring blog! We have 3 children, 12,7 and 3 yo (the youngest will be 4 in may). We are planning to visit family in russia in June, and wanted to travel in Europe before we settle down in Russia with family. We have 3 weeks to spend in total. We will have about 10 days for Europe which may include optional St. Petersburg. The children have only been in Nice a few years ago. What would you recommend as our itinerary? Would you spend 10 days in one place (I am thinking London, as we have direct flight from las Vegas) and leave st. Petersburg for next year? Or would you pick a few countries? What is the best destination for the ages of children we have? I am inclined to gear towards the interests of my 12 yo daughter, but want to keep it interesting for her brothers as well…
    Thank you!!

    1. David Post author

      London is a great choice and it’s very easy to spend 10 days there and still feel like there’s much more to see. Many of the top attractions in London are free which is a big plus. On the downside hotels in London are very expensive, but by staying in one spot you’ll save on travel costs – so it’s probably a wash. Paris and Amsterdam are both great cities for families (especially in June). Train connections are easy and convenient between those cities too though do book as far in advance as possible. If you do visit another city (or two) try to get an open jaw ticket in which you arrive and depart from different cities so you don’t have to retrace your steps to catch your flight home. (This will save you time, money, and hassle.)

      Hope that helps. Good luck.

  49. Quinn

    Hello David…I’m so happy I stumbled upon your beautiful and very inspiring blog. I am so envious of the amazing travels that you’ve been so lucky to share with your boys. I also share your love of travel, although not as well seasoned as you unfortunately. When I was little and the navy would transfer my dad to a different duty station, we would camp the route to our new home across the U.S., stopping at all the must see spots. I treasure those times always. Since then I have been lucky to travel to Costa Rica (15 yrs ago), and travel 6 weeks through South America (6 yrs ago), while in my 20’s.
    I am in serious need of your expert advice and hope that you can ease my mind with the dilemma I share with you. To start, I am the proudest mommy of the most amazing 4 year old twin boys, they are my absolute everything. Their daddy and I have yet to marry, mostly due to financial reasons, in addition to beings so busy trying to care of our family. I have always wanted a no-frills, non traditional, simple as can be wedding, as I do not really care for all the attention and could never understand how people spend so much money on 1 day. However, i do not want to just go to the courthouse. So…here we are, 4 years later, still not married. Family is and always has been the most important thing in my life. So I have been trying to come up with something that could include family and friends, yet still small and casual. I’m talking a camping theme, pig roast style kind of thing. As awesome as that sounds to me, it is still more money than we have and still tons of stress. I have also recently returned to school and do not need additional stress of planning a wedding.
    I have just come to the realization that a destination wedding would be the smartest thing for us! Finally I get to my main dilemma…I cannot even imagine a wedding where my babies are not included, and my honey thinks just the opposite. I just feel like I will be so sad if they are not there. Am I crazy for thinking that? How do I convince him that they should be there? In his defense, he’s thinking we can’t spend another $1000 to fly them to the location. Ive decided on the Caribbean, but no clue where. I know our parents will be there, other than that, not sure. I’m thinking no more than 20 .. Can you please share your insight on where you think would be a good place for us? I know I am asking a lot of you and we’ve never even met. But I am the self proclaimed most indecisive person ever. I’m loving the thought of St Martin, maybe St Johns, or St Thomas. I just dont want super touristy or crappy food. Not supper if Jamaica or Dominican is too touristy, but maybe cost efficient. All inclusive might be smart for the majority. I would go anywhere to be honest. I just want to be barefoot on the beach with my babies and my honey, some steel drums, and keep it at a reasonable price. Is this possible? I do not want to cry on my wedding day because the most important part of me is missing. I appreciate any advice or input…safe travels to you and your family :)

    1. David Post author

      Hi Quinn. I don’t know how much help I can be on this one. It sounds like fun if you can make it all work out.

      We did part of our honeymoon at Negril in Jamaica and loved it. Lots to do, not outrageously touristy, and great day trips all around. We stayed at the Rockhouse for 2 weeks which was fantastic.

      Good luck with everything.

      1. Quinn

        Hi David…First of all, I love your blog! It is so inspiring. i definitely get jealous of all of the people that get to experience exotic parts of the world with their children. I sure wish i had it like that. I just wanted to let you know that because of your response to my extra long comment, which was just begging for someone’s advise, I looked into the Rockhouse, and Negril in general and booked our weddingmoon. So excited! We, just the two of us, leave in just a few short days, and will spend 7 nights at the couples resort Negril swept away, where we will marry on the beach. We will enjoy our private 100 candle wedding dinner up on the cliffs at Ivan’s that evening, which sounds amazing. Then we will end our last couple of nights at the Rockhouse, which just looks like paradise! ..This is all b/c of you! I want to thank you for even replying to me and making this suggestion. I wasn’t even considering Jamaica thinking is just too touristy, but not Negril. I really want to make the day trip to Mayfield falls. I was wondering if you had any other “must see/do” or any advise for is trip.

        Also, I love to travel and experience all we can with our now 4 year old twin boys. Unfortunately, I do not foresee us being able to take some month long trip to Southeast Asia. I wish! We have just been to Hilton Head, and up in Michigan camping several times. I just love it up there. Up north is very pretty.

        Thanks for everything!
        Btw…I cant believe you and your wife stayed a full month, you must be millionaires!

        1. David Post author

          Perfect. Sounds great. We did do the Mayfield Falls and it was fantastic. One of the highlights of the trip. To save money hire a car/driver/tour guide in town (you’ll likely be approached several times) and get them to take you about for a day or two. Ask lots of questions and make sure they know their stuff about the area. They’ll suggest several things – pick what sounds interesting and negotiate on a price. This will be much cheaper than booking through your hotel. Good luck.

  50. Julie

    I love it! Your words mirror our thoughts on travel with kids. Traveling with the family should not just benefit the kids and enrich our family lives, it should also enrich us, the adults, as well. As you said, traveling with kids opens wild, new experiences that you will never experience when traveling without them. I love the taxi driver. Exactly.
    It is such a life shaping experience for everyone. Thanks for sharing this… I hope you don’t mind if I share your piece with others. Beautifully worded!

  51. Nicola

    Hi David,

    We love travelling too and have not done much since our little one was born…ok I’ll rephrase that, we have taken him on weekend away to Ireland and Florence and a week in Turkey and to his grandparents in Melbourne and 4 days in Hong Kong, but we have been confident that he will not get an upset tummy….we are thinking of going to Goa, it is a place my husband and I would love to go but we are not sure if Jake our little one will be ok with the food, he loves all sorts of food but I do not want him to get the runs…its ok for us as we can take imodium!? He will be only be 19.5 months old when we are thinking of going…I’d love your thoughts.

    Thanks in advance.


  52. Kimberly

    We, organic dairy farmers from Vermont, are going on our first trip to another country with our daughter and son! They are 14 and 12. My 12 year old son doesn’t want to go as he is a picky eater and nervous about the unkown. I have been debating about makiing him go with us. Your blog I stumbled upon this morning has confirmed my gut feeling that he should go with us. Otherwise I fear he and I would both regret it. Both kids have life threatening nut allergies which make it a little complicated. We are going to Germany, Austria and Swizterland on a special farm tours trip to see where our Brown Swiss cows originated . I think I need to change the way I am talking to him about the trip to make him more excited about it, rather than apprehensive.

  53. Anita

    I found your blog just by chance, and well, I completely agree with you – travelling with kids is such an AWESOME experience.
    We started out with little trips when our son was a few months old, and he’s a very good traveler now :) (in about 2 and a half years).
    We are now making plans to travel around the world and we are pretty certain that we’ll have a whale of a time.

  54. Jay Rensburg

    I’m doing it with my 3 yr old next month! 5 month travelling through se asia but exactly where, well i dont know yet, suggestions welcome?! I do however have a to take or not to take buggy question as we are heading to Thai islands first and don’t want to be stuck in our room every night at 7pm. On other holidays little one would just sleep in buggy, so will this be possible due to lack of pavements do you think? or should we just forget buggy completely? She is a teeny one and still doesn’t walk far yet.

    1. David Post author

      That’s a tough age to decide on the stroller. Yes, the sidewalks are not very stroller-friendly (or non-existent) so there’s not much use having it for getting around. But they are nice to have for napping in restaurants or on very short walks. If you could get away with an umbrella stroller that was very light-weight that would be the way to go. Good luck.

  55. Noel

    Thanks David! Just got done with a 5 week trip with my wife and 2 year old daughter (someone while traveling told me to check out your blog). You’re absolutely right when you speak of the “disarming” children do in foreign countries.

    We were in Costa Rica and it was incredible. To watch people light up when our daughter (a firey red head) would say “Gracias!” was priceless. We plan on more traveling with her, sharing these experiences is amazing and there’s no way we’d go without her or wait until she is older. NOW is the time! :)

  56. Vinicius

    I´m from Brazil and I just got almost randomly to you website while trying to decide whether or not to take our 5-year-old girl to a 2/3-week trip around France next year. You totally convinced me. Now I can´t imagine how the heck I was thinking not to… Congrats, fantastic job!

  57. Jacob

    On our travels around the Iberian Peninsula we’ve not met too many people travelling with their children (our hairy son travels with us), but the few we’ve encountered have had mixed feelings about it. For some they feel it’s a great experience at an early age for their child, but others – especially those with only one child – have noticed a kind of ‘loneliness’ in their offspring. The latter makes sense as while they are travelling the children don’t have time to make friends so relationships can be fleeting.
    I do agree though, everybody should get out of their comfort zone and travel with their friends, family and dog of course.

    Best regards,

    Jacob @ Spain in a Campervan

  58. Navinder

    Hello David….this is Navinder again continuing our discussion thread…need some more advise….is there any beach island near Chiang Mai which we can access by Road or by Air (nearest) ? As I understand this is in the hills and has a better climate but then we dont want to miss the basics of Thailand which is water and the beaches. Please advise .

    1. David Post author

      No, there are no islands close to Chiang Mai. For any island or beach you’d have to go through Bangkok. The closest to Bangkok would be Pattaya, Koh Samet, and Hua Hin.

  59. Navinder

    Hello David…..can you advise as to which are the best places in Thailand apart from Bangkok to celebrate New Year eve ?? Goes without saying partying and fun …are there any special places or hotels you would like to mention where there may be fun events held ? obviously I have my family with me

    1. David Post author

      Can’t recommend any place in particular though I’ve heard great things about Chiang Mai during New Years. I’d think about finding a hotel (maybe in quieter sections of Koh Pha Ngan) that has a very homey communal feel and spend the night with the other guests. I’ve done that a couple times, and if you’re with a good group of people, it’s a lot of fun.

  60. Melania

    Just stumbled upon your blog, and I’m very excited to have found it. We have done quite a lot of travelling with our kids – all over Canada and parts of the USA, Sri Lanka with our eldest when he was 21 months (and I was in my first trimester with the youngest, oof), Scotland when the youngest was a few months old, and then moving to Peru for 14 months when the boys were 3 and >1, and rounding out that trip with a visit to Brazil. We’ve been back to visit Peru, and have taken them to Costa Rica. Now planning a Beijing and Tokyo trip for their March break (boys are now 7 and 9).

    I’m recently called a lawyer, but as a travel addict I’m getting itchy feet again. I have begun to mull over a longer, more ambitious trek, probably involving taking a year or more “off” and homeschooling, and happening upon your blog at this time has only strengthened that idea.

    Thank you, and I look forward to reading more about your own travels with kids!

  61. Marie

    Hi David – Thank you, thank you for your blog. And, thank you for inspiring me to introduce our kids to world beyond where we live. We’ve managed to secure 2 months off from work and are considering South East Asia as our destination. This will be our first international trip with the kids (will be 4.5 yrs old when we travel). Prior to having kids, we traveled extensively to fairly remote destinations. Our nightly conversation is about where and how ‘far’ to take it. The balance of adult and kid interests, the mix of culture, scenery and activities, the mix of doing enough but not too much, etc. How detailed of an itinerary should we have before leaving? If you had 2 months in South East Asia with 2 kids (age 4.5) where would you go, for how long? Based on our reading to date, we are considering Vietnam, Thailand and Bali (maybe a stop in Singapore on the way). Thank You!

    1. David Post author

      I would keep it completely flexible. I would book your first few nights in your first city and not much more. I’d try to book your return ticket home from a different city than you arrive at (e.g. fly to Bangkok, but return home from Bali) so you work your way from the first city to the last city over the course of your 2 months and not have to spend time and money backtracking.

      Being flexible is a great luxury. You’ll meet people along the way that recommend things, you’ll get a feel for what you like and don’t like in a country. If your first visit to a large temple is a bust then little point going 2 days out of your way to see Angkor Wat. Another consideration is trains which are much easier to book within the country than from outside.

      Vietnam is a great country – we loved it – but many find it the most challenging in Southeast Asia. Bali is awesome. It has a reputation (deserved in part) for being very touristy but that’s mainly just the southern tip. You could easily spend a month doing a circular tour of the the island and not see any large tour groups – just low key independent travelers. There’s so much to see there.

      Thailand is highly recommended too but pretty big and spread out so you’ll have to pick your spots wisely. Spending a week in the north and a week on both the east and west coasts would be a good general plan. Bangkok has lots to do and see but is probably the most intense, in your face, and hot/humid city in SE Asia.

      There are lots of water parks all over SE Asia so taking a day every week or so to seek one out is a lot of fun and breaks up the trip nicely. (There’s one north of Hanoi that stands out in our memory as it’s completely surrounded by rice paddies. It’s sort of surreal, you climb up to the top slide and just before you push off you glance around and see nothing but green.)

      Hope that helps, good luck.

  62. indah

    Hi. I just came across your blog and was stunned by your article. Thank you for sharing this. We were married for 2 years and with a lovely boy Edward. We didnt get chance to have our honeymoon and I’ve been ‘ranting’ to my husband that I regret that we didnt have the honeymoon. However, he begs to differ. He thinks exactly like the article that you have written. He thinks we should travel as a family and it will be even more beautiful doing so than without kids. I – on the other side- think it’s gonna be triple or four times more troublesome for parents and no parents can enjoy their trip while bringing the kids. However, reading your blog + wisdom from my hubby start to change my view and i think i’m looking forward to our next trip to bali in october. Thank you.

  63. Melissa

    Thanks, David!! This is a great story! We’re in San Francisco with the girls now & I’m using your article on SF as our guide, as suggested by Leah & Milo!

  64. Kate

    Hi David, I have been reading through some of your posts since stumbling across your site a month ago. Your story is so inspiring! I’m planning a trip to Europe or UK next September and October with my husband and two boys who will be 2.5 and almost 5. I have seen a reasonable amount of the UK and western europe, by my husband has really only seen London. I keep getting on the net to try and decide where to go and I’m finding it hugely overwhelming!! We’re coming from Australia and while we intend that this won’t be our first trip, realistically it will be a few years till we can do it again in that area of the world. How on earth do we narrow it down and decide on an itinerary!?

    We are planning to be away for 8 weeks. I imagined staying in locations for say 4 days before moving on, but I would also be happy to stay somewhere for 1-2 weeks if it was in a place that offered alot to see. We want to somehow find a balance between seeing alot, but not wearing ourselves out and finding some time to just hang out in places. We want to have a great time with our kids, and just see and do some amazing things.

    I would love to see Rome (about the only place in Italy Ive not yet seen), so we will definitely spend some time there, and I have noted your suggestions for child friendly Greek Islands so we would love to go there also. Apart from that I’m kind of stuck with where to start. I’m ‘scared’ to choose in case there is something better! I know I just have to bite the bullet, and I know we’ll have a great time, but I did want to ask you if you would have any suggestions to help me narrow down what to do? Do you think it would be wise to limit ourselves to one area of Europe and really enjoy just a few countries? Or could we see more? If you had to choose, what would you suggest?

    Excited but feeling the pressure of this great choice!


    1. David Post author

      Hi Kate. This is a dilemma I struggle with too – even after a trip. I’ve had lots of trips where I’ve seen a lot and moved-on every few days only to look back later and think, Oh, I should have settled down somewhere for a month or 2 and really gotten to know a place. On other trips when I do settle in, it’s the exact opposite. Why did I get an apartment in Athens for 3 months when I could have toured around and seen so many more islands? The grass is always greener I guess.

      If it were my trip I would first look for airline tickets that arrive and depart from different cities. Find the best price, dates, connections (for me it’s usually always price) that works for you. Then form an itinerary around those 2 cities. So I’d start plugging in dates and cities and see what comes up. Fly into London, fly out of Rome. Fly into Paris, Fly out of Athens. Fly into Amsterdam, fly out of Istanbul. You get the idea. After you get your tickets then look for one or 2 cheap budget flights that take care of some of the longer distances. The Greek Islands, in particular, can be time consuming to get to. But if you can get a direct flight, say Rome to Crete, it makes it cheap and easy. The downside is that finding those budget flights is time consuming and a hassle. Each airline has a different website and they only fly on some days, and they sell out quickly. But if you’re flexible (and have no set plans yet) then it’s easier to arrange.

      With kids your age I’d probably err on the side of more beach time and save the big cities for when they’re a few years older. So the south of France, and coastal Italy, and the Greek Islans would be high on my list.

      Good luck.

      1. Kate

        THankyou very much for your reply David. We will definitely take your advice re flying in and out of two different cities, and I also like the idea of southern France. I am wondering what to do in terms of getting around from place to place (when not flying). Would you recommend hiring car seats for children in Europe or bringing our own? I can’t really stand the thought of lugging them around, but I also want to be sure of safety…

        1. David Post author

          Train is the best way to get around Europe – and then you don’t have to worry about car seats or airport security. Train stations are usually centrally located so they’re easy to get to unlike the airports that serve budget flights which can be 30 or 40 miles outside of the city. A Eurail pass can be good if you’re do a lot of moving. For just 3 or 4 train trips though it’s usually better to buy individual tickets. For the best fares book through the country rail site (e.g. the Italian rail site not the Eurail site). This is an excellent site for info on taking the train in Europe: Seat61. Good luck.

    2. Jennifer

      Jealous of your 8 weeks! We just spent 10 days in Denmark with our three – 1, 4, and 6. We found it so kid friendly – Copenhagen was fantastic for families, and almost everywhere had child areas in museums, castles, etc. So, while it might sound odd, Scandinavia might be an area to consider with children, too. And I totally agree on the flights in and out of different cities. I kicked myself for not doing that. We went four different places within Denmark and that felt rushed in 10 days.

  65. Mishka

    I’m a single mom of a just turned two year old girl. I promised myself when she was born that I would take her to a few states a year and at least one other country. Here she has turned 2 and we’ve still just been in the US, though I will give myself credit that I have been single since before she was born, and we did have to weather through moving to the Pacific Northwest. I’m so looking forward to traveling with her. We’ve already flown 15 times domestically. We are going to Canada soon, and also planning a trip to Spain. Your blog is inspiring! Thank you for taking the time to blog your experiences. :)

  66. Sarah

    Thank you for this post…I couldn’t agree more. We just got back last month from a trip to France for a wedding and then a car trip to Italy with our 20 month-old son. We were the only parents in our group that took our child(ren) with us. We got a lot of comments along the lines of “We never could have had this trip with kids in tow.”. Honestly, we never would have had the trip we had without our son in tow. We came along a very crabby Frenchwoman who gave our group no end of fits. Then came our son who started playing with her and blowing her kisses. That mean old woman softened up and as we were leaving gave him the sweetest hug.

    I agree wholeheartedly that travel with a child is tons of work. But honestly, what I remember from all the trips we’ve been on with our son, what I remember the most are moments like the one with the woman in France. Or the grandmother in Hawaii who came and loved on our son during lunch. Or the roaming mariachi band in Cabo who kept playing at our table because our son kept dancing through every song and then clapping and saying, “More!” at the end of every song. You are right…it’s those memories, rather than the “bad day” memories that really stick with a person. Thanks for reminding me of that!

  67. KEEN Recess Team

    Love this post! I’m writing on behalf of the KEEN Recess Team. Recess is a rallying cry for kids and adults to get outside and make their own playground. Thanks for sharing your inspiring stories and motivating others to lead an active, healthy lifestyle.

    KEEN Recess Team

  68. naomi

    Love this post! We’ve lived in three countries in the last five years with our young kids and that mix of experiences – besides the short trips we’ve fit in to explore the regions we’ve called home – has created a truly incredible time for them, and for my husband and me. It is almost impossible to compare how broad our kids’ world is now with my own at that age and with their peers who’ve stayed in one suburb their whole lives. Yes, it requires a mighty effort and lots of planning, as you said, but their young appreciation of difference (culture, appearance, language, food, lifestyle and more) is probably one of the greatest gifts they will ever receive. And kids love travel and new places – it awakens their curiosity to so many new ideas. Yes, there’ve been some meltdowns on trains and in airports, but every second has been worth it! Thanks for reminding me to start planning the next trip.

  69. Dee

    Hello David. Spot on. We also traveled with our children when they were young. We roughed it. Now we are old (60’s) and have some minor health problems but are looking to enjoy our first trip without children. September, (Greece ?-open to suggestions) for 10-14 days from the land-locked US. Not too hot weather (age, you know) but would possibly like some snorkeling, some hiking with beautiful views and bicycles or something and preferably rent a place for home-make meals and keep refrigerated meds (insulin). Also, we are an interracial couple Your thoughts (pretend we are your parents, but older :) ) THX!!

    1. David Post author

      September is a great time to visit Greece but it can still get very hot when and if a heat-wave hits so don’t be assuming anything temperate. Kos is known for its cycling because of its flatness but that lack of physical features also makes it a bit boring. Folegandros and Crete are great for walks and hiking (but so are many of the islands).

      For longer term accommodations use – but they can be comparatively hard to find in Greece, especially as most people like to bounce around the islands and don’t stay in one place long enough to make it worthwhile. is the best website for finding hotel deals.

      Hope that helps.

      Good luck.

  70. Cynthia

    Thank you so much for sharing!! I love to travel!! And now that we have two boys, 1 year old and 5 year old, I can’t think of a better way to spend our vacation. My oldest son has been travelling since he was 2 years old. Our youngest has already been in Caribbean for a week. Although flying can be a challenge, I’m inspired to try different things with my youngest.
    In July we are going to spend about a little over two weeks travelling in Europe. We will be in Rome for a couple days and then we get on cruise for 13 nights. For me I love getting a sneak preview of many different places.
    With Shutterfly, I’m going to create little books to remind our sons of our adventures. THANKS again!!

  71. Melanie

    This is sooo inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing this. My husband and I have a nearly 3 year old daughter and a nearly 5 year old son. I so badly want to go travelling with them. I was thinking of travelling and living in a country for a bit but I don’t want to be caught up with the 9-5 in another country and miss the whole joy of travelling. What would you recommend? Just purely travel for a year or try and live in a totally new culture for a year and work there. I should mention I’m a teacher so International schools are an option.
    Any advice would help.
    Thank you so much again for your inspirational words.
    I know my kids would LOVE it.

    1. David Post author

      That’s a tough call as both styles have their appeal. Get to know a culture and immerse your family in the everyday life of a different country. Or travel around and see a bunch of different places – but don’t get to know any one place very well. A bit of both can be an option too. Base yourself in Bali (for example) and then take a trip to different SE Asian places every few months: Singapore, Bangkok, Saigon, Kuala Lumpur – all have cheap direct flights from Bali. Staying in one spot instead of always being on the move will cut costs substantially, so there’s that to consider too.

      Good luck.

  72. Kim

    What a fantastic resource of information your site has been, thank you. With the web its often hard to narrow down good Info, and this site has been that. I am just planning a Trip to Thailand with my husband and children, for a month. We have been fortunate enough to found our long lost family from Chang Mai there and so it will envitably been a remarkable adventure. The resouces you have provided me, help to break it down. I especiallyl like the “what not to do” kids saftey tips. Good reminders.

  73. marie

    Love this article. As much as a break would be nice, I would never feel right traveling without my kids. For me, a mom, I love vacations because it’s the one time that I don’t have to clean up so much like I do at home. It’s a break in that sense. Yes, it’s hard to travel with kids, but they are only kids for so long and the memories are worth it.

  74. Daisy

    Hi David

    well i’ve got to say your very inspiring, and this is something i’ve wanted to do for so long, but i’ve always allowed myself to be talked out of it. Until now!
    my children are 12,10 and 8 and i’m thinking about travelling for six months, how much ground do you think we could cover in that time?I really want to see India and parts of Asia and Canada. I wouldn’t know how much time to allow in each country, have you got any ideas on this?
    Also what kind of budget do you need to travel economicaly but confortably for a family of 5?
    Really appreciate your time thank you x

    1. David Post author

      For India I’d allow at least a month, though you could easily spend 3 or 4 months there and not get bored. India does tend to wear on you after a while and after about 6 to 8 weeks it’s nice to get a break. (Unless you’re just hanging out in Goa in which case you’ll never want to leave.) For a typical route through SE Asia you’ll need at least 2 months. You could start in Bali, through Java, hop over to Singapore, up Malaysia, through Thailand, and then overland to Vietnam through either Cambodia or Laos. A shorter version of this is into Singapore and then up through Thailand to Bangkok. Canada is huge of course, and could eat up as much time as you want, so you’d have to pick just a few cities or areas and focus on them. I hope that helps.

      1. Daisy

        Thanks David thats great. I know its a bit like how long is a piece of string, but how much would you budget to travel in the East per month? any kind of guidance here would be great.

        1. David Post author

          There’s a huge range. A family could do it on $60 to $70 a day or could easily spend up to $200 a day (and far more if you wanted to). It’s all about where you eat, where you sleep, and how you travel.

  75. Paul

    Mate your site is wicked…My wife, 20 month daughter and me are about to embark on a tour of the world and i am still feeling very nevous and extremely excited, but reading your articles gives me belief that i am not alone…cheers and keep travelling..

  76. belinda

    Thanks for the great post David. As a world wide traveller myself and the understanding of how important it is for a childs eduaction to travel, I am returning to Australia and in the process of starting a Holiday Nanny agency, encouraging families to travel and explore, and if they need the help of a nanny is at hand for any sticky situation.

    You have made my outlook on this idea much more positive.


  77. Jennifer

    Thanks for the great post. We’re planning a trip to Denmark (and maybe Norway) for this summer with our three (6,4,1) and it is nice to see encouragement out there! We’ve done a couple international trips with them but it sure does seem daunting in the planning stages. Nice to see the reminder of all the good it does!

  78. Amelia

    Very inspiring post! We are planning a trip to Bali this summer with my toddler – she will be 20 months at the time of the trip. The thought of a long flight is nerve-racking, but we’ll get through it!

  79. Beth Manners

    Hi David,
    My kids are almost grown now. They remember trips to Normandy and Italy and now have done some traveling without us. College study abroad was a must for my daughter and she was so comfortable because she had done so much traveling with us.

  80. Lei

    Ok….that may have just been the best damn 3 minutes I have spent on a Monday morning when I should be working.

    So – this is my dilemna…

    I have a one year old, hubbie and I are first time parents. Our son is just starting to develop his personality. lol. So he’s in bed at 8 p.m….like…ON THE DOT. If not – his head starts to spin.

    So then the doubt settles in…we plan a trip…to Europe, maybe Italy? All of these beautiful things to see, the Vatican, Spanish Steps….Mona Lisa…and you can’t take a moment to breathe it in because…oh wait…that wailing overtired kid is…is mine. LOL

    He’s one now, and I find myself thinking, is a trip to Europe worth it if we can’t truly appreciate the art and the museums and all the cultural wonders such a beautiful city like Rome has to offer?

    I have one week. And I’ve never done this before. But I don’t want to scale back and not experience a totally different culture by heading to the Carribean. (I’m Carribean so it’s all too familiar for me). Our son loves water and we want to head over in low season and we want beach weather because our kid will just LOVE it. THinking March or April (most likely April)

    So – what country do we hit with a one year old with warm water nearby? Also, we are traveling from NJ if that helps. I know you get a LOT of this question, but it would be really helpful.

    1. David Post author

      Hi Lei. In Europe you won’t be swimming anywhere in March or April. So if swimming is important then you’ll have to head south: Mexico, Costa Rica, Venezuela. Or Southeast Asia. That said, you could get a nice hotel in Rome with a swimming pool (look here: It’s not like being on a Greek beach but your child will probably love it. Rome is great for walking so be sure you have a good baby carrier as strollers won’t work well on the cobblestoned streets. As for the sleeping, I’d start encouraging some flexibility in your son before you leave home and see how it goes. Probably better than you think. Most kids are pretty resilient.

  81. Melissa Pizarro

    I grew up traveling. I can’t tell you how much it has broadened my perspective on life. Now a single Mom, not having gone anywhere lately, I’m dying to get us OUT! Expat/Sabatical style! My bright and spunky daughter is resistant, I know my battery will wear down being ON all the time, less friends and family… But, it would enrich her life tenfold. Daunting but worth the payoff. Any tips?

  82. Kylie from NZ

    What an inspiring post!

    We are squirreling away every spare penny for what would have been an around the world trip but has been downsized to a 4 month long journey from Canada down to South America ( or the other way around ). Do you have any ideas on the best way to get the most out of this trip? We have a tight budget so any suggestions on the most efficient itinerary would be great!! We will be bringing along our two young boys aged 8 and 4.


    1. David Post author

      The single best way to save money on a trip is to spend a longer time in each place. This way, you obviously save on the actual travel expenses associated with moving around (e.g. plane tickets) but costs also fall when you can commit to one place for longer. Accommodations are cheaper for longer stays. You get to know the cheap places to eat. You get into more of a routine where you can eat at predictable times (e.g. breakfast at home). So it’s really a great way to keep costs down. And you get to see more of where you’re at. Meet the locals. Get some favorite hangouts. So it’s win/win. (Sort of. You, of course, don’t get to see as many places.)

    2. Ramsey

      Having lived in Mexico for a yearand travelled many times to Guatemala (before my daughter was born), I recommend finding rural, less travelled beaches to hang a hammock and you’ll save a lot of money. e.g. La Barra de Zacapulco in Chiapas.
      Also shop at the open markets and not at the supermarkets and cook your own food often. Take the big yellow, uncomfortable, former school buses, which means not only saving money, but also travelling as the locals do.
      Visit the less touristy places, where the locals asking if you want help, really just want to help you as opposed to the ones in touristy cities trying to get you on the wrong bus or sell you tickets to an excursion that will never happen.
      Finally, know Spanish! Many people in Latin America don’t speak Spanish very well, but the older generation mostly don’t speak English at all.

  83. Ali

    Great post. We went travelling with a 2 yr old and 5 month old round Costa Rica for 2 months – best way to spend your maternity leave!!! Like you say everyone wants to talk to you and your kids – get to see some real local life – everyone should do it. We are now starting to think about a year of travelling with our 2 boys – very excited!!!

  84. Portland

    Brilliant piece, it brought a lump to my throat. It’s so true – get your kids on that plane and get out there – now. We’ve been taking our kids (aged 15, 10 and 7) everywhere we can afford to go for a few years now and it’s everything I dreamed it would be and more. The experiences and memories that you share bind you together as a family. Watching your kids play together after a long holiday you’re struck by just how tight they’ve become in a way that wouldn’t happen at home – too many distractions. Awesome blog!

  85. Tricia


    Very inspiring blog…….

    We plan to go to japan this december with my 5 kids… Just me and husband and the kids. I have been having second thoughts on weather or not we can survive this vacation, because 5 kids are a handful! (ages :8,5,4,2,1). Reading your blog is very helpful and inspiring. And now i feel more confident and excited about our vacation.
    Please tell me that its not insane to bring my 5 kids with just me and husband to look after them! I mean i can deal with the kids ( i got 3 boys), i don’t know with hubby though……

    Thank you..and keep on inspiring people especially families…

  86. Michelle

    Thank you for this article and the others on your website. I’m very happily pregnant with my first child. International travel has been my favorite thing to do for the past 10 years and I made the mistake of flipping through a glossy travel brochure right before going to bed tonight. It sent me into a panic that I’ll be stuck at home for the next 10+ years of my life. I got quite emotional and didn’t know who to talk to… Your articles have calmed me down and provided me with inspiration. Thanks for putting me at ease!

  87. joe from calgary

    Hi David,

    The only way i can describe travelling with my wife and children accurately is it’s become my top hobby. The planning, the research, the experiences etc. cannot be compared to anything that i do for just myself. Your site is a great idea. I have a quick question, I was considering going to Cabo San Lucas (staying at Villa La Estancia) in April, have been to the Mayan Riviera many times, would Cabo be too wild an atmosphere or you think make a nice beach getaway?
    thanks and happy travels

    1. David

      Hi Joe. I think Cabo can make a great family getaway. It’s a favorite stop of many people we know. There are a number of different smaller towns where you can get away from the party scene. I hope that helps. Good luck.

  88. Lisa

    Excellent blog! Our kids took their first international flights when they were 3 months and 4, from San Francisco to London. (Perhaps a mistake to do this flight on my own, but we survived!) When they were 2 and 6 we decided to take an expat gig in India and haven’t looked back. They’re now 4 and 8, and we’ve traveled in 7 countries in the past two years (India, Thailand, Qatar, Turkey, Oman, Jordan, and the U.S.), and are heading to Greece (Athens and Kefalonia) next week. Traveling with kids definitely provides access to people in a way that traveling without them doesn’t, and more often than not locals go out of their way to be helpful.

    Our most memorable trip so far was to Petra, where we sent the kids up the side of a cliff (essentially) on donkeys while we walked (farther and farther) behind. When we got almost to the top we found them sitting happily in a shack having sodas with the donkey minders, huge grins on their faces. It often takes a leap of faith, but is absolutely worth it.

    Tip about flying: We have both girls pack a small backpack with their plane/travel essentials (whatever they choose, edited a bit with mom’s assistance + change of clothes). They must be able to carry the packs themselves (not too heavy), so have to think about what they want to take. Somehow “owning” this responsibility gives them focus in the airport, going through security, etc. Backpacks double as pillows during layovers. I also pack dollar store-type items in zip lock bags to give out as needed on the plane. I don’t worry about finding them if they get dropped or lost in the seats, just leave ’em behind. Jellybeans are magic, too. And lately we’ve added iPod touches, which have saved us more than once during airport waits! I keep them in my bag and use only as needed.

  89. bec

    i have just stumbled onto your site. You are a genius!! I am planning a trip with my husband and little kids (2 & 4) in approx a years time and this has been a great starting point.
    i have especially loved your introduction above as to the importance of travelling with kids. SOOOOO EXCITED!!!! We are Australian and planning a 4 month holiday including Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Hong Kong. I cant wait to have some more spare time (hard with littlies!!) to read more of your site.
    thanks for the inspiration!

  90. sachelle

    just wanted to say what a great post! I travelled with my 22 month old earlier this year to New Zealand and Oz and he took the whole experience to another level, with more excitement than I could possibly have imagined. I have been fortunate to have had 4 kids (the other 3 are 17 years and upwards and I never had the guts to travel very far with them when they were younger – wish I had.

  91. Alicia from Idaho

    “You’ve got a window … and it’s closing … from the moment they’re born it’s closing.”

    Thanks for the reminder – this is an inspirational post.

  92. Sarah from Australia

    Am hoping your blog energises my husband – I’m dying to get out on the road again travelling – but my husband is very resistant unless it involves a kids club. I don’t want to wait until my two boys (now aged 5 and 2) are older – particularly as I’m about to hit the big 40. I have so much more of the world to visit and the experience will be only richer with my two very energetic boys. Fingers crossed your website can help in getting husband over the line for a trip to Vietnam this year.

  93. Aroura Alessandro

    I love this, I totally agree with everything you have said!
    My friends were not very encouraging when I told them I wanted to go travelling with the children they said I was mad, a day dreamer, said it was impossible!
    I’ve done research and many families go travelling like yourselves along with several single parents… So I say if they can do it why can’t I?

    I have no idea when we will be going yet, there is much to plan for and soooooooo much saving up to do for the 2 kiddiewinkles and myself!

    When planning the budget do I just times everything by 3 or will most things be cheaper with 2 younger children? And do most hostels allow for children to stay?

    I’m looking forward to reading all your other sections in this blog for tips and inspiration!

    People such as yourselves are such an inspiration to me… Keep up the good work you guys x

    1. David Post author

      Hi Aroura. Things are not as expensive as just times-ing by 3. You only pay for a hotel room once regardless of how many people stay there. Yes, you will require a bigger room that costs a bit more (maybe) — but not 3x more. Food usually requires a bit more of an increase but you can share meals much more easily and kids don’t eat as much as adults — so once again, more, but not 3x more.

      And yes, nearly all hotels wil accept children, and if they don’t it should be noted very prominently on their website that they don’t.

      I hope that helps.

  94. Matt

    You convinced me! OK, I was convinced before reading this but you definitely reinforced my own belief that travel with kids is not only possible but has great advantages for a family. We are planning our own travel escape with a 1 year sabbatical to Indonesia (my wife’s country). So glad I found your site as you have lots of resources for the planning process.

  95. Lindsey van Niekerk

    I love this! My husband and I are working on starting a family and we have already decided that travelling with them is a MUST! Thanks for the encouragement!!

  96. Megan

    Thanks for saying so well what I am always trying to tell friends, even strangers about traveling with kids! Having done it both ways, I have to say I think I learn more about the world with my kids than without them. I check off more “must see sights” without them, but thats not really what its all about is it?

    I am going to send your post on!

  97. Talya


    As others who have already commented, I agree that parents should travel with their kids “now” and not at some magic point in the future when they are ready … My husband and I recently moved to Berlin, in part because we want our kids to have a broad world view from early on. No better way to give them that than by actually going places!


  98. Nancy from Michigan

    Hi David,
    Thanks for the inspiration. I have been wavering about whether or not to take my 22 month old twins to visit some dear friends in Germany. The flight intimidates me, but I feel we can manage the rest. Any thoughts on keeping a toddler happy in a confined space for five hours?

    Thanks – Nancy

    1. David Post author

      Hi Nancy. Thanks for the comment. Here are some ideas for flying with kids:

      1. Start with the right attitude. Don’t make it about “surviving” or “enduring”, use positive language. Make it exciting. The airplane ride is just as much a part of travel as the trip to the beach or museum, so be focused on what makes it unique and memorable. You know, one day your kids will be grown up and childhood will be long in their past. And you’ll wish you had even this airplane-time back so you could sit together and read books and make up stories about where each of the other passengers are going. So make it special. Obviously the younger they are the less it’s about the experience and the more it’s about managing the essentials, but even 2 year olds will pick up on this special occasion and the more you capitalize on that feeling the better the flight will be.

      2. Board last — or near last. I’m never in any hurry to get on the plane. Hang out in the waiting area as long as you can. You’ll have plenty of time in your seat during the flight.

      3. Take a small surprise — maybe a Hot Wheels car, or some new trinket — to open during the flight. I wouldn’t want to overdo this. As I said above, I think your attitude should be more about experiencing the moment than distracting everyone from it. But you will need some “things” to entertain them, and a new toy can be an exciting tempo change for everyone.

      I hope that helps a little. Good luck and let me know if you have any more questions.

      1. Donna

        We have always travelled withour boys 4 and 6 but did Europe when they were 2 and 4. Small sticker books are great, any age can do this, also our youngest loved sticker pages, often ending up with them all over his face but kept him amused for ages. Also had mini magic boards (you write on them and then it comes off , magnetic I think) you can buy them from the $2 dollar shops. Also let the boys have a small digital camera, to snap off during flights, you cna always delete the pics.

  99. Amy B. from Texas (by way of Maryland)

    Would just like to add to this encouraging, worthwhile entry that travel within your home country is completely valid, too.

    My husband and I lived overseas and travelled extensively pre-baby, but felt a bit daunted by overseas travels the first few years, so we opted for long road-trips here in the U.S. instead. Places we’d never been – which are plentiful and will continue to provide plenty of travel opportunities.

    Our son is now 4 and I think we’re finally ready. I’ll probably be back for inspiration and encouragement this new year!

    1. David Post author

      That’s a great point Amy. There are so many great places to see in our own country — in any country! — and often we overlook attractions that are near to home, for the simple reason that they’re not “foreign” enough. I also think much of what makes family travel so special is the extended period of time together that many families don’t get to enjoy on a regular basis. A stretch of a week or 2 or 3 together, day in, day out, really has a unique feel to it. And families often end their trip and feel incredibly close and connected to each other — and this can occur regardless of where you’re traveling.

      1. Amy B. from Texas (by way of Maryland)

        Finally ready for overseas travel, I mean.

        Even within the States, there are cultural differences to experience and it’s been a bit enlightening to discover that – differences born of landscape, job opportunities, resources. It’s beneficial to learn and appreciate the subtle differences within one’s home country. To appreciate the diversity in one’s “own backyard.”

  100. Melanie

    I totally agree that traveling with kids is something you should just do… Dont’ hesitate, just do it.
    I found that it made us slow down and smell the roses more if you know what I mean!

  101. Kristin from Bermuda

    David, AMAZING blog post.

    I have only recently developed an obsession with travel. I run an expedition programme for teens, and over the last few years have had the opportunity to spend time in Namiba, Borneo, Costa Rica & Nicaragua. Last year my 13 year old was able to meet me in Borneo, and we had an amazing adventure.

    Reading this blog does make me wish we’d had more chances to travel together when he was younger, and it also reinforces my desire to do more now! We are going to spend 2 weeks in Hong Kong/Singapore in December, and perhaps a bit more in Thailand.

    We’re very excited – and I’ve been spreading the word of ‘gifts of travel’ for our kids. Instead of buying my son stuff he doesn’t need for xmas (and his b’day which is the day after xmas!), I’m sooo happy I’ll be giving him an experience he’ll never forget.

    Thank you so much for this web site …

  102. Cheryl

    I really enjoyed this post, and am going to print it out to keep. The line about only having a window of time…and it’s closing, is absolutely the reason we recently took an extended trip. Our son is 13 and yes, the window is closing. Remarkably, our travels gave us a larger opening to his world. As he was pulling away toward high school, travels brought our family closer. Now that we are back, he is enfolded deeper in our home world. This is why we travel, for what we learn abroad and how it changes us forever!
    Thank you for putting it into words….

    1. David Post author

      Thanks Cheryl. I love your site too. Great photos. You’ve really captured the places you’ve visited.

  103. Nicci from South Africa

    Hi David
    This post is absolutely wonderful and has really got me stirred up to do some serious planning. We are looking at doing a round-the-world next year with our 3 & 4 year old including Thailand, Australia, Canada, Colorado, Greek Isles & Turqoise coast. Initially I was a bit aprehensive about being away for such a long time with the kids but reading all the responses here I have come to realise that not only is it do-able but a really great idea to boot. Thanks for an informative and helpful blog and keep it up.

    1. David Post author

      Thanks Nicci. Every time I read someone’s trip plans, I think to myself — we gotta get back out there, get back on the road. How exciting, your trip sounds wonderful. I’m sure you’ll love it. I think you’ll be amazed at how many great experiences you’ll have with the kids — and because of the kids — that you wouldn’t have on your own. I was just saying to someone the other day how much more my wife and I do on trips now that we have kids. Every day has a plan, an event, something we think about and plan and get out there and do. (Or almost every day.)

      Have fun.

  104. ursula,vienna-austria

    we just returned from tuscany and greece and as we live in austria for us it is near.i would say that it is not necessary to stay in athens more than 1 day only if you want to visit museums. if you have time go and see the cyclades what island ever each one is interesting and lovely.we have viseted about 20 different islands.
    if you have time and you must not go from ancona( italy ) to patras (greece ) take the big ferry from venice ( anek lines ) to patras.
    you can see more of italy and it`s wonderful to drive on the Canale Grande with the ferry. Nice holydays ursula

  105. Su-Ann from KL, Malaysia

    Hey David, I’m so glad my husband found your blog! It totally speaks our language. This article really hit it, it’s definitely like how we would want to travel :) And the Greek stories are great too, we’re going there with our 2 yr old and in-laws, after Tuscany. Definitely excited about Greece, I love The Big Blue! Thanks for sharing your stories, they put a smile on my face :)

      1. Su-Ann from KL, Malaysia

        Actually David, do yo have any good suggestions for Tuscany? We’ll probably start from Rome, road trip around Tuscany then back and head to Greece. We’re thinking a week (or less) in Tuscany, and a bit more in Athens and Cyclades (as per your suggestion). Would be great if you have some ideas! thx!

        1. David Post author

          Hi Su-Ann. Everyone likes Florence and Pisa and the popular places in Tuscany of course, but I’ll add that Siena would be a great stop for kids and adults alike – not as busy as Florence, it has a huge open square in the center of town to run around in, very nice to walk about with large sections of the city having little or no traffic, there’s a bustling town center with great pastry and gelato shops, and quiet alleyways leading every which way that are fun to explore and see where they take you. You will have to do a lot of walking – and much of it up and down hills so be prepared for that. I suspect a stroller would be close to useless once you get off the main streets, so be sure you have a good baby carrier.

          Perugia as well is a great place that’s easy to overlook. The city center and square are situated on top of a hill and accessed by underground walkways, alleys and staircases – now equipped with escalators – it’s really an incredible place to explore. There’s an incredible amount of great stuff to see and discover right around the town center, so no need to worry about transportation or parking (once you’re parked). Highly recommended.

          Gubbio is an interesting town a short bus ride from Perugia if you’re looking for a quiet town to visit.

          Not sure if you were flying from Rome or taking the ferry across to Greece. There are “Superfast” ferries that leave from Ancona – about a 100 miles east of Perugia – to Igoumenitsa (near Corfu) and Patras (on the Peloponnese) in Greece. Saves a return trip to Rome but doesn’t work very well with a trip to the Cyclades as they’re still a ways away from Patras. (But lots of great islands and beaches on the west coast of Greece.)

          Hope that gives you some ideas.

  106. Qish

    Hi David!
    thanks for sharing ur experience. it’s very informative and helpful. i’m planning to go to Hanoi next year with my kid. will study ur blog first!
    thanks :)

    1. David Post author

      Thanks Qish. Hanoi is a great city. And once you get used to the traffic and getting across the street is a lot of fun for kids. (Be sure to do the water parks and visit the swimming pool at the Army hotel.) If you have any questions about planning your trip to Vietnam let me know.

      All the best, David

  107. Karen

    Hi David,

    Thanks very much for your comments, it’s great to hear other people’s experiences and positive attitudes towards travelling with kids. I’ve actually found many people (predominately those who have the annual 2 week package holiday in the sun with their kids packed off to the hotel’s kids club) have delighted in telling me just how difficult it’s going to be, that I’ll be on my own without any support, that the kids will find the culture shock too much..and it makes me want to scream!
    Your blog shows just how wrong such assertions are, kids can fit in anywhere and take anything in their stride and really really love all the new experiences parents can allow them to have. It’s quite sad that many parents feel that they couldn’t possibly take off on an adventure with their own children without having to focus on the difficulties and potential problems.
    The reason I decided to do this trip was because, as a mature student at university, I have many friends in their early 20’s who have done the backpacking thing. One returned from S.E Asia in December and I commented to her that I wish I had travelled more in my 20’s instead of concentrating on my career – her response was ‘why not do it now?’ to which I replied ‘what? with two kids?’, she gave me a look to say ‘is that your only excuse?’ so literally straight after our conversation I went to the travel agent and bought our flights! The past few months have been fantastic – the kids have thrown themselves into looking through guidebooks and travel blogs, watching youtube videos of people crossing the streets in Vietnam and Tess never has her phrasebook out of her hand! They both loved the photos of your boys – in particular the sand dunes!
    I was wondering if you would mind giving me a bit of advice? We are planning on taking a boat trip along the Mekong Delta for a few days then catching a speed boat to Siem Reap where we have organised work in a community project. I saw in your blog that you had gone to the Mekong Delta independently. I had considered looking for a tour company to do this with in HCMC. I just wondered how easy you found it to organise on your own? I’ve read mixed reviews about tour companies but then I don’t want to be stuck trying to organise boats, hotels etc.. myself. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!



    1. David Post author

      That’s a great story. Inspiring. I hope others are inspired by it too and go out there and book some tickets.

      As for the Mekong, yes we did a day trip around Ben Tre and My Tho, but it wasn’t nearly long enough. (Hard to believe we had a month in Vietnam and still ran out of time.) It is a bit more involved, when you do it on your own. I personally think it’s worth it. The boat part will be pretty easy. If you get a bus to Can Tho or Vinh Long I’m just sure that they’ll be a number of different places where you can hire a boat relatively easily. The more in control of your trip you are, I think there’s something inherently rewarding about that. Something about being told what to do, ok now we’re switching buses, ok now into the boat, can sometimes make it feel a little old and tiring.

      If you did decide on doing a tour however, HCMC’s backpacker district has at least a half-dozen places that will book your trip, you can go by boat or bus or both depending on where and for how long. I believe you can get a boat that will take you right up to the Cambodian border – not sure where you’re catching your speed boat.

  108. Carina

    We are planning our 2 month campervan holiday in Europe as we speak! YEAH! I am apprehensive but I cant wait. Our kids are 2 and 5 respectively!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. David Post author

      Sounds like fun. Now that’s freedom. What country do you want to go to today? Check out the guest post from Carol Mickelsen, the author of Camping Europe, on Camping in Europe with kids.

      I hope we get to hear more about your travels!

  109. Karen

    Hi David,

    I chanced upon your blog tonight as I was doing a bit of planning for our forthcoming visit to Vietnam and Cambodia. I’m off in 6 weeks time, single mum with two kids aged 10 and 8. Your blog has made me feel so much more at ease and even more excited for us! Many people think I must be mad to go off on my own with 2 children for 7 weeks but as you said why find yourself wishing you had done all these things instead of actually just doing them! I fully expect there to be times that may be a bit ‘trying’ but then again that would happen when tavelling with other adults (in fact it would be worse – adults aren’t so easily bought over with ice cream!). Thanks for the fantastic blog!

    1. David Post author

      Hi Karen. I think I said this just the other day to another reader, but it’s equally true and heartfelt here. The people like you who are taking their first steps to travel, to get out there with their kids, you’re an inspiration as well. There’s something so special about that first trip.

      It’s just so damn exciting. You can feel it. I can feel it in your comment. Where are we going? What’s going to happen? You have no clue other then it’s going to be great, and memorable, and unique. IT’S going to be your trip. I think that’s a big difference between a vacation and a trip. Between being a tourist and being a traveler. On a vacation you know what’s going to happen. You know the general layout. Oh, you might get a surprise like they put an extra scoop of ice cream on Mikey’s dessert and he was so happy. But with the exception of running into an earthquake or a hurricane it’s going to be pretty much like what you thought. Pretty darn close anyways.

      But when you travel, it’s really about letting go. It sort of feels like you have this tether, and you’re testing how far it can go and you don’t know what’s out there but you’re gonna take a look. And when you get back, well, there’s usually one thing you can say for sure, and that’s “It wasn’t anything like what I expected.”

      And from then on it’s just the memories. I hope I’m right on this Karen. I hope for both our sakes I’m right on this. But I’m pretty sure that when you’re older and you’re retired and you’re looking back on this trip and looking through photos you’ll never regret it. You’ll never say I wish I had that money back or done something else with my time – been back at home for those 6 weeks, living life as usual. I’m sure you’ll look at the photo of your kids walking down the beach together or the one where they’re wandering through a little village in Cambodia and you’ll wish you could jump right back into that picture.

      I just got back from a trip to Japan with my two kids. It was just me – my wife couldn’t get the time off work – and it was great. It was a lot, you really don’t get any down time, but hey, in another 8 or 10 or 12 more years, when they’re older and more independent, you can have as much down time as you want.

      One thing I always tell people is, don’t blame the hard days on the travel. You have hard days at home. I’m sure you’ve had hard days with your kids. When it happens on a bus from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, try not to drop your head and say, I never should have come on this trip. You’d be having the same argument at home with your kids except you’d blame it on a sleepover or a soccer game or a trip to the swimming pool.

      I always find that my kids get along better when we’re traveling. They know the other one is their only playmate (at least most of the time) so they’ve got to make it work or they’ll be on their own.

      Good luck and stay in touch,

  110. John

    Nice post. We have travelled in Europe, West Coast Canada and the Caribbean on a number of occasions with our young kids. Some people wonder why we do it “when they won’t remember it anyway” to which we reply “we will remember it”. It’s much more than just that though.
    True, they may not remember trips taken when they were young but they will be influenced by and benefit from the experience. To experience new sites, sounds, smells and tastes opens their minds and shapes their personalities in a positive way. The joy of seeing your children encounter new cultures is well worth the added work and cost it takes. Finally we have found that when we travel without them (which is not often) we miss them so much it lessens the experience.
    It should be acknowledged that traveling with your children is more expensive and while we are fortunate enough to afford it (just) not every one is, further a little travel for mum and dad without kids has its advantges too!!

    1. David Post author

      Good points. What if we allowed the idea “will they remember it?” to govern all our decisions on what to expose them to. It’s hard to think of anything really interesting you’d do with them. But of course it’s not just about them remembering it. It’s about their growth and development. What they take as normal and what they see as weird.

      1. Scott

        I know that my 3 year old already does not remember travelling the world for 6 months when she was 18 months old, but my 6 year old has endless ‘flash-backs’ and talks through them until we can tel him where and when it happened. I doubt he will ever forget building a plaster volcano and making it erupt, while camping… in a volcano… in Italy, and he was only 4 at the time! I am 38 and still talk through ‘flash-backs’ with my parents who were prolific travellers with us as kids, often they say “I can’t believe you remember that, you must have only been about 5!” I might not remember it exactly the same way they do, but it’s a memory nonetheless.

  111. Jen

    I love this so much. It sums up every feeling that I have about traveling with my kids. It is amazing how many doors your children can unlock, both in your home country and others. We have seen and experienced things we would never have been able to if we didn’t have our children with us. We have stopped by fountains, birds, and grassy pastures that my husband and I wouldn’t have even noticed had we been on our own.

    1. David Post author

      Indeed. Slowing down and noticing all the little things. Kids are good at that. They’re good at spotting ice cream shops too. Remarkably good.

  112. Lucia


    I especially love your point about forming connections in a very different way while traveling with kids…searching for our daughter’s lost bunny in Istanbul’s Grand Bazarre, chatting with Italian parents while our kids play soccer in the piazza with their kids, pit stops on the side of the road in rural Thailand…all some of our favorite travel memories that never would have happened without our kids.

    Great post!

    1. David Post author

      I read once that having a dog in Germany is a good way to break the ice with strangers. Somehow, very reserved and cautious Germans will readily talk with someone who has a dog. Not that I’m comparing dogs and kids, but they both work as a great introduction to people who would otherwise slip by as total strangers that shared nothing.

      1. Nadine

        I moved to Germany from Canada 3 yrs ago. I have a small dog, very friendly and approachable. I too always try to have a smile on my face when traveling around Germany and exploring. But I have to say, not once has having my dog with me helped to “break the ice” with strangers … I still haven’t quite figured out how to do that here … yet. I have not given up :)

        1. Playground

          I’ll never forget how we once visited a charity shop in England with our children and chatted with the owners, two wonderfully charming old ladies. After a couple of minutes they asked us where we came from, and when we outed ourselves as germans, one would say with utter disbelief: “But you’re so NICE?”

        2. Z

          Dear Nadine,
          I don’ t know when you posted this but I really hope that you have met some friendlier Germans since ;-).
          I am a German myself, married to a Canadian who lives in Germany with me. There is a couple of things i want to say concerning your situation. First of all, I really think it depends on where you live in Germany. I am originally from Cologne and had to move to the south due to my husband’s work and I have to say that I found it much harder to get to know people there… After a few years there now, I have very close friends. I think it just takes a bit longer to break the ice down there.
          Having said that, I have to admit that Germans are in general (well, at least the ones I know) not as “over” friendly as Canadians or Americans. We are more reserved but when we smile at someone or when we say that we really like something we mean it. For most Germans I know, including myself, one of the most important character trait is to be honest about things and to openly talk about what you like and don’t like. Something my husband had to get used to aswell. I find it really hard to deal with the exaggerated “wow, that is great” “oh my god, you look great today (even if I feel like sh…)” Or even the “hey, how are you” at the cashier in a supermarket in Canada. Because so often there is no meaning in these phrases. Most people in Canada that I met (I am trying not to generalize too much here) just said it to say something…anything… It seems friendly at first sight, but is it really? And from my experience it is not like that in Germany. Yes, sometimes it would be nice to have a few more friendly reactions from the people around me here and sometimes it is quite annoying having to deal with someone’s bad mood as they don’t bother hiding it, but that’s the way it is. If it annoys me, I openly address it and often then they realize and we both laugh about it afterwards. But on the other hand, I also find it helpful to see when someone is in a bad mood, because then I know what the person really feels like, it is not a facade.
          In order to get to know more people I would suggest that you just talk to anyone you find interesting even if he or she doesn’t smile at you. The smile might come later, when they have a nice conversation with a Canadian (by the way, Germans love to speak English, something my husband hated when he first got here as he wanted to speak German, but as soon as they heard his accent they switched to English).
          Well, I hope that I was able to help you a bit to understand the “non”smiling Germans 😉 Please don’t give up, we are generally quite friendly 😉

          1. Shelby Van Voris

            I’m in Hesse now, and lived in Bavaria for 3 years. I’m finding Hesse much more difficult to get to know people than Bavaria (granted, it was garmisch, small town easy feel). Germans are VERY KIND, very loyal people, but tough nuts to crack. I think it’s a HINT easier for me because I have a German-American husband.

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