Category: Travel Tips (Page 1 of 3)

best childrens hiking boots

The BEST children’s walking boots

We love getting outdoors and hiking as a family. From the short Peak District walks on our doorstep to more challenging multi day treks, such as the 5 day trek to Poon Hill in Nepal’s Himalayas. Our boys are now 3 and 5 years old and they can easily manage 8 km hikes, which I think is pretty good going, especially for our youngest. Their hiking stamina has also proved helpful for our European city breaks. I couldn’t believe how much walking they did on our recent trips to Lisbon and Nuremberg!

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It was a bit blustery out on the hills today 🌬️, but that didn't stop us getting out for a hike. It sure blew away those January cobwebs! .. We always find the hardest bit of hiking with kids is just getting out of the flippin' front door! Especially at this time of the year… making sure the boys are dressed (after asking them at least 96 times), getting all their warm gear on (gloves of course come straight off after you've put them on – which is no easy task in itself), getting hiking boots on (mud from last hike ends up everywhere in the hallway), packing snacks (before the boys see them and eat them), getting a thermos of hot chocolate ready (essential), and into the car. .. But once we're out in those hills, we love it. And we always fit in the incentive of stopping at a pub for 🍦(boys) and 🍻 (parents) half way along 😜 .. .. #curbaredge #peakdistrictwalks #hikingwithkids #peakdistrictphotography #fearlessfamtrav #pottyadventures #getoutside #ukexplore #lpkids #lppathfinders #runmywildchild #pblogger #uktravelblogger #visitderbyshire #englishcountryside #greenandpleasantland #countrylife #ukparentbloggers #mummyblogger #exploringfamilies #outdoorfamilies #outdoorkids #familytime #lovelysquares #loveyourtimetogether #visitbritain #britishcountryside #curiouskids #letthemexplore

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They are good little hikers and I put this down to the fact that we go hiking every weekend possible, LOTS of snacks, and GOOD children’s walking boots. Wellies are great for splashing in puddles, and trainers are fine for playing in the garden, but if you want to get some distance under those little legs, you need to ensure they have a quality pair of hiking boots that fit well and support their feet, without breaking the bank.

I’ve done a lot of research into the best children’s walking boots, so I thought I would share my findings with you. And remember, a good pair of kids hiking boots is not just for walking in the hills, they are our footwear of choice when we’re travelling to colder destinations like Iceland and Nepal, and also for our European city breaks.

***Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Should you click to purchase, this is at no extra cost to you, although I receive a small commission. However, this is an honest review from a Mum who loves to keep the whinges at bay when hiking with her young boys. 

 

 

Click here to skip the research and see our vote for the best children’s hiking boots.

Comparison chart of children’s walking boots

There are lots of children’s walking boots out on the market, but I’ve focused on those that have sizes available for younger kids. So there are a couple of options here for toddler hiking boots.

best childrens hiking boots

*The more ticks the better 🙂

Things to consider when buying children’s walking boots

Price

Kids’ feet grow so quickly, right? I generally avoid spending too much on children’s shoes and clothing, and the same goes for children’s hiking boots. However, we don’t want them to fall apart at the seams. When we go hiking with our boys, we rarely walk from A to B without finding a puddle to jump in or rocks to climb. These walking boots need to be up to the challenge and hopefully last a year, or more. It’s a balance right?

Ease of putting on and taking off

I always say that the hardest part of hiking with kids, especially when it’s cold, is getting them dressed and out of the front door. Boots need to be easy to get on and off, and ideally without a complicated lace system. Plus, you don’t want to be re-tying laces a zillion times on your hike. Make sure the laces are simple to fasten.

Do the provide enough support?

Unlike adult hiking boots that need to be worn in, you want to ensure that your kid’s hiking boots are robust and offer enough support right out of the box. Young ankles and arches need to be well cushioned and protected, and there should be good shock absorption throughout the shoe, to cope with uneven terrain.

best childrens hiking boots

Do they provide enough grip?

My boys are always running off down hills on our hikes, so ensure the hiking shoe has a good tread pattern to prevent slipping and sliding at speed. Admittedly someone is guaranteed to fall over at some point on our walks, but a good tread will limit this (and hopefully the tears).

Are they waterproof?

As soon as little feet get wet, they get cold, and the whinges commence. Time to head back home. If your walks are going to take you through wet grass, mud, streams and puddles, you need to ensure feet stay dry. To make their walking boots extra waterproof, cover them with a waterproof spray (like this one).

Weight

You don’t want anything too heavy to weigh down and tire legs. Whilst many adults (including myself) opt for leather walking boots in cold/wet weather, this is not suitable for young children.

Size

I found it very difficult to find children’s hiking boots that came in sizes smaller than a UK size 9. There are only a couple that I have found and therefore, size availability may be your strongest buying factor.

The 7 best children’s walking boots

1. Kids Boys Girls Lace Up Touch Close – $

Click here to check price and availability (only available in UK)

This is your bargain buy and good option for smaller feet as sizes start from UK 6 child. A black boot, with a choice of fluorescent green or pink highlights, and easy to fasten. If your kids aren’t yet doing walks longer than a kilometre or two, this is a good option. But they are unlikely to last the distance if walking every weekend.

2. Mountain Warehouse Drift Junior Kids Boots – $$

Click here to check price and availability


It’s difficult to get good quality kids hiking boots in small sizes, yet these start from a UK size 6 child, and you can purchase them in purple or dark blue. Laces are stretchy with a Velcro fasten, so they are easy to put on and get off, and potentially means that your little ones could get their own boots on. These are also watertight to keep feet dry and great value. A fantastic year-round walking boot for smaller feet.

3. Mountain Warehouse Stampede Kids Walking Shoes – $$

Click here to check price and availability

I generally prefer a hiking boot with ankle support. However, this means they take up more room in your backpack when travelling. This shoe is a good alternative, designed more like a trainer, but still providing some support to the ankle with padding on the tongue and behind the ankle. It also has a very good tread on the sole for added stability and grip. A lighter style of walking shoe, ideal for warmer months, trekking in a tropical climate like Thailand, or an arid climate like Namibia. Only available in size UK 10 child and up.

4. Elaphurus Kids Climbing Boot Hiking Shoes – $$

Click here to check price and availability

With a nice range of colours available, this hiking boot has excellent grip and heel support (heel height is 3cm), and also has the easy laces and Velcro fastening. These are a fantastic option for winter walks in the ice and snow as the lining is furry to keep feet warm and there’s a flip down steel claw on the sole to provide extra grip! I wish we had bought these for our family trip to Iceland. May be a bit too warm for the summer months though. Only available in UK size 11 child and up.

5. Trespass Kukun, Unisex Kids’ Snow Boots – $$

Click here to check price and availability

This is the hiking boot we purchased Arthur for our Poon Hill trek in the Himalayas. Whilst not technically a children’s walking boot, it offers good support and grip for hiking, but with the added benefit of being like a welly – totally waterproof and easy to get on and off (there’s also a zip on the side). This is a good option if you’re looking for a hiking boot that’s easy to get on and off.

6.  Trespass Cumberbatch, Unisex Kids’ High Rise Hiking Boots – $$$

Click here to check price and availability

Starting from a UK size 10 child, these children’s hiking boots from Trespass are built for some serious hiking year-round. They offer good support and whilst waterproof, are still breathable due to tres-tex membrane technology (sounds fancy and I’ve no idea what this actually means! But seems to do the job). Although they are on the pricey side, you can often get them at discount on Amazon. Only downside is the laces are a bit tricky for little fingers and seem to undo a lot of the time.

7. Regatta Holcombe Mid Jnr, Unisex Kids’ High Rise Hiking Boots – $$$

Click here to check price and availability

These are the ones my boys have and they’ve certainly lasted the test of time. They have a range of colours on offer. I managed to get them in a sale, but once they grow out of them I will definitely purchase them again. They fitted perfectly, straight out of the box, and have kept my boys feet comfortable and dry. The smallest size you can get them in is a UK size 9 child. I find them a little tricky to get on as they are a firm fit, and laces need to be tied tightly to prevent them untying mid-hike. They are on par with the Trespass Cumberbatch (above), and so price and size availability will be your deciding factors between the two.

My verdict for the best children’s walking boots

The Mountain Warehouse Drift Junior Kids Boots is a good purchase for their first pair of walking boots, especially as sizes start from a UK size 6 child. As your child builds up their distances, I really believe it’s worthwhile spending a little more for comfort and support. My top choice would be the Regatta Holcombe Mid Jnr, which are certainly lasting the test of time with my boys.

However, there is not much difference between the Regatta Holcombe Mid Jnr and the Trespass Cumberbatch. So check for size availability and discounts before purchase.


best childrens hiking boots

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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Should you click to purchase, this is at no extra cost to you, although I receive a small commission. However, this is an honest review from an Mum who loves to keep the whinges at bay when hiking with her young boys. 

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Africa packing list: the ultimate packing list for overlanding Africa
What to pack for Iceland in October
Short walks for young kids in the Peak District

How we afford to travel

How we afford to travel with kids

No we don’t earn megabucks, no we haven’t received a massive inheritance, and no we haven’t won the lottery (reminder to self: must buy lottery ticket this week)… yet.

Donald Duck Money GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

I receive lots of emails and messages from parents who want to travel with their little ones. I love receiving them and I’m always more that happy to reply and offer advice; whether it’s asking about booking trains in India, vaccination questions (although I encourage that this one is better answered by a medical expert), safety of tuk-tuks in Sri Lanka, or what to do if you need a no.2 on the road in Africa (I’ve had this more than once). But the most common question I receive is – “How do you afford to travel so much?”

I always smile a little when I receive this one. It’s so very un-British to ask someone about money, and I know it’s taken some balls to ask.

Doha stopover with kids - dune bashing

Visiting the deserts of Doha, October 2017

I admit that we travel more than your average family, but there are lots of families like us. In fact, there are families who travel even MORE than us; digital nomad parents who homeschool their children, or families on year-long sabbaticals. If you’re looking for ways to travel more as a family, 5 Lost Together has a great series interviewing families and finding out how they find ways to travel; from using maternity leave, using home exchanges, renting your home, and just saving bloody hard for a gap year.

But this post is about how we, TraveLynn Family, have so far managed to afford to travel.

If you’re looking for some destination inspiration, check out our
top 5 destinations for family travel.

We prioritise travel

We do feel lucky and appreciate that we’re in a privileged position to decide how we spend our money. However, we don’t drive a fancy car, we have never stretched ourselves on a mortgage (although we do have one), we don’t go out for fancy dinners, and you’ll never find me clothes shopping unless it’s absolutely necessary. We watch the pennies and the majority of our disposable income goes to travel.

Read: 10 reasons why you should travel with young kids

We travelled as much as possible before our eldest started school

Up until very recently, we weren’t tied down to school holidays. We could travel as and when we wanted, as much as money and time off work would allow, meaning we could get off-peak airfares and accommodation. From long weekends, fortnight holidays, to our epic 101 days in Africa, these trips were all done during school terms. Now that our eldest is in school, we’re having to work a lot harder in finding ways to fund our travel. So if your kids aren’t yet in school, NOW is the time to travel with them!

Read: Why pre-school is the best age to travel with kids

overlanding Africa with kids

On the road in Mozambique, April 2018

We moved to India

In 2017, through an opportunity at with husband’s work, we moved to Bangalore, India. This was an incredible year, full of highs and lows, but A LOT of travel adventures. We had a new base to explore a new corner of the world, and used EVERY available opportunity to travel; popping on a sleeper train of a weekend to explore Hampi, Pondicherry or Kochi, and cheap AirAsia flights took us to Northern India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand. And on the occasions we flew back to the UK to see family, we would always ensure a stopover in Doha or Abu Dhabi. Living as an expat was a fantastic way for us to travel more.

Northern India itinerary with kids

Living in India, 2017-2018

We took voluntary redundancy

This was a bold move. My husband was in a good job in India and he loved the company he worked for. But, when an opportunity for voluntary redundancy arose seven months before our eldest started school, we jumped at it. This gave us the pot of money we needed for long-term travel, and the timing was perfect. So off to Africa we went – 101 days in a Land Rover with roof tents, the boys were aged 2 and 4 at the time. And for those of you worried about whether he found work again on our return. Yes, he did 🙂

Read: FAQ: Self drive Africa overland with kids

Slow travel

When we have a pot of money to go travelling, we don’t race around trying to fit in as many places as possible. Actual travel between places costs money. So if we travel to fewer places, closer together, our money goes further. A round the world airfare sounds tempting, but perhaps look at return flights to the one destination and embracing slow travel from that start and end point.

Travel to cheap destinations

As a family, we haven’t been to the States, we’ve only dipped our toe in to Scandinavia, and we’ve never been on a package holiday. We generally travel to cheap destinations, so that when we are there, we know our money will go further. Yes, this may mean more expensive flights. But an all-inclusive two week holiday at a Spanish holiday resort can sometimes cost more than two weeks of budget travel in Thailand or Sri Lanka, including flights.

Bangkok with kids

Bangkok, Thailand, has long been our favourite Asian city. December, 2017.

We’re also yet to take the boys skiing. Although this is a pricey holiday, it’s something that I think is worth paying for, especially when they’re young. So we’re hoping to take the boys next season and have started to put some money aside for it. I particularly love the sounds of this Chamonix Ski Resort recommended by Mags at The Family Freestylers. Sounds perfect for kids!

We are budget travellers

When we travel to cheaper destinations, we travel on a budget. Accommodation is going to be your largest outgoing when travelling, and we keep this to a minimum. We love camping, and are always happy to stay in cheaper accommodation if it means saving money. We almost never use tours or travel agents, as we prefer to travel independently and be accountable for our own time and money.

Budgeting spreadsheet

More used for long term travel, but ever since hubby and I travelled from the UK to Sydney without any planes back in 2007 (pre-kids), we’ve used a budgeting spreadsheet. We enter in EVERY expenditure into the spreadsheet (from tuk-tuk rides and overnight bus journeys, to purchasing toilet paper and restaurant tips) and from this work out our average daily spend. This then calculates how long we can travel on the pot of money we have. This is a fantastic way to keep our spending in check.

Always checking for flight deals

A few times a week, if I have a spare moment, I hop onto Skyscanner and check for the cheapest airfares on days I know we’re available to travel. I type in an airport close to us (I can chose from a few) into the ‘From’ box, and then select ‘Everywhere’ in the ‘To’ box. This then brings us the cheapest flights available across the world from my airport on those given dates; you can then play around with dates accordingly. There’s always a city that pops up to surprise me. This is how we ended up travelling to Nuremberg at the end of last year, spotting cheap Ryanair flights from Manchester.

I became a travel blogger

One of the perks of being a travel blogger is that we are frequently offered free accommodation, transport and activities, in return for featuring on this website and/or social media coverage. I started this blog initially as a creative outlet and to connect to like-minded people, but I’ve recently had my 2-year blogiversary and really had no idea that it could grow into being my ‘job’. Recent trips to Nuremberg, Lisbon and Iceland have all been hosted by tourism agencies, and we’ve stayed at lots of wonderful accommodation for ‘free’ around the globe. This certainly makes travel more affordable for us and has meant that we have recently travelled to destinations that we previous avoided due to their cost (e.g. Iceland). Although I’m very reluctant to call these opportunities ‘free’.

Read: 5-day Iceland itinerary with kids

Iceland itinerary with kids

Iceland, October 2018

In all these instances I am working. I’m making notes, taking photos, posting to social media and even writing the blog post(s) whilst I’m there. Don’t get me wrong, I love it. But I just want to portray the full picture for anyone believing us bloggers get ‘free’ trips. There’s a lot of work that goes behind the scenes. I therefore don’t say ‘yes’ to everyone, as I put a lot of care and thought into the content I produce for companies, and need to ensure the return of ‘free’ stuff is worthy of my time.

Plus, with all blog and social media posts, whether I am paid, hosted (complimentary accommodation) or gifted (I’m sent a product for free), I will always disclose this to my readers (you may sometimes see #ad #hosted or [AD] in my social media posts), and I will ALWAYS say EXACTLY what I think and be honest with you.


How we afford to travel with kids

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You may also like to read:
Family adventure travel ideas for 2019
How to take better travel photos of your kids
Family Travel Quotes

 

packing list for Africa

How to take better travel photos of your kids

It was school photo day at the boys’ school and we were in the queue for their first ever school photo. The photographer lady had seemingly all the right gear, and she certainly seemed to be taking her time. I had high expectations.

“Now show me those big grins. Great. Open your eyes. And hold it there…”

Both my boys froze like stunned Wallace & Gromit characters. It was a hilarious, but terrible photo of the boys. For novelty purposes, I still bought the photo bundle with pictures of varying sizes, ready for the grandparent’s Christmas presents.

Whilst I don’t consider myself a professional photographer, I’m always snapping away when travelling as a family, and have learnt a few things along the way. So I thought I’d share with you my tips for taking better photos of your kids.

Agonda with kids

Say ‘wee wee’

This not only makes little ones laugh but naturally brings their mouth into a smile. I often follow with – “Did someone do a smelly trump?” Oh yes, bathroom jokes win the day with projecting happiness through a family photo!

TraveLynn Family in Sri Lanka

Embrace the selfie

Yes you can pass your camera to a stranger to snap your family pic, but it will be a miracle if everyone is smiling and looking at the camera. With a selfie you can see everyone in the photo, frame it yourself and have better control.

The running shot

Set your camera to sports mode (so lots of photos are taken one after each other and the lens can cope with movement) and line up your kids to race, standing behind them. Give them a point to run to. “Ready, steady, go!”

Short walks in the Peak District for young kids

Embrace the moment

When we visited the Taj Mahal, I really want to get that perfect shot of the boys looking angelic in front of one of the world’s most iconic buildings. This is what I ended up with (see below). Yes, it’s a bit blurry. Yes, they look silly. But they’re happy and the photo is true.  It ended up being one of my favourite photos I ever took in India.

Hold your kids and tickle

This stops them running away and makes them giggle!

Get down to their level

See the world from their perspective and avoid taking photos just of the tops of their heads.

Use the timer

Find a quiet spot, set up the camera and your family, ready for a family photo. This one often takes a few goes and I find that a little bribery is sometimes required. Also, watch out for the signal from your camera to give you the warning that it’s about to take the shot, so you’re ready to say “wee-wee”!

Iceland itinerary with kids

Get in front of the camera

I’m the one who takes most of the family photos, and as such I am the one behind the camera. It is therefore rather rare to find a travel photo with me actually in it! I get so hung up on angles and getting the right ‘shot’, that I don’t trust handing my camera over to my husband. However, in years to come, it would be nice to have proof that us Mums were on that trip. So, get over your inhibitions and perfectionism, and get in front of that camera!

Get cameras for the kids

Not only does this help them better engage in their environment, but it also gives them an understanding of how special photography is and how nice it is to have a memory of a moment. I sometimes get us all to take turns in taking the family photo. My 3yo uses a Vtech Camera (view on Amazon), and my 5yo uses a Vmotal Compact Camera (view on Amazon).

packing list for Africa

Know your camera

I’ve used the same camera for almost ten years now. I should probably upgrade, but I know how to use it and can change the settings quickly. Last thing you want to be doing is faffing with complicated settings whilst the kids are patiently perched on a precarious rock. I love my Sony DSLR (this is the latest model to buy). I do on occassion use my phone, but I use a CUBOT (I like to have a cheap one as I’m often loosing or breaking them) and the camera quality just isn’t as good as my DSLR.


taking travel photos of your kids

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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Should you click on a link to purchase, it is at no extra cost to you, but I receive a small commission, which goes towards the running of this blog.

 

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Family Travel Quotes
What is the best age to travel with kids?
10 reasons to visit Namibia with kids

 

 

Malawi itinerary with kids

Family adventure travel ideas for 2019

I’m frequently asked, ” What’s the best country you’ve ever visited?” and always fail to answer with just one country. Every country offers something different. We love to get off the beaten track and take our boys on true adventures, pushing the boundaries of family travel, yet we still love a good European camping holiday or city break. But our favourite travel memories as a family are always amongst epic landscapes or bustling Asian cities where we have stepped out of our comfort zone.

So I’ve decided to compile this list of our top 5 countries from our own experience. I’m sure this will change over time and I plan to update it if we ever visit a country that tops one of these. But hopefully this may provide you with some family adventure travel ideas for 2019. Currently there are three Asian countries in my top five. We may be a bit biased, but Asia is a fantastic family travel destination!

1. Namibia

Read: Our Namibia itinerary with kids

If your crave epic lunar landscapes, affordable and rewarding safaris, and a true African adventure, Namibia gets our vote as one of the best places for intrepid family travel. Don’t do an organised tour. Hire a 4×4 with roof tents and go it alone! The quality of roads in generally very good and the campsites are seriously fantastic. Add to this a low malaria risk and an amazing climate, and it’s a definite winner in our books.

2. Sri Lanka

Train to Haputale, Sri Lanka

Read: Our Sri Lanka itinerary with young kids

We fell head over heels in love with Sri Lanka. We visited whilst we were living in Bangalore and although there were many similarities with India, we found it to be cleaner and less chaotic. It’s a relatively small country so travelling between places is easy, yet it still offers enough activities, must-see sights, and fun to keep the whole tribe entertained. Indeed, for a country roughly the same size as Ireland, it manages to offer so much variety – both natural and cultural – that we’re sure you’ll fall in love with it too. Our favourite experiences in Sri Lanka were the incredible beaches and spotting wild elephants.

3. Iceland

Iceland itinerary with kids
Read: Our 5 day Iceland itinerary with kids

We had put off visiting Iceland for so long, as we thought it was too expensive. But we were tempted by cheap easyJet flights and photos of those dramatic landscapes. Admittedly the car hire and accommodation are going to be your biggest outgoings, but self-catering will keep costs down, and if you travel independently, exploring Iceland‘s natural wonders and hiking through it’s expansive landscape is totally FREE! Check out these other tips to save money on a family trip to Iceland. Carhiretips.co.uk has lot of car hire tips regarding insurances, what to think of when driving abroad, one-way care hire and other useful information.

On our 5 day Iceland itinerary we explored the classic Golden Circle, but also ventured off the beaten track and over to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. If you’re a family who love the great outdoors and wild landscapes, Iceland is a perfect destination for you; just ensure you pack layers as the weather is extremely interchangeable. You may also want to check out these strange and interesting facts about Iceland.

4. Thailand

Bangkok with kids

Read: Ten day Thailand itinerary with young kids

We love the energy, the ornate temples, the colourful markets, the polite people and the food… oh my THE FOOD! Oh, and of course the incredible beaches! Don’t rush straight to the islands though, enjoy your first few days in bustling Bangkok. It has to be our favourite city to explore with our boys (check out our Bangkok with kids itinerary).

There are so many reasons to travel Thailand with kids. It’s easily one of the most accessible countries we’ve visited with the boys. Many restaurants, even along the once backpacker enclave of Th Khao San, have highchairs, and we found that some beach restaurants in Ko Lanta have toys and kids’ play areas. Also, kid-friendly food is available everywhere; think sticky rice, banana pancakes, and tropical fruit aplenty. Throw in tuk-tuk rides, exploring mystical temples, and jumping in the waves crashing on to tropical islands, and you have the perfect mix for a fantastic family adventure holiday.

5. India

India with kids

Read: Our Northern India itinerary with kids

Now India isn’t everyone’s cup of chai. It’s loud, chaotic and confronting. But, it was our home for a year and it feels wrong not to include it. Admittedly, it’s not a place to visit with kids for a first visit to Asia. But if you are ready to take on the challenge, India will be one of you most memorable family adventures ever. The tourist dollar goes far here, so you can spend a little more on accommodation to create an oasis away from the chaos. Allow time to drink in the vibrancy and energy of this magical country, and once you’ve finished exploring the temples and spice markets, head for some downtime on the beaches of Goa.

And the runners up are…

It was honestly so tough narrowing it down to our top five countries, but Malawi, Nepal and Morocco are close behind…


Would love to hear what your favourite family adventure travel destination is! Let me know in the comments 🙂

 

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New Years Travel Resolutions
Family Travel Quotes
Our Top 12 Travel Highlights of 2018

New Year's Travel Resolutions

12 New Year Travel Resolutions

2018 has indeed been an incredible year of travel for us (read: Our Top 12 Travel Highlights of 2018), and I honestly don’t think we’ll be able to top it in 2019. But that’s not to say that we won’t be having any adventures. Indeed, just a month until I’ll be taking on my first solo-parenting trip!

But for those of you trying to work out those new years resolutions, I say – scrap the crash diet on the 1st Jan!  Here are 12 New Year’s TRAVEL resolutions that will be fun and benefit the whole family.

Namibia itinerary with kids

1. Start a travel savings account 

You need money to travel. Until you win the lottery, put aside a little each month solely for travel. This may mean you have to prioritise travel over material items. But you know it’ll be worth it.

2. Use up all your annual leave 

How some people finish the year with leave outstanding, I will never know. Take the paid break from work and go on an adventure and make memories with your family.

3. Be overseas for your kid’s birthday 

Kids’ birthday parties can be expensive. Rather than another manic soft-play event, go overseas and make it a birthday that everyone will remember.

Victoria Falls Waterfront Review

Celebrating Ezra’s 3rd birthday in Zambia earlier this year.

4. Travel to a completely new destination in your home country

You don’t have to fly somewhere exotic to have a holiday. Save your airfare and find somewhere new to explore in your own country. Check out these best city breaks with kids in the UK. Or want to make it a cheap holiday? Pack the tent and go camping!

5. All talking family members learn 5 foreign words for each country you travel 

Hello. Goodbye. Please. Thank you. Milk. These words go a long way and will guarantee a smile from any locals you encounter. Especially if it’s your toddler saying them.

6. Travel lighter 

It just makes travelling life easier; take only the bare essentials. Don’t bother packing any toys, you know they won’t play with them. Nappies can almost always be bought on arrival. This year we visited Iceland with just carry on only! Check out our Iceland packing list.

7. Step outside your comfort zone

Trust me, it will be your best adventure yet! Our overlanding adventures across Africa earlier this year certainly took us outside our comfort zone. There were seriously challenging moments, but they were totally outweighed by the incredible memories we created together; my favourite will forever be camping each night under the African night sky.

8. Make a photo book or calendar

I’m sure I’m not the only one who plans to make a photo book from each holiday. I’ve succumbed to the true realisation that I will never have time to do this. Instead, I try and do one each year. This is much more manageable and they are a beautiful memento. Still don’t have the time? Well in that case, make a travel calendar. There are 12 months in the year, that’s just 12 photos you need from your previous travels.

New Year Travel Resolutions

9. Get in the photos

Getting a photo of the kids is easy. Hubby and kids – also easy. Me and the kids – need to work on that a lot. I’m always the one behind the camera, and I get rather particular about my photography and rarely want to hand my camera over to hubby. But in future years, the kids are going to want that reminder that Mum was on holiday too with them! We also need to work at getting more photos of us all as a family.

10. Eco-conscious travel

Think about how your travel effects the environment. We all see the videos going round social media about the devastating effect of our plastic use – but are you doing anything about it? Use a water purification bottle, pack metal straws and a bamboo toothbrush. Ladies, use a menstrual cup rather then tampons/towels. If you’re visiting a beach, collect any rubbish and dispose of correctly.

11. Forget about social media

This is easier said than done if, like me, you’re a travel blogger. However, we can get obsessed with getting the ‘right shot’ and posting our perfect holiday on to social media, that we forget to live in the moment and appreciate the now. Try leaving your phone at home for a weekend away.

12. Travel more 

Make 2019 The Year of Travel! 🙂

 

Namibia itinerary with kids

Happy New Year! May 2019 be filled with your best adventures yet. Jenny, Jason, Arthur and Ezra xxxx

 

You may also like to read:
Family travel quotes
5 day Iceland itinerary with kids
Our Top 12 Travel Highlights of 2018

 

Tips for a stress-free family holiday

Tips for a stress-free family holiday

You have been saving all year for that amazing holiday, everyone’s burnt out from school and work routines, and expectations are high for a good time! You all need this. The pressure is on. But what if the weather is bad? What if little Tommy is still teething? Whilst there are some things us parents can’t control, there are some steps we can take to almost guarantee a stress-free family holiday.

Self-catering accommodation

This gives you the freedom to eat what you want, when you want, and the kids aren’t forced to sit at a table waiting for their food to arrive. If you opt for a villa / holiday-home, it also means that there is a separate space for parents to relax when kids are sleeping (spending an evening scrolling through your phone in a dark hotel room is not really what holidays are for). Plus, many villas come with the bonus of a washing machine, therefore cutting down on your packing.

Villa photos courtesy of Villa Plus

Villas are a great way to get a big group of friends and family together for a holiday, and I love the look of these large villas from Villa Plus.

Go with the flow

Allow the routines of home-life to slip as much as you want. You don’t want to be fighting bedtimes or rushing to get back for mealtimes (although ensure you always have lots of snacks to hand).

tips for a stress-free holiday

Don’t do too much

New places, people and cultures can be a sensory overload for little minds. Don’t try and cram too much into your day. Otherwise you may end up with grouchy, stroppy, overtired kids… and parents.

Remember it’s your holiday too

My kids love playing in the water, especially if there’s a swimming pool with lots of slides. I personally find these days the most exhausting on holiday as my boys are too young to be left unaccompanied. Don’t forget it’s your holiday too! So allow for a cultural day too, with perhaps a little kids activity thrown in. Or even better, get your partner to watch the kids whilst you pop to the spa! Just make sure you return the favour.

Loire with kids

Don’t pack loads of toys

We all know that most toys have a novelty value of two minutes. I always pack a small bag of crafts (pens, scissors, coloured and plain paper, glue), a small box of Lego, and their tablets (loaded with all their fave games and TV shows), then throw in a dinosaur or two.


Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post with Villa Plus and this post also appears in their brochure. I have been compensated for my time. However, as always, these are all my own words and opinions. 

Tips for a stress-free family holiday

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What is the best age to travel with kids?
Packing essentials for travel Mums
Family travel quotes

Travel highlights 2018

Our Top 12 Travel Highlights of 2018

Jumping head first into the Goan surf and waking ourselves up to the New Year, we really had no idea what 2018 had in store for us. 2017 had been an epic year of travel, and although we had a trip to Nepal booked for February, we firmly believed that we would be living in Bangalore, India, for the remainder of the year and it would be quieter on the travel front… for a while.

Oh how wrong were we?! With changes from Daddy Lynn’s work, we packed up our apartment in Bangalore on return from Nepal in March, and ended up in South Africa just three weeks later to embark on the most epic adventure of our lives – 101 days overlanding Africa in a Land Rover.

Tanzania itinerary with kids

We then returned to the UK at the end of June and set up a new life in the Peak District, in the heart of the English countryside. This has given us the opportunity to explore European destinations on our doorstep and already we’ve managed to fit in a week in France, an Icelandic road trip, and a long weekend in Lisbon.

And that’s not it for 2018. We’re also sneaking in a trip to Germany between Christmas and New Year! This will be our thirteenth country of 2018.

At the end of 2017, I published a post – Our Top 12 Travel Highlights of 2017. I think it’s important to look back on a year and take time to appreciate all the good things, so I’m going to make this round up post in to a yearly tradition.

Here are our top travel highlights of 2018…

1. Trekking to the summit of Poon Hill (3210m)

Poon Hill with kids

With the help of two awesome porters and their dokos, we embarked on a 5 day trek in the Nepalese Himalayas, staying in teas houses along the way. I cried at the summit. Our boys were only 2 and 4 at the time, and it was much a massive achievement. I think my thighs have only just recovered from all those steps.

2. Camping in our roof tents under the African stars

Our 101 days in Africa brought so many memories and highlights. However, thinking about our nights around the campfire before retiring to our roof tents on the Land Rover will forever provide me with a warm glow.

3. Swimming in the Indian Ocean from Mozambique and India

Two very different places connected by a vast ocean, but nothing beats running into the waves before breakfast; just that in Goa breakfast was dosa with curry, and in Mozambique we were scrambling eggs over the campstove.

4. Spotting lions and elephants on a self-drive African safari

Safari with kids

We went on a lot of safaris in Africa and the boys absolutely loved spotting the wildlife and investigating poo for clues (yes, you can take young kids on safari!) We mostly chose self-drive game drives in our Land Rover and camped in secure camp grounds. However, in Zambia we took a boat safari to see the dozens on hippos bathing in the Zambezi. But the best safari in Africa from our travels has to be Etosha National Park, Namibia.

5. Driving on Iceland’s snow roads

 

Lured by cheap airfares and despite it’s expensive reputation, Iceland is a hot destination for family travel right now (well not literally). I was concerned that it would be too touristy, but Hey Iceland put together a fantastic Iceland itinerary for us and there were times where we felt we were really off the beaten track, particularly on the snow roads. Plus, we realised that a trip to Iceland doesn’t need to be as expensive as you think, and you can indeed save money on a family trip to Iceland.

6. Winter al fresco dining in Lisbon

Lisbon in December

It was such a treat to dine outside in warm December sunshine in Lisbon! The pedestrianised Rua Augusta is bustling with tourists and locals, with restaurants spilling out onto the cobbled streets. After a full day sightseeing, it was the perfect spot to enjoy some local cuisine, washed down with a Portuguese wine or three. The homemade ice-cream got a thumbs up from the boys too.

7. Lapping up 5* luxury in Bangalore

Hilton, Bangalore with kids

Living as an expat in bustling Bangalore, the 5* resorts were an oasis away from the colourful chaos, and also very affordable. I miss being able to pop to the Sheraton for their slap up Sunday Brunch (with bouncy castle and kids face painting), or taking a dip in the heated pool of the Hilton. We also did a couple of staycations, finding last minute weekend deals on booking.com.

8. Showering in the spray of thundering Victoria Falls

You will hear it before you see it, and nothing quite prepares you for the thundering velocity of Victoria Falls after the wet season. We got totally and hilariously drenched. And I will forever remember the old lady who piped up and said to us as we stood marvelling the falls, “They won’t remember it you know”. Totally missing the point.

9. Temple hopping in Kathmandu

Those all-seeing Buddah eyes, turning prayer wheels, starch white stupas, territorial monkeys, ringing bells, and wafting incense. The temples of Kathmandu, Nepal, are a cacophony of sounds, sights and smells to arouse the senses, and simply fascinating to witness.

10. Finding kid-friendly châteaux in the Loire Valley

Loire with kids

I remember being dragged around the châteaux of the Loire as a kid and seeing lots of old buildings and paintings. However, things have changed and there are now a handful of châteaux in the Loire Valley that are perfect for kids. For instance, Château du Clos Lucé has replicas of Leonardo da Vinci’s inventions in the gardens to play with, and Château du Rivau have transformed their gardens into a mystical wonderland complete with giants and elves.

11. Running down the crimson sand dunes of Sossusvlei, Namibia

overlanding Africa with kids

Those crimson sand dunes against the cobalt Namibian sky are so striking. But I dare anyone to not smile and giggle and they feel the freedom of running down one of the world’s largest sand dunes. Namibia was probably our favourite destination this year.

12. Long walks in the Peak District before returning home for a roast and film by the roaring fire

Travel Highlights 2018

Moving back home to the UK was made all the more easier for moving to the Peak District. After living in Bangalore, we certainly appreciate all the green open space and fresh country air. Our favourite thing do to of a weekend is a long hike in the hills. We do a hike every weekend we’re at home, and I’m sure it’s helped to build  the boys stamina and why they were able to keep going for 12 hours on our last day in Lisbon!

And your favourite posts from 2018…

Whilst my posts on Sri Lanka, India and Africa are always popular in Google searches, the posts that regular readers seemed to enjoy most were:

  1. My two years blogiversary – where I talk about my blogging journey and how I earn money.
  2. 5 day Iceland itinerary – detailing our road-trip arranged by Hey Iceland.
  3. FAQ: Traveling Africa with kids – answering all your questions about our African adventures, including safety, malaria, 4×4 hire.
  4. Poon Hill trek – detailing our 5 day trek in the Nepalese Himalayas
  5. Top ten things to do in India with kids – the boys’ favourite activities from our year living and travelling India
  6. What is the best age to travel with kids? – a collaborative post with some top family travel bloggers providing the low down on travelling with each age group

And what’s in store for 2019?

Now I said this at the beginning 2018, but I’m not sure 2019 will be able to top this year of travel. However, we do have a few trips in the pipeline; including a return to Morocco and Thailand, and some solo parent travel with Ez next month to Lanzarote (where we hope to venture off the beaten track and discover a ‘different side’ to the island).

Iceland itinerary with kids

As always, that you to everyone that follows our blog and all the messages and comments you send. I love connecting with like-minded parents and hope that all our adventures continue. Have a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year!

Jenny x

 

Travel highlights 2018

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family travel quotes

The BEST Family Travel Quotes

Over the past year, I’ve been sharing family travel quotes almost every Monday on my Facebook page. Whilst I hope that they don’t come across too corny at times, I like to provide a bit of #MondayInspration for fellow wanderlusting and globetrotting families. For me, they act as a reminder to put life into perspective and support my belief that we can, and should(!), travel with our boys.

In no particular order, here are the top fourteen family travel quotes. Whilst some of these may be classed as general travel quotes, I find them rather fitting for travel with family quotes.

1. “Not all classrooms have four walls” – It still blows my mind how much our information our boys absorb and how much they grow as individuals on the road. This is one of my favourite family adventure quotes,

family travel quote

2. “In the end, kids won’t remember that fancy toy you bought them, they will remember the time you spent with them” (Kevin Heath) – Travel creates those precious memories together that will last a lifetime, much more than the pile of plastic toys in their bedroom.

family travel quote

3. “I have babies, and I’m like… what country am I going to next?” – The original meme of this was doing the rounds and always irritated me. So I changed it.

family travel quote

4. “When you travel with children you are giving something that can never be taken away… experience, exposure and a way of life.” (Pamela T. Chandler) – Hear, hear!

5. “Excuses will always be there for you. Opportunity won’t.”  – So many people believe that you should wait till the kids are older to travel. However, as they get older, the excuses just change; they’ll miss their friends, they would rather go to football camp, or you need to convert the loft. Grab the opportunity to travel with your kids from a young age; it’ll certainly be cheaper before they start school! Check out my post – What is the best age to travel with kids?

family travel quote

6. “Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life” (Michael Palin) – So let’s start them young! And if you do start them young, those adventures certainly get easier as they get older.

family travel quote

7.  “The world is your playground”  – Jump in rivers, collect sticks, skip along pavements and search for fairies and dragons. Both cities and countryside provide a wonderful opportunity for play.

family travel quote

9.  “People forget the years and remember moments” – Those early years especially can whizz by in a sleep-deprived blur. Do something amazing and create those memories to cherish for a lifetime. Perhaps one of the best family holiday quotes.

family travel quote

9. “If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine; it is lethal” (Paulo Coelho) – So make the most of those school half terms and holidays! It’s amazing how just doing something different, refocuses your energies.

family travel quote

10. “Blessed are the curious as they shall have adventures” (Lovelle Drachman) – What better way to feed and grow their minds than to travel.

family travel quote

11. “Let curiosity lead the way”  – and watch them grow in confidence a they become explorers.

family travel quote

12. “Two of the greatest gifts we can give our children and roots and wings” (Hodding Carter) – And what better way to do that, than through travel? Travel helps you appreciate home, but also gives you the experience to try new things and explore new places.

family travel quote

13. “And at the end of the day, your feet should be dirty, your hair messy and your eyes sparkling” (Shanti) – This is certainly the sign of a day well spent in my books.

family travel quote

14. “The greatest legacy we can leave our children is happy memories” (Og Mandino) – And that’s what travel with kids is all about, right?

family travel quote

I hope you enjoyed these. Do let me know if you have any favourite family travel quotes or family road trip quotes that I’ve missed!


family travel quote

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What is the best age to travel with kids? 
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Long-haul flight survival with young kids

Surviving Jet Lag with Kids

So what exactly is the secret to surviving jet lag with kids?

As Daddy Lynn read the last line of their favourite book, the boys drifted blissfully off to sleep. It was 8:30pm and us parents eagerly high-fived with smug grins. We had survived our long, delayed flight from the UK to Bangalore, lasted the day through a bleary eyes and foggy head and BEATEN JETLAG! Hoorah!

Or had we…

At 11:30pm our 2 year old sprung out of bed and started scrambling around looking for his toys. His older brother soon followed suit and helped by switching on all the lights. Before we knew it, dinosaurs were attacking a Lego tower. We gave in and by 1am I was picking up the phone ordering pizza and fries from the hotel’s room service and switching on kid’s TV.

MASSIVE JET LAG FAIL.

Jet lag and kids

Usually as a family we managed to adjust fine to the time differences when travelling; it’s only a 5.5 hour time difference between the UK and India. But for some reason, jet lag had well and truly got the better of us this time. It took us a good week to get back to normal routine.

So I turned to my fellow family travel blogging community for their advice, which I thought needed to be shared.  Here are their tips:

1. Consider your flight times

Marianne (Mum on the Move) believes ‘a good trick for beating jet lag is to try and get your body clock on to your destination time zone as quickly as possible – even before you get there. Think about the local time zone as soon as you board the plane, and adapt your sleep on the plane accordingly. For example – if your plane lands at 7am local time you will need to ensure you have been sleeping right up to the time you land, which often means staying awake for the first few hours of the flight.

Is the overnight flight better?

‘Where possible, we look to fly overnight when it’s already the kids bed time.  We always look to find ways to exhaust them in the afternoon with a lot of fresh air before catching the plane then they will settle much faster and be at least partly rested .  On arrival, we’ve found we’re all less inclined  to want to nap straight away and can battle it through to the normal bed time in our new time zone.  If you want the body to adjust quickly, tired or not, we all go to bed the following night at the correct bed time in the new time zone.  At the very least, dim the lights and turn off electronics so there’s a natural cue that this is now the new bed time.  If you give into the urge and think ‘we’re awake anyway so let’s go and explore’ it will just delay the adjustment.’ (Keri, Our Globetrotters)

Or is the day flight better?

‘To beat jet lag, we try to fly during the day and arrive at our destination in the evening. We check into a hotel, eat dinner and to right to bed, no matter what time it is back in Sydney. Usually we are so exhausted by then that we have an amazing night’s sleep and wake up well-rested and very close to the routine for the time zone we have landed in.’ (Christine, Adventure, Baby!)

But what if your flight arrives in the middle of the night?

‘Set your alarm for 8am local time, get everybody up and start your day. We find that you need to get onto local time straight away to beat jet lag, even if you’ve only had a few hours sleep. You can always have a short nap after lunch to get you through the rest of the day.’ (Nicky, Go Live Young)

And if your flight arrives in the morning but your knackered and haven’t slept on the flight?

‘When we travel we have found the best way to avoid jet lag is to have a sleep! Once in the hotel everyone has a quick shower then hops into bed. The alarm is set for two hours later. Once we are all rested we head out and about to explore the local area and have dinner out. Then back to the room for bed time. Wake up the next day ready to go.’ (Debbie, Travel with the Greens)

Or perhaps consider a stopover.

‘Back when we were just a couple, escaping jet lag seemed to be pretty easy, but fast forward to the arrival of our two kids and beating jet lag has almost become a sport. These days, when booking a long haul flight, we look for options that include a stop over around half way. It provides an opportunity for the kids to adjust, sleep and eat, before continuing on to our destination’ (Leah, The Kid Bucket List)

2. Splurge on your arrival accommodation

‘During the first few days we know we’ll spend more time at our hotel than usual, so we splurge on upgraded accommodations. Things we look for include: 24/7 room service for when the kid’s demand breakfast at 2 am, a separate sitting area where one parent can entertain children while the other tries to sleep, and a beautiful city view to make the middle of the night restlessness more exciting!’ (Jessica, Magnets from Everywhere)

3. Get out and about on that first day

Sally’s top tip (Our3kidsvtheworld) is ‘drinking a lot of water and getting out in the sunlight. You are less likely to feel tired if you are out and about in the sunshine and keep moving. I feel the jet lag worse when I stop and inside not moving around. If you stay busy and try and ‘hit the ground running’ you will adjust to the new time zone much quicker.’

DSC01863

Having a run along the Corniche in Abu Dhabi

Similarly, Kayla (Wanderlocity) believes exercise is key. ‘When we get home, we bust out the bikes and scooters. Some fresh air, sunshine and movement always does a body good. Getting exercise also assists in getting back in the general swing of everyday kiddo (and adult) life. By being out in the sunshine and fresh air, you’ll be using the light cues to help get your circadian rhythm in sync with the local time zone. Light tells your body it is time to be awake, especially when you pair it with movement!’

Whereas Wisterian Watertree puts his faith in absolute physical exhaustion. ‘Obviously works only once they are old enough to move on their own, but when they do and if you time it right, so they can not keep their eyes open at bedtime, you can reset their body clocks and they will sleep through the night and will sleep at naptimes the next day. Works the same way when you get home, but they have to be so tired they literally fall asleep in your arms. This is why you need to research the options for playgrounds near where you are staying (indoor playgrounds if there is any risk for rain). If you are going somewhere wintery, make sure to have clothes appropriate for outdoor play in cold weather. Consult the locals. It probably works for the adults too, by the way.’

4. Stick to the routine you have at home

‘To help combat jet lag when travelling, we do our best to keep naps and bedtime consistent. For us this means keeping our routine and schedule similar to at home. We usually travel with a sleepsack, blanket and a couple of favourite books plus do our bedtime routine in the same order as at home. Additionally, we do our best to keep naps and bedtime at the same time (but on local schedule). Sometimes, we just need to wait it out but we are usually back on track in a few days.’ (Celine, Baby Can Travel)

5. Eat meals at local times

‘Studies show that by adjusting to eating your meals at local time instead of when you would normally eat, that you ‘reset your body clock.’ Fasting during your flight is also recommended but with kids this is obviously not possible. I would recommend small meals and snacks during your flight is best, then indulging in a big meal (whether that be breakfast, lunch or dinner) in your new time zone.’ (Mary, The Abbottses)

6. Healthy eating and drinking

‘Jet lag hits my daughter really hard. On the first day after a long flight she is not just out-of-sync with the clocks but often suffers from an upset stomach, which always makes me feel awfully guilty. We have discovered that giving her healthy snacks and avoiding anything sweet or exciting like chocolate really helps her. She immediately perks up and this means in turn she deals with tiredness a lot better. Our food of choice for jet leg now is apples and grapes, they work like a charm!’  (Marta , Learning Escapes)

Carrie Bradley (Flying With Baby) stresses no caffeine after 2pm and a good healthy meal before bedtime.

Jet lag and kids

7. Be patient and flexible

Aja (The Wandering Chaos) advises that ‘it can take several days longer when flying around the world for them to adjust.’

Indeed, Chelsea (And Then Life) recommends adjusting the daily routine by one hour at a time – ‘The gradual approach works for us because it’s not such a shock to the system, for lack of a better word. You are able to slowly get back into your norm.  The shorter time difference, the easier, but if you have the luxury of doing this for more than a day or so, I think it could work even for multiple time zones.’

Jules (Shades of Courage) embraces jet lag and even plans craft activities for 3am – ‘It is just human nature to come home exhausted and dreading the sleepless nights and grumpiness. Nothing kills the holiday buzz quicker then a bad bout of jet lag. So one tip would be to anticipate it, embrace it and accept it, as part of the holiday. We always say hope for the best, expect the worst and take what you get. So plan to have snack time at 3AM and plan on how to use the time with the kids  in a nice way. Why not use the time to complete a travel journal/draw pictures of the holiday & co with the kids. This will make it less painful for everyone and is a good way to look back on the holiday memories.Obviously this is fun for a day or three and not the new normal’

The Grand Conclusion

These are all fantastic suggestions from my fellow family travel bloggers, but what works for one family may not work for another. By all means, make the best of efforts to combat the dreaded jet lag, but also be flexible with your kids; it may take time.

What did we do wrong on our recent trip back to Bangalore? We may have napped too long that first day. The pizza and chips at 1am probably wasn’t the best idea. But really, I believe you just have to take jet lag as it comes. One time it’ll win, the next maybe you will. Like so many challenges of parenthood, it’s a phase. It’s just a case of riding the wave, with a few tricks up your sleeve.

 

Jet lag and kids

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Poon Hill with kids

What is the best age to travel with kids?

We believe you can travel with kids at any age and should definitely start them young.  Admittedly those sleep deprived early years are somewhat challenging, but babies are much more portable than teenagers! Though people do keep telling me it gets easier as they get older. Is this really true? I certainly feel that it’s easier travelling with my boys now they are 3 and 4 years old. But, is there an optimum age for that once in a lifetime trip? What is the best age to travel with kids?

Best age to travel with kids

I recently published a post about why I believe preschool is the best age to travel with kids after our year in India and four months traversing sub-Saharan Africa in a Land Rover with roof tents. But as our eldest has only just started school and we’re yet to experience travelling with older kids, I reached out to some of my favourite family travel bloggers who travel extensively across the globe to give us the lowdown on each age group for travelling with kids.

CONTENTS

BABY 0-2 years

by Leona from Wandermust Family

We love travelling in the 0-2 age bracket! Many first time parents are intimidated to travel with their baby but they really shouldn’t be as in my opinion the toddler years are harder!

what is the best age to travel with kids

We love the fact that travelling at this age makes you travel slower, and you see and do things that you perhaps wouldn’t have done pre-kids. On the plus sized too – children under two can travel for free on airplanes!

Under two your child is pretty portable which makes destination planning pretty easy! Yes you will have to take some paraphernalia but even then you don’t need to take as much as you think!

what is the best age to travel with kids

Our favourite experience was travelling around Japan with our under two taking in the beautiful outdoor spaces, gardens, temples and even giving her her first taste of Disney. Also, at this age a good travel stroller is an essential and we recommend the Familidoo!

PRESCHOOL 3-4 years

by Jenny from TraveLynn Family

For us, the days of hunting down nappies in markets and ensuring we always have milk handy are thankfully behind us. There are still the occasional meltdowns and tantrums when they’re tired, but this age is so beautifully inquisitive about the smallest things and they don’t need expensive excursions to keep them entertained; just ensure you always have snacks handy. Schooling is not yet an issue which means that you can travel off season for the better deals, and they learn through everyday play; what better way to do this than through travel?

Poon Hill with kids

They still need a lot of sleep at this stage and when travelling, we always ensure we have some downtime during the day (which is always very beneficial for us parents to take a breather too!) Furthermore, they don’t have that attachment of missing friends from home and are happy just playing with mummy and daddy (although it’s always a bonus when they make a new buddy in the playground).

Our best trip with our boys this age has to be our 4 months traversing sub-Saharan Africa in a Land Rover. It’s not an obvious destination for kids of this age and many parents would worry about safety and malaria. However, we never once felt threatened and took all the necessary precautions for malaria. It was the perfect adventure for our boys; spotting wild animals on safari, running down sand dunes in Namibia and playing on remote beaches in Mozambique, all whilst cooking every night on an open fire before retiring to bed in our Land Rover roof-tents under the African stars.

Mozambique itinerary with kids

I never pack toys for my boys as they seem to have a novelty value of two minutes. Maybe the odd dinosaur or car. But toddler scissors and glue are always packed (they love cutting out brochures and sticking leaves together), and we always ensure we have their Amazon Fire Kids’ Tablets with all their favourite TV shows and games downloaded. Perfect for that much-needed downtime.

PRIMARY age 5-10 years

by Keri from Our Globetrotters

We have travelled with all of our children since they were infants, and although there were ups and downs along the way, we got through those tough toddler years and we have finally seen the light! Travelling with primary school age children has brought about so many more fabulous opportunities.

We could start with how much LESS gear we need to bring with us – we have carry-on only in our sights now we are no longer traipsing along strollers, car seats, portacots, boosters, slings and lord knows what other essential supplies that we apparently couldn’t live without (we are still working on cutting back the number of teddies that apparently need to see the world!)

Best age to travel with kids

Now we will never be full time world schoolers so we do fall foul of needing to book our major trips during school holiday time. However, for this age group travel has been the perfect supplement to what they have learnt in the traditional classroom setting. Our oldest daughter has a learning difficulty and has struggled with book work at school. By combining what we can find online and actually being able to visit many of these places it has opened up so many opportunities for her to learn in a different way. We have visited Jerash in Jordan where the Romans were brought to life for her; now she is studying Ancient Egypt and we will be visiting Luxor and Aswan over the winter. Being able to see, feel, smell and taste the real thing while you are learning is absolutely priceless to watch.

Another huge advantage of this age group, other than their fabulous curiosity and a bit more patience (let’s be honest, a lot of travelling is actually waiting!) is the ability to listen. I wouldn’t say it’s all the time but understanding instructions on safety, why we do things a certain way, knowing where the boundary is makes travel in many ways much safer and more manageable, particularly as we are a larger group and the children outnumber us!

Best age to travel with kids

The most important item our kids pack at this age is colouring. We always make sure there’s a fresh note pad or colouring book in their packs. It’s perfect for filling down time, sometimes they are inspired to start journaling or drawing their adventures. And yes, our younger boys still do bring teddies everywhere and we still need to include them in our rounding up headcount at least 12 times a day. At least they DO carry their own packs and are a lot more responsible for their belongings.

EARLY SECONDARY age 11-14

by Nicky from Go Live Young

We’ve always travelled a lot but it wasn’t until our kids were older that we really started exploring the world together. Just last year we returned from a nine month round the world trip with our three boys. Here’s why we believe travelling with kids aged 10 -14 is the perfect age to travel and adventure:

They learn so much while travelling – kids are like ‘sponges’ and at this age they’re learning and remembering it all. Our boys have learnt so much from their travels around the world. Alongside their learning they’ve become confident, adaptable and worldly wise.

what is the best age to travel with kids

At this age they’re old enough to enjoy and participate in most experiences – we’ve experienced river rafting, snorkelling, zip-lining, sea kayaking and hiking as a family. Shared memories that will last their lifetime.

They can carry their own stuff – a definite plus! They carry their own stuff and are responsible for keeping it organised. A great life lesson in itself!

Barriers are broken down – travelling with children means that everybody talks to you! Kids can be a great ice breaker. We’ve met and chatted to so many people as a result of the boys.

Consideration at this age has to be give to schooling. We decided to take our boys out of school for ten months to travel the world but we continued their schooling with daily lessons and learning through travelling. They’re now back in school and our travel takes place in the holidays. There’s actually plenty of holidays throughout the year, you just have to smart about where you go and booking ahead for the best prices. For some families, the teenage years can be a transition period where they miss their friends back home and don’t necessarily want to travel. We haven’t experienced this yet!

what is the best age to travel with kids

We’ve been lucky to have so many wonderful experiences but some highlights include: hiking the Tongariro Crossing in New Zealandtrekking with Komodo dragons in Indonesia, snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef, hiking the Great Wall of China and being on safari in South Africa.

My boys would all say their must have items for any trip would be their kindles, for hours sent travelling, and some card games for playing with mum and dad. I have to mention the dreaded electronics at this age, whether it be phones or iPads, but actually our boys travelled the world for almost a year with iPods, only using them on travel days!

TEENS age 15-18

by Kirsten from Kids Are A Trip

We have been travelling with our kids from the moment they were born, and can easily say that travelling with teens has been our favourite age. The years of packing multiple bags, hauling all of the gear, and dealing with meltdowns is finally behind us (for the most part). It has been rewarding to see how our tiny travellers have grown into self-sufficient, thoroughly engaged companions who have their own opinions of what travel could and should look like.

what is the best age to travel with kids

This age group gets a bad rap for constantly being “plugged in” and their inability to enjoy the moment. That may be true for some, but we’ve found, our kids are actually able to set some boundaries when travelling, using the phone for photos and sharing, but enjoying the rest of the time as a family. There can also be a “fear of missing out” factor, as in, all of their friends at home are doing something, and they can’t be there. If this describes your teens, leave the phone at home. We’ve done it, and it’s amazing how much it can change a vacation. Teens will complain the first few days, but after it all sinks in, they really enjoy the experience.

With regards to favourite vacations, I think every teen will be different, but ours really have enjoyed unplugged, adventure vacations. Think Costa Rica and Colorado dude ranch. These both offered a healthy dose of adventure, delicious food, and education, and were far enough out of their comfort zones to convince them to go in the first place.

what is the best age to travel with kids

My teens would easily say their favourite item to bring along is their phone, but I’m a big proponent of leaving those behind. We only get so many years to travel with our kids, so if these are some of the best, why miss out on them? The teenage years heading into adult hood have been some of my favourites, and I plan to enjoy every minute.

So… what is the best age to travel kids?

From reading what my fellow bloggers and globe-wanderers have to say, I’m not sure there really is a ‘best’ age for travelling with kids; each age has it’s pros and cons and no age really stands out as a ‘winner’. So my thinking is, why wait for that ‘perfect age’?

But what do you reckon? What do you think is the best age for travelling with kids?

 

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what is the best age to travel with kids

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You may also like to read:
Tips for a safari with kids under 5
Travel stories for young kids: 10 travel inspiring books for the under-5s
Tips for travelling with young kids

This post is linked up with Wanderlust Kids #17

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