We all love to travel and for some reason when you have a family everyone assumes it all has to stop. That’s not true! Our aim is to help those who desire to travel with children, make those steps to explore the World out there. Ensuring you travel better, cheaper and for longer.
In the first of our Family Travel Series we have Kirsty from bartsgoadventuring.com to give her top family travel tips and advice.
I’m Kirsty and I write a travel blog at Barts Go Adventuring. I’m a mum of two teenagers now and along with my husband James we’ve always loved travelling as a family. When the kids were much younger we stayed fairly close to home and travelled around the UK to keep costs down. Recently we’ve also had two stints of extended overseas travel for about 6 months each time. Now we’re back home though and are back to the odd week here and there to get away.
Top 10 Family Travel Tips
1. Best family travel / advice tip you could give
I hear from a lot of people that the best time to travel with kids is ‘x’ years old – insert whatever you like here! There is no one magical age that is great for family travel so if you want to go somewhere don’t feel that you can’t because your kids aren’t that specific age. Toddlers can be tiresome, but they can also be fun companions, likewise with teens! My advice is to go and enjoy your trips with the kids whatever age they are, it will be worth it, I promise!
[Tweet “Go and enjoy your trips with the kids whatever age they are, it will be worth it, I promise! #travel”]
2. What is the most important reason travel as a family?
For me it’s to share a love travelling, exploring the world and new cultures. It’s been a passion of mine for my entire adult life (and probably my childhood too if I’m honest) and I love to bring that in to my kids lives too. We learn so much with travel, from the new foods and languages all the way to how we fit in. I can’t imagine life without it!
[Tweet “We learn so much with travel, from new foods and languages all the way to how we fit in. #travel”]
3. Any tips to save money travelling as a family?
My biggest tip is to travel outside of the traditional school holidays if you can. We’ve always home educated and it has allowed some great holidays when it’s quieter AND cheaper!
Of course that’s not always possible so my second tip is to research online as much as you can. Check out blog posts about how to travel to certain destinations cheaply, or free things to do there and always check out the different accommodation options. Sometimes apartments can be so much cheaper especially if you can then self cater – it’s our preferred way of doing it!
[Tweet “Save money by travelling outside of school holidays, it’s quieter AND cheaper! #travel”]
4. How to you begin to plan for a family holiday?
Normally we go places that we find a good deal to, either because I’m on a mailing list and have seen a sale or just that I’ve been searching and come across something we have to jump on.
Once we have a destination in mind I like to have a good idea of potential things we can do when we’re there especially if it’s rainy – I like to know what’s around should we want to do something more organised than hang around the local area.
[Tweet “Have a good idea of potential things to do when you’re there especially if it’s rainy! #travel”]
5. Tips on keeping the whole family entertained during travel? i.e. airplane / car journeys
Books and gaming devices have always been top of our list – anything compact! We don’t plan anything much really and because of that they tend to be quite self sufficient when travelling. To be honest we have our best conversations on the road, or sat next to each other on planes, we like to just chat about anything and everything! Even when I have diligently packed books and games they’ll sometimes not touch them!
[Tweet “Books and gaming devices are at the top of our list to keep the family entertained travelling. #travel”]
6. How many family holidays do you manage to fit into a year?
Lately it’s only a one or two a year. We try and have at least one trip that is around 1-2 weeks long and if we can fit in extra weekends away or another big trip that’s a bonus.
[Tweet “We try and have at least one trip that is around 1-2 weeks long and extra weekends away. #travel”]
7. How do you manage to afford to travel as a family? Any tips?
Save! We prioritise travel in our lives and know that we want to do what we can in the year. We’re not big spenders on clothes or meals out so our money goes towards the travel fund. Lately, we’ve started to use my husband’s income for our day to day living and then my income pays for travel which has worked quite well and encourages me to make more!
[Tweet “We prioritise travel in our lives and know that we want to do what we can in the year. #travel”]
8. Any destinations or countries you’d recommend to travel to as a family?
We’ve always really stuck to traditionally family friendly destinations, not really going outside mainland Europe and then the USA in recent times so all of those are definitely recommended.
We have a huge soft spot for the USA and also Italy. You know how they always say that in Italy they love kids and are so centred around that? We found that absolutely true and loved watching multi generational families enjoy their time at the beach there!
[Tweet “Mainland Europe and the USA are definitely recommended to travel to as a family. #travel”]
9. What destinations have you found to be the most affordable and enjoyable?
Turkey was by far the most surprising for us after spending our entire travel lives on mainland Europe. Combine that with friendly people and a culture that was completely different to anything we’d experienced before and it continues to be one of our most favourite trips.
The USA was also top for value once we got there and the flights weren’t too bad as we paid with airline points too! Accommodation and eating out can’t be beaten in the US, especially compared to Europe, and can I just say $1 pizza slices in New York City?? Definitely affordable if you try.
[Tweet “Turkey was the most surprising for us after spending our entire travel lives on mainland Europe. #travel”]
10. What has been the biggest sacrifice you’ve had to make by travelling as a family
I guess it would have to be the financial sacrifice, even though it doesn’t really feel like that to us. We could have fancy gadgets all round the house, a bigger car and a brand new wardrobe if we didn’t travel but those are just objects. As corny as it sounds we really do enjoy experiences much more than things.
When we did our long trips we gave up a lot more – we downsized everything, decluttered and left our houses that we rented behind. That was definitely a sacrifice but it taught us a lot about what we really need in the world and what home really was.
[Tweet “Sacrifice taught us a lot about what we really need in the world and what home really was. #travel”]
If you enjoyed Kirsty’s 10 Family Travel Tips, head over to her blog at bartsgoadventuring.com where you can discover more about her family travel adventures.