Do Kids Enjoy Travel? Reasons They Do

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I’ve been asked more than once if my kids enjoy travel. Some readers are concerned that children could be sad being away from friends and family or that they miss pets, bikes and toys. Others feel kids need stability and routine and may find long travel days and uncertainty hard to cope with. I can tell you for sure that my kids do enjoy travel, we have conversations that go like this pretty regularly:

Me “Do you want to go home?”

D or Boo ” Yes, maybe for 2 days or 5 days.”

After 2 years on the road they don’t want to stop. So here, for the doubters, are my kids’ reasons for enjoying our travel lifestyle. So in answer to the question “Do kids enjoy travel?” Here are my tweens ( now teens and still happy) on the subject.

Do Kids Enjoy Travel? Ttravelling children give the reasons they enjoy travel
Do kids enjoy travel?

It was an overwhelming yes, these are their reasons, as they came.

  1. Being adventurous makes me feel good. That’s music to my ears!
  2. Staying in 1 place is boring, I like doing new things all the time. I can agree with that.
  3. It’s exciting to taste new foods. They always try local foods, these kids are great eaters and budding cooks, we’ve taken a few family cooking classes around the world.
  4. We’d been to all the good places at home already, we just had to go to the same places over and over. Much as we loved the Wildlife Habitat and Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures, after the first 10 times they got a bit stale. Although visiting the Great Barrier Reef was always fresh, we wanted more.
  5. I like seeing lots of different animals in the wild.  They’re both animal nuts, as am I. Favourite animals so far are blue whales in Sri Lanka and coatis in Guatemala. Did you know I studied Zoology at university? My enthusiasm rubs off on them.
  6. Carrying a backpack helps build my muscles and makes me strong. Says D, he comes up to my chin now at 10 years old and loves carrying my pack for me occasionally or collecting the heavy bags from airport carousels. He bursts with pride at his new strength. His father and I both love a physical challenge.
  7. We can eat amazing foods, only a few weeks ago I ate a tarantula.  In Siem Reap, Cambodia, read that post here, it was all D’s idea.
  8. I get to see my Dad much more because normally he’s always in work. He’s a chef, so this is a particularly big deal in our family. The kids deserve to have their father in their life more.
  9. We love playing with Dad in the sea, particularly body boarding in new countries. In Kovalam, Kerala, read that one here, or the hours the boys spent jumping huge waves in Mirissa, Sri Lanka. I’d like to point out that Mum does all this stuff too, but Dad is more fun, apparently.
  10. I can do my own thing, I can get my ears pierced and not get haircuts. I want to be a goth . Says D, like mother like son.
  11. We love eating at buffets, free food is the best. Who doesn’t love a buffet now and then? Or for 11 days straight, as on our trans-Atlantic cruises or at some of the amazing hotels we get invited to review.
  12. We don’t have to go to school. D hated school and Boo has never been. Neither have any desire to go.
  13. I like learning Spanish and asking for things in Spanish. They picked up a fair bit of Spanish in Guatemala, so much so that they got English and Spanish mixed up for weeks afterwards. D is now teaching himself from a book with great enthusiasm.
  14. We go to amazing places like Angkor Wat and Disney. D has a song he sings ” I’ve eaten bugs, I’ve been to Angkor!”
  15. There’s not usually any bedtime, we go to bed at the same time as Mum and Dad and sleep for as long as we want. Suits me, body clocks are there to be listened to.
  16. I like tuk tuks loads (Boo).
  17. I love sleeper trains (D).
  18. We spent lots of time learning to kayak and we’re really good at it now. 6 weeks on Ko Phangan and a couple of kayaking trips in wonderful Laos in rapid flood waters.
  19. We got to see snow. Not just snow, they saw Niagara Falls frozen solid and learned to ski.
  20. We had friends in Australia and now we have friends in London too. Great friends, there are many places around the world that feel like home now, including Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. Sometimes we stay with friends around the world and always look forward to reunions.
  21. Granny came to see us in London, we hardly saw her in Australia. Good old World Travel Granny! I’m trying to persuade her to blog.
  22. We got to go to Forest School.
  23. Lots of people read my blog. ( Boo). It’s called Boy Around the World. He’s not been blogging lately, we’ve been travelling hard in India and haven’t found the time, but soon!
  24. We love reading books on buses and trains, we have lots of time to read. books are costing me a fortune, but it’s so easy to just order them a new book for each long journey. Both boys learnt to read outside school and both are passionate about books.
  25. We like going to different museums and zoos and things like that. So many museums! Multiple visits to all of London’s great free museums as well as trips to incredible places like the Dali museum in Spain, the New York Natural History Museum ( Night at the Museum) and the Kennedy Space Centre.
  26. We love being homeschooled. The reasons they like alternative education can be another post.
  27. I can listen to music on my headphones. He’s heavily into the Stereophonics at the moment and sometimes listens to Horrible Histories audio books.
  28. I like money, working out all the different currencies. Says Boo, he loves maths.
  29. I like seeing the differences around the world. It’s shocking, the difference is so tremendous. Said D, meaning London and India, I love that word “tremendous” and very glad that he sees the differences.
  30. We get to watch loads of movies on aeroplanes. And occasionally we have hotel rooms with English TV where the kids can totally knock themselves out on films. They watch TV so infrequently that I actually think it’s good for them to catch up with the western world.

So there you go, that’s their top 30 reasons for loving travel, as they thought of them. Obviously, they’re kids, so you’re not going to get answers like, ” We love experiencing different cultures and climates and learn so much from them.” Nor will you get ” We love learning about world religions and history at source.” But I’m here with them, 24/7, I pick up on the little comments. When we went camel riding in Dubai D said ” I can’t believe how many biomes I’ve seen now.” When we saw the mummified body of St Francis Xavier in India I heard, ” He went all over the world didn’t he?” . In Fort Cochi Boo said, ” Oh, it’s the spice trade again!”. They’re learning and growing all the time, the pieces of the jigsaw are fitting together for them beautifully and, most importantly, they are happy. So are Chef and I, so for now we will continue.

What do you think? Do you travel with your kids and do they have any reasons they could add to this list? If so, let me know in the comments, I’m happy to add them and credit them.

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About the author
Alyson Long
Alyson Long is a British medical scientist who jumped ship to chase dreams. A former Chief Biomedical Scientist at London's West Middlesex Hospital she started in website creation and travel writing in 2011. Alyson is a full-time blogger and travel writer, a published author, and owns several websites. World Travel Family is the biggest. A lifetime of wanderlust and over 6 years of full-time travel, plus a separate 12 month gap year, has given Alyson and the family some travel expert smarts to share with you on this world travel site. Today Alyson still travels extensively to update this site and continue her mission to visit every country, but she's often at home on her farm in Australia.

18 thoughts on “Do Kids Enjoy Travel? Reasons They Do”

  1. Hi, those tips are awesome and really helpful! By the way, considering transportation laws, lugging car seats can be a nightmare! Did you know that Kidmoto can solve that problem for you? Ditch the car seats when flying with a baby! A life-saver, I promise:)

  2. I believe that it is very important to travel with children from an early age. This instills a love for an active lifestyle and gives unforgettable emotions for the child and parents.

    • So what if the parents are the type to lie on a beach all day when they go on holiday. Is this still travel in your opinion? It’s certainly not an active lifestyle. I’m just wondering how you define travel? Holiday, vacation, or more?

  3. I think travel is definitely good for kids and mine have travelled a lot but for us, if they want to one day be a part of the traditional school system, have a great understanding of a traditional life, have a traditional career and feel a common connection to the world, then long term continuous travel is not for them. After we traveled for a year mine came home and though they were able to academically transition easily back into school, socially, etc – they found the transition hard. We all agreed it was amazing and one of the best things we had ever done but they also agreed that they wanted the everyday friends, relationships, boredom & routines that allow you to develop your own passions & goals.

    We still travel often but I want my kids to know both roads. I personally could easily just keep travelling but for our family and our kids, it isn’t what we believe is best for our lives.

    A few months after our boys came back from our year long trip my youngest said “it was really great mum but lets not go for so long again”. Now 4 years later he is talking about another long trip but in the meantime he has been so happy…

    • We’ll agree to disagree on that then. I can’t imagine anything worse than being indoctrinated into the system via the school route. It’s very telling that you had kids in school, took them out, went on holiday for a year and put them straight back in. That is not long term travel, that’s a gap year. You and the kids were a part of the system, you have that mindset and you went straight back to it, nothing changed. Our choice is to totally remove ourselves from it. For the good or the bad, nobody can predict outcomes, we’re all still ( after 5 years of travel) very happy with this lifestyle and the opportunities and different way of living that it presents. Also, I’m a little dumbfounded, what part of traditional life do you think they’re not experiencing? You mention boredom, got any other examples? Trust me, they know boredom, the difference is, they can fit their computers and books or bunnies and unicycles, into their boredom. I was stuck in a classroom with zero choices so lived boredom, without options, for my entire school career. It was a total waste of a childhood that could have been so much more. I should also mention that I went to a superb school and did very well ( although I never wanted to be there, I wanted my freedom), the school options that were available to the boys were beyond bad, so that helped precipitate our decision. We saw the traditional life that was around us and wanted no part of it, buy a boat, buy more camping gear, live for your day off work or 2 week holiday, fill your life with clothes and dressing up, watch team sport because that’s fun right? Watch TV, buy a bigger house, buy a bigger TV….nope. You can keep the Australian dream, it’s not our dream. I should also mention that the school system failed my husband, it taught him nothing. Yet we both did “traditional life” along with careers, houses, routine and monotony for many years before waking up to the fact that life does not have to be that way. So we fixed it.

    • Would you mind explaining in further detail how your children found it hard transitioning back into “traditional” lifestyle when you guys got back?

      We are leaving late summer and we do not have a firm plan as of right now. I do know that I am looking for a different lifestyle than the live to work – rat race…..I personally find it emotionally, physically and mentally draining – for children and for adults. However, I recognize that not everyone needs to travel longterm to have a lifestyle removed from the rat race. One can simply choose not to par take in it — to live differently right there at home. And if thats what my kids choose Im totally fine with that — when they are old enough and independent enough to be able to choose their path.

      Do you feel that your kids had a hard time conforming to the standards and expectations placed on them by society or was it the mundane that was difficult to become reaccustom to? is there anything — now looking back — that you think may have made it easier?

      I think that anytime you make a big life change there is going to be a time of transition. I think my littlest is going to have a hard time transitioning to a nomadic lifestyle. Littles like routine, they like repition (sp?) — so currently researching how to make this transition as easy on him as possible. I cant say that we will live nomadic indefinitely and in the event that we choose to settle some where — id be interested to know what sort of issues you felt the kids had and why you felt they had them etc.

      • There is a huge difference Stephanie, between a 1 year gap year or RTW and a nomadic lifestyle. I’ve done both, they are not in any way the same thing. One feels like an extended holiday, prepaid, no work, the other is just ” life” but in different places. You are forced to slow down and live in a far more boring way because sometimes you just have to get stuff done, you have to spend days getting new passports, or go to xyz place ( Bangkok) to buy something like a new laptop, or spend days working to earn the cash to keep your lifestyle possible, or pop back home to visit somebody or check on your property, They’re very different things. A 1 year holiday is, for most people, just a holiday. My kids have never had any interest in routine, people tell you hey like routine, and I guess some might, mine don’t. They like doing what they feel like doing.

  4. I don’t know how many times my kids have said recently, “We’ve done everything here over and over.” It may be finally that change is good. However, they both do activities that require weekly attendance…..It’s tough.

  5. Great post. Travelling has definitely changed our children for the better. Now they no longer see barriers where once they perceived them. They can demonstrate a greater understanding of the world. They are more confident, resilient and innovative. They can look beyond their immediate social circle. They have the ability to lead and be a part of a team. They are better global citizens and more compassionate individuals. They are achieving things now we never dreamed they would accomplish and have a deep respect for this planet and all those that live upon it. We are closer as a family. We are so proud and so glad…

  6. Beautiful! I’m not sure my kids are always so receptive to traveling. They often talk about missing their friends at home…

    • Hi Tara! Are you currently on the road traveling? Im interested in knowing how long you have been gone from home if so and your kids perspective.

      Sometimes we make decisions for our kids that they wouldn’t choose themselves because we know it will be best for them in the long run. Do you feel that despite them missing their friends that the benefits traveling is superior to the benefits of settling down in one place?

  7. I could not agree more with you, I love the points your boys make. Even though we have not travelled as much as you guys, we have taken our little one since he was 3 weeks old everywhere we went (he is 3 now), including travelling the states and canada for 4 months and South africa last summer. we are expecting twins in August and are currently planning another longer trip of hopefully 3 -4 months for end of next year if everything goes well – hopefully south america will be a big part of that – until then, I will enjoy reading your posts and dream of travelling !

  8. Kids are so honest!!! I did some asking here, my girls are 14 and 8 and we have been travelling for over 6 months now and have done other long chunks of travelling over the years.

    – meeting new friends
    – learning geography with dad and looking at the map where we have been.
    – being with my family
    – freedom, feeling that I am not wasting my life.
    – excitement of getting to know a new place.
    – the sun!! (we do try to follow summer)
    – living each day, slow.
    – seeing how other people live
    – not knowing what comes next (love and hate)
    There were a few things they said they didn’t like missing the library and not having privacy (quite obviously from a teenager!!!)
    But asked if they will change it it was a very firm No!!!!

  9. Totally agree with your boys, Alyson! We haven’t done 2% of the travels you did, but we have done our fair part of globetrotting with our kids. Our eldest daughter (she’s 20 now) says she far less prejudiced than many of her friends and the youngest one (16 now) says she won’t take anything for granted, because it’s all a matter of the culture one grew up in.
    Tell Boo I’m very impatient to get an update on his blog – maybe one from Transylvania??

  10. My family is becoming a travel family as of late. We packed up and moved to Indonesia in August, we’ve enjoyed some SE Asia destinations this year, and this summer we’ll tour Spain, France, and England. I am loving it, but I sometimes worry about how our kids will fare (they are 3 and 6). It’s great to hear your children’s perspectives!

    And a suggestion for you–an Amazon plus membership saves us some money on Kindle uploads. 🙂

    • I noticed that this was over 2 years ago — do you feel that your concerns were valid or do you feel that your kids fared just fine?

      I have a 4, 9,9 and 13 year old who we will be taking out of traditional life and throwing into a nomadic lifestyle late this summer. Im not concerned about the big kids. But im a tad worried about how the little one will do in not having his “home” — not having the comforts that come with that and the familiarness and his pop pop (grandfather) and the park he is used to and you know — just all the norms that little ones really appreciate.


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