Chef and I have always enjoyed budget travel. We’ve always wanted to get maximum travel for our dollar and to us, fancy hotels aren’t (usually) part of that. We make exceptions for the odd splurge but usually we travel to see the world and to learn from our experiences. We need somewhere to sleep and food to eat and that’s as far as it goes. We don’t care about fancy trimmings.
Our children, on the other hand, have been spoilt rotten for most of their tiny lives. One of our big worries, before we set off, was, would they adjust to a lower standard of accommodation?
Because of Chef’s work, my kids have been staying in a fancy 5-star resorts, several times a year, for the last few years. The sort of resort we couldn’t possibly afford. Well, we could, but we’d see it as a total waste of money. Some of the richest people in the world have stayed there, along with a good few celebrities. We’ve rubbed shoulders with them.
When we weren’t staying there we’d be eating there. These kids know good food, and a good hotel, when they see one.
If you want to peek, it was this hotel in Port Douglas that was our second home for several years. We highly recommend it!
I was seriously worried that they just wouldn’t cope with the budget end of the spectrum ( extreme budget travel, actually, we’re incredibly tight with the cash, click the link to see how we do it).
Budget Travel With Kids – Realities
The kids generally don’t care about fancy hotels. What they do care about is having their parents with them and their parents engaged in their lives. Kids care about fun and love and feeling wanted and appreciated by their family. Don’t get me wrong, they also want theme parks, ice cream, huge junk food buffets and water slides.
The beauty of budget travel is that what you save on cheap hotels, you can splurge on theme parks. The other beauty of budget travel lies in no adult expectations. Nothing is worse than sharing a hotel with entitled adults who have spent a fortune to be there and don’t want their peace disturbed by children. You’re better off away from that bunch for sure!
There’s a perception in modern society that kids should be outside in the fresh air, camping, playing with sticks, and building dams. I actually don’t agree, I have very computer savvy kids – but that attitude is there and it fully supports the budget travel ethic. Do you see the double standard? Budget travel is exactly that, a simpler life, a simpler way of being, childhood as it was in “the good old days.”
Were these kids ever going to adjust to rooms at $6/night?
Budget travel was on our agenda it wouldn’t be on theirs. We are happy to sacrifice, but did we have any right to make that call for our kids?
They totally surprised us.
Cheap Hotels With Kids
We found that the kids don’t give a flying monkey’s what the accommodation is like. They see charm and novelty in the strangest things, their world is so different from ours and it’s a joy to see.
They loved sleeping on a river barge in Kanchanaburi. They adored the hostel in Kuala Lumpur because it had little cubby holes for their toys. Bunk beds make their hearts sing. An included breakfast of toast and jam rocks their world. A hammock is the best thing ever. Sleeping on a train is an incredible adventure. They are simple creatures, not jaded, as we can be.
Budget Travel is Torturing Kids
I was sad and disappointed that another nomadic travelling family was criticised for ” torturing their kids”. They were having a wonderful time out exploring the world as a family. Kids enjoy the outdoors, being free, a bit of improvisation, so long as mum and dad are there. Their critics came from the press and from family who just didn’t ” get” it. It’s very common for family not to get it. Parents love their kids and want what’s best for them and if those parents decide that travel would be brilliant for their precious family – leave them be. Maybe those accusers need to see life through a child’s eyes before they make judgements based on adult values.