We are a family travel blog, travel with kids is easy and good for families and parents alike, often. Here are our tips on travel with kids or as a family, based on our experience of 6+ years of international full-time travel with kids. Travel with kids tips blog posts are thick on the ground and often carbon copies of each other. Every family travel blogger has his or her own take on how travel with kids should be done. They’ve all got experience and they all offer advice that works for their family on how to make family travel smoother or more affordable.
But we’re not all exactly the same, some bloggers do things that we wouldn’t even consider and I’m sure plenty of travel bloggers think we’re crazy, so here are our (slightly tongue-in-cheek) travel with kids tips.
We all pump out these same posts on our family travel blogs, all virtually identical, so just to be different and entertaining, here’s ours.
We also give you travel with kids tips for particular countries and destinations if you scroll on down.
We travelled around the world full-time with our kids for 6 years and counting.
We think we got this travel with kids thing nailed! Hopefully, we can help you with these travel with kids tips for beginners.
Travel With Kids Blog, The Usual Clichés
Travel is great for kids and for families. Babies tie you down. Flying with children is hard. Picky eaters will starve to death overseas. Everyone will get a tummy bug and end up in the hospital because of those unsanitary “foreign” hygiene standards. None of these cliches is necessarily true.
Travel is what you make it. Travel with kids even more so.
Travel with kids is usually no harder than being at home with kids, and we all signed up for that, right?
Should You Travel With Kids?
Absolutely! If you leave them at home they’re likely to trash the house and you may get locked up for negligence.
If we didn’t think travel with kids was an excellent idea we wouldn’t have turned our lives upside down, sold everything, packed backpacks and kids on a plane and set out into the world to travel full-time.
You may like to check out these posts to see why we do this crazy bizarre thing: One Year of Travel: Educational Highlights, Travel with Kids, What’s it really like?
Travel opens kids’ eyes to the world and brings greater family togetherness and time.
Both of these factors make travel good for kids.
Is Travelling With Kids Expensive?
Travel with kids is only expensive if you put them in charge of the holiday money.
Seriously, yes, of course, it costs more, but we signed up for bankruptcy when we took the parenting gig.
The younger they are, the cheaper they are to travel with.
Younger kids eat less and sometimes stay or travel free, but if you have big kids like ours, yes, it’s expensive.
Under 2 years old you can often travel with a baby or toddler for free on a plane. Up to 12 years old you can usually find child stays free deals in hotels.
12 is not always the cut-off, children can still qualify for child rates to 16 and even 18 years old, if you really hunt hard.
Once your children are past about 12 years old travel with kids gets expensive. They eat a lot more and you’ll often have to pay full adult price.
What’s the best age to travel with kids? We think from about 10 years old, but for a full explanation read the post.
Despite the costs, we still managed one year of full-time travel on around $100 per day. Find our budget tips for travel with kids here.
Tips For Flying With Kids
Adults are usually far more irritating on planes than kids. That’s because they are bigger, have some really nasty habits and there are more of them in the air.
If other adults have a problem with your kids, don’t worry.
They’re probably just having a bad day and you will never, ever, have to see them again.
Do not expect the kids to suddenly transform into the kids-they-aren’t just because they’re on a plane.Alyson Long
Kids will be exactly the same on the plane as they are at home.
You have an advantage on planes, if you tell them that seat belts have to be left on at all times, they won’t move, much.
If your children are used to having computers all the time at home, they will wonder why the rules have suddenly been changed.
If they’re not used to them, they won’t miss them.
Do not expect to get a break from being a parent. There are no babysitters on planes.
The nice cabin crew take care of feeding them for you (usually) and clearing up after them (always) and in-flight entertainment is a wonderful thing. (if you’ve got it.)
Do not drug them. They’re your kids, I know, but if you drug them I’ll be really cross.
If your child kicks the seat in front, stop them. I’ve only ever come across a seat kicker once, in all my years of flying many times every year. It’s incredibly annoying. In this case, the mom was asleep.
I let her rest, junior was OK, just irritating.
Flying as a family can be a lot of fun, it’s a time when you’re all together and free from other distractions. Treasure time together like this, childhood ends way too soon.
Where Should You Stay When Travelling With Kids?
Where do you normally stay when you travel? In a tent, a hotel, a guest house? Any of those are absolutely fine.
If mum and dad are happy with the accommodation the kids won’t complain. If mum and dad grumble, so will the kids. Monkey see monkey do.
My kids have never, ever posted a bad review on Trip Advisor.
When Travelling With Kids, What Will They Eat?
Wherever you go in the world you will find an abundance of restaurants, shops, cafes and markets. All of these places sell food.
You will even find amazing kid havens like Mc Donalds and Starbucks in even the remotest corners of the world.
If that fails, there is fruit and eggs.
Do not let your kids pick all of the food, this will cost you more and too much ice cream is bad.
Will My Child Get Sick While We Are Travelling?
Does your child get sick at home? It’s same same.
There are doctors everywhere in the world and you usually find that they are good and, outside the USA, affordable.
If you don’t need a doctor care for them as you would at home. Most parents have had lots of practice at this.
The things you need at home for child sickness should be in your travel bag, in our case a travel thermometer, paracetamol, dressings and antiseptic are always at hand.
See what we’ve used from our travel medical kit over the last year here.
For road travel with kids I always pack a plastic bag or two and abundant tissues. Often the other adults on the bus need these more than the children.
Will My Child Enjoy Travelling?
Kids don’t always enjoy everything, parents don’t always enjoy everything either.
It’s up to us to make their trips full of memories, engaging, fun and, my favourite, educational.
They will get out of it what you put into it.
If they’re really miserable just remind them that they could be stuck in school.
Where is it Best to Travel with Kids?
That is totally dependent on personality and expectations. Beach people should go to the beach, outdoorsy people should climb mountains, culture lovers should trawl museums and temples.
It’s a very big and wonderfully diverse world out there, everyone can find something to enjoy. The reasons people travel vary so much from one individual to another and that’s OK.
We’re humans, we’re all different.
My personal best place to travel with kids is Thailand. Thailand is an easy country to travel to, it’s cheap, so taking kids to Thailand is affordable.
Thailand has high standards in hotels and resorts but also great budget accommodation for travelling families. You will find family rooms, suites, and kids’ clubs in Thailand.
It’s the destination with the best food in the world (arguably) and it has a great mix of cultural interest, outdoor activities, and beaches. It also offers snorkelling, scuba diving, and water sports, plus wildlife.
Read our post on family travel in Thailand with kids. Our other favourite family travel destinations with kids are these:
- London with kids, also England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales
- Nepal with kids (including Everest Base Camp)
- Malaysia with kids, particularly Kuala Lumpur
We lean more towards Asia and South East Asia as the best family destinations with kids because Asian destinations are what we find most interesting. Your family may prefer Europe or domestic travel. Cruising with kids is another option.
International vs Domestic Travel for Families and Kids
Domestic travel can be cheaper than international travel for families, but only sometimes. If you can get a cheap flight to a more affordable country, then international travel can easily be cheaper for a family.
For instance, here in Australia, a hotel will be over $100 per night and a meal for four about the same cost.
In some parts of Asia a family room can be under $50 and a meal for four under $10.
We once paid $19 to fly on AirAsia.
In parts of the world where there are budget airlines or overland buses and trains, travel can be very cheap for families.
You need to learn how to use Skyscanner to find the best deals and routes.
Domestic travel can be more eco-friendly in terms of your carbon footprint, but not always. It depends how you travel in your own country.
Resort hotels use air conditioning and boil wash linens daily, a simple guest house in Asia, which you reached on a public bus not a four-wheel drive camper van, looks greener to me.
A simple meal of local produce is a greener choice than a buffet spread with its associated wastage and imported foods.
Domestic travel can be educational for your kids, most countries have interesting, historic, and cultural places to see.
Where we lived we’d exhausted just about everywhere local, so we need to travel internationally.
When Travelling With Kids, What Should I Pack?
For travel with kids and as a family you should pack clothes, (unless you’re going to a naturist resort), a few toiletries and required medicines, sensible footwear, all necessary electronics, a favourite toy, and depending on the kids’ age, reading material.
You’ll need to pack a wash kit, unless you’re a soap dodger.
A basic medical kit is necessary, unless your kids never hurt themselves or get sick. The shops are likely to be closed when your child develops a fever.
Your child will need any particular bear, blankie or pillow they can’t live without.
That’s it, you don’t need anything else, if you don’t pack enough of any of the above there are shops in most places, don’t stress, everything will be fine!
Shops sell really cheap toys, the kids usually get more fun out of a new toy, whatever the price, than the expensive whatever that they absolutely had to have back home.
Local shops will sell clothes suitable for the local climate, maybe pack less, buy more. Read our post on travel essentials.
Being a Family Travel Blogger and Travel With Kids
I’ve been a travel blogger since 2012, I’ve raised a family while travelling the world and the kids loved it. They tell me often how amazing their childhood was. I love being a travelling family and a travel blogger.
Travel blogging makes money and is a huge industry, there are thousands of us competing for those top spots on Google.
How to become a family travel blogger and make money, read our post!
Are there drawback to travel with kids? The only drawbacks are loss of income, potentially, and separation from family and friends. We don’t consider either to be real drawbacks.
But if being away from loved ones or your home look like big problems to you, don’t travel, stay home.
We love the freedom of travel and not having ties, but we fully understand that we may not be like you. Worldschooling (a term for education while travelling) was fabulous for my kids.
My kids did not miss out on school, there was never any advantage or joy in sending them to school that we, or they, could see.
That’s it, I really can’t think of anything else. Travelling with kids is really just like being at home with kids with more interesting scenery. It’s doable, it’s fun and it’s great for your family. If you still have doubts just talk to me in the comments section below. Happy travels! There are loads of links in this post to other travel with kids posts, or you can use the search box to find what you need. We are one of the biggest family travel blogs in the world, we’re likely to have what you’re looking for.
If you'd like to hire a car during your stay, use this car rental comparison tool to find the best deal!
We also suggest you take a look at this company to get a quote for all kinds of travel insurance.
Try Stayz / VRBO for an alternative way to find rentals on homes/apartments/condos in any country!
Tuesday 4th of January 2022
Nice! Those tips and tricks about travelling with kids will definitely help! By the way, if you often fly with a baby, we can definitely help lighten up your load. We provide child-friendly, safe and convenient airport transportation services with pre-installed car seats.
Friday 17th of July 2020
Alyson for World Travel Family
Friday 17th of July 2020
Thursday 24th of July 2014
Good for you, for packing your kiddos up and taking them along with you. What wonderful rich experiences for you all!
Thursday 24th of July 2014
You are braver than I am! Great blog.
Wednesday 9th of July 2014
What humor - this is a great post! Especially loved that bit about the kids never posting a bad review on Trip Advisor.. still chuckling! Parenting is an adventure - why not have more interesting scenery while traveling? :)