Skip to Content

So What’s it Really Like,Travelling With Kids?

This post may contain affiliate links.

Scary, isn’t it? The idea of spending so much time alone with your kids in a strange country.

Truth is, I love it, life is nicer, generally.

OK, so we’ve only been on the road for two weeks, we’re new at this, but we haven’t been treating this time as a holiday, we’ve started as we mean to go on, travelling slow, living our lives, not rushing around the sites and having a high-old-time.

Here we go with seven reasons I prefer travelling with kids to being at home with kids.

Seven Reasons I Love Travelling With Kids.

1. It’s easier to entertain them. All we have to do is step outside the hostel to experience something new, we can look at shops, people, buildings, vehicles and food outlets. Everything is new and different, everything brings about questions and conversations, nothing is boring.

Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, I love K:

2. We are living in the moment. Little things, the chores of normal life, become events in our day. Cutting nails, taking a shower, washing up. All these things have stopped being just another job to be rushed through and got over with. We have nothing to be rushing on to do. So a trip to the shower block is a good opportunity for a chat, I can sit outside while I talk to them in the shower cubicles, help them with shampoo and towels, get them back to the room and make sure they are  warm and dry. It’s nice, it’s an event in the day and I can stop and think about how lucky I am to have these little toenails to cut.


3.Food is less of a focus. I’ve stopped stressing about feeding them, when they are hungry, they eat, so do I. I can treat them to a banana pancake or a pineapple pie if we pass a stall selling them. I don’t have to keep cupboards stocked or worry about meals being just-so. D (9) just had a vegetable samosa from a street stall and a marmite and tomato sandwich for lunch. He’s been snacking on fruit all morning. He’s eating just fine, without me having to worry. I’m eating less and losing weight, I no longer eat through boredom.


4. The kids are taking on more responsibility. I’m cursed with being a perfectionist, I like things done just-so at my house.

Here, in this lovely hostel, I’m far less up-tight. The kids are washing their own plates and glasses, helping me wash clothes and packing their own things away. It’s good for them, they’re really proud of themselves, and it’s less stress for me.

I’m not sure if I’m letting them do these things because I’m less stressed or I’m less stressed because they are doing more for themselves. Could be either.


5.We are truly doing things together. How often, at home, do the kids end up in one room and Mum in another? They watch TV while you cook dinner or play games while you’re online. That doesn’t happen now, we’re together the whole time, if they watch a movie, I have the luxury of watching it with them. We can read together, talk, play Uno, watch Star Trek. Always together, all three of us. I know exactly what’s going on in their world and in their heads, it’s good.

We only have one computer, so sometimes I just hand it over and watch them enjoy the technology while I do absolutely nothing. That’s a very rare thing in the real world.


6. They are learning so much more. They’ve had six years in Port Douglas. They’ve pulled every shred of learning out of that environment, from the beach, to the rainforest, to the reef. OK, that’s not true, liar-liar pants-on-fire, nobody could ever know everything, but they know all that they need to know.

Now they’re in a totally new environment. They’re seeing and experiencing new things every day. They’re figuring out how to do things, how to buy a train ticket from the high tech machine at the station, how to buy themselves a snack or a drink in a foreign currency from a street stall, how to follow maps and negotiate the world around them.

It’s lovely to watch their confidence grow, on the first day they were nervous as kittens, now they look like they own this area.


7. They are meeting new people. They’ve chatted with travellers old and young at the hostel, learning how to interact with all sorts of individuals. From the Indonesian and Chinese tourists who love to take photos of cute Western kids ( smile and wave boys, just smile and wave), to the lovely young girls who just enjoy talking to them.

On the streets we’ve met Muslims, Hindus and Christians, we’ve experienced kindness and indifference. Kindness is winning hands down at the moment.

They are learning to function in a fairly adult world, they need to show consideration to other hostel guests, keep the noise down, not run around, tidy their stuff away. I think it’s good for them. There is plenty of time to play, too, Kuala Lumpur has amazing places for them to run and climb and I have plenty of time to take the children to those places, I don’t have to rush home to mop the floor.


So, for now, it is good, very good. Travelling with my children is cheaper than being at home, it’s certainly better for the children and for us as a family. I’m just wondering why we didn’t do this sooner.

How long will it last before I’m screaming and tearing my hair out, wishing for my own space and home comforts? Don’t know. No idea. Stick around and find out.

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 the more tricky adventure or extended travel insurance.

Try Stayz / VRBO for an alternative way to find rentals on homes/apartments/condos in any country!

Amanda Kendle

Wednesday 24th of July 2013

Beautiful post and I wholeheartedly agree. I travelled/lived abroad for six years before coming back to Oz to "settle down" and we now have a three-year-old son but have just started to fit more travel time into our lives - had a month in Europe recently - and it is definitely a more relaxed and enjoyable way to parent and my son learnt and grew so much. Now just figuring out some more extended trips for the future!

Sarah Robinson

Thursday 18th of July 2013

Alyson I love this list! I can't wait for our adventure to start and we can kick back and enjoy spending quality time together rather than everyone dashing from work to school to after school activities. Sarah


Thursday 18th of July 2013

It really is true Sarah, the children have their moments, they drove me nuts yesterday afternoon, but once you focus more on them, their needs, it's great, so rewarding. I slowly woke up, snuggled in a single bed with D this morning, " you're the best mum in the world, mum". That wouldn't happen if they had to rush off to school :)

gabi klaf

Friday 21st of June 2013

i admit. i'm teary eyed looking at these photos. they bring me back to a place so very dear to our hearts- BackHome Hostel will always be so special to us. And your insights! I'm so proud of you! Beginnings are not easy. Our beginnings, in March 2011 when we hit New York and it was sooooooo hard, and many other little beginnings along the way have been really hard. I'm so proud and inspired by what you are learning. Go girl. I knew you could do it Alyson! Deep respect, Gabi


Friday 21st of June 2013

Thank you Gabi :)


Friday 21st of June 2013

Glad to see things are going so well. I'm sure it will continue. Amy and I appreciate having more time together too since we've been travelling. It makes such a difference.

Capturing la Vita

Thursday 20th of June 2013

Isn't it funny how they take on so much more responsibility when traveling? I love that!


Friday 21st of June 2013

I think it's because I let them Laurel. I'm too up-tight to let them have a go at home.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please check and double-check all the information we give you locally as times, places, dates, and services do, as we found, change often. Restrictions and closures may apply.