I’ve been lucky enough to travel to over 38 countries in my lifetime, a lot of it when I was a kid. You may think I was the child of a diplomat or came from a wealthy family, both untrue. I wanted to clarify these points because I think many people/families believe traveling overseas is beyond their budget when the opposite may be possible. It all depends on HOW and WHEN you travel.
I have never flown business class, and unless I am upgraded for free (which is always something I dream about), I doubt I ever will. Even if I could afford it I’d probably save that money and spend it at my destination and/or choose to stay longer.
My Point is: Sometimes you have to give up comfort for the experience.
I was very lucky as a child to have parents that loved to travel. My sister and I went on a couple of round the world trips, which looking back on, were a real epic achievement. Firstly I suppose my parents sacrificed a fair bit to save for our travels, they were both public servants on modest incomes with a mortgage. We went to state school and didn’t really ‘buy’ a lot of stuff, wore hand me downs but I really never noticed, although I did want a Barbie. I clearly remember having a family meeting where my parents gave me a choice of going to Private school or going to Europe, guess which one I chose?
Most trips were taken during the cheapest travel season, usually winter, and our accommodation was often in Hostels or family run pensions. Meals were often at cheap eateries, bars, cafes or a picnic bought at a local market. Our days were filled with free activities like museum and church visits. Mum and Dad would never hesitate to take us out of school during term (to take advantage of cheaper flights). I mean really, what were we going to miss in class that could top visiting the Louvre or an archaeological site?
Sometimes it was a bit crappy, these were the days before Internet so usually we would arrive somewhere and mum would go off to find accommodation within our budget. We were never left without a bed but there would often be a lot of schlepping bags around on public transport etc…
Our family trip to China in 1986 was an all inclusive tour which included all our meals and sightseeing, I think this was a last minute special which my parents couldn’t pass up (luckily they had flexible jobs). We were the only children on the trip, I was 12 my sister 9, and because we were mature and well behaved, no one was bothered. In fact I remember always receiving lots of little gifts from the other members of the tour.
So has that changed your perspective on traveling with kids?
Emma is has already started to collect quite a few stamps in her passport and she is becoming quite the seasoned traveler already. Next stop London…