This is my firt post here. Please bare with me, if the topic has already been covered elsewhere. Maybe it has, but then we have a chance to get new and updated inputs...
We, a family of three (our son, my wife and I) are planning to embark on a world trip beginning 2013. Destinations are not definite yet, but in the current scrapbook are Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and USA.
I would like to hear some thoughts and experiences about travelling with a three-year old. (It will be back-packing.) So far I have only heard positive things about this. Firstly, you travel slowly. Secondly, kids tend to open doors anywhere. They will get you in contact with people you would propably not get in touch with if you were travelling alone. Thirdly, it gives the child a different view of the world and some good, basic human values, as it interacts wit different cultures.
Any thoughts/perspectives on this?
Our biggest worry is if our son loses his "roots"... But I guess if we make sure to have certain daily routines (like when we are home) and continue his up-bringing as "normal" as possible, this should not be too big a problem? Certainly he will get a different up-bringing than most other kids, but that is also the whole meaning of our trip. To give him, and ourselves some quality, family time, filled with those moments that will stay with you forever.
Anyone in here with some experience in this field?
Second topic: Travel insurance! - We don't take any chances, so of course this is essential. However, embarking from Denmark we have seen some quite outrageous offers. For a one-year policy, fully insured in the world (incl USA which is by far the most expensive country to get treatment if needed) we will most likely end up paying in the area of 4000-4500 USD. WOW! It does also include full insurance of personal property items.
Any inputs as to what this actually cost? Can this be true?
We have just started the planning of this trip, and there are lots of practicalities to deal with, before we can leave. But we are in the process now, and it just feels SO right!
Any inputs, thoughts and perspectives you might have are more than welcome!
Thanks in advance!
Anders + family
i think travelling with your son is an absolutely amazing idea.
especially his age, he will be starting to develop his morals and boundaries and his views on the world and also children of that age are incredibly accepting and dynamic.
i dont have children but when i do, finances permitting, this is DEFINATELY something i would do with my kids.
unfortunately i dont know about the insurance unless you fly to england first and start your trip from here?
i dont know if that will make any difference though sorry..
Hi Anders -
I think I'm fairly well placed to discuss travel with children... we have been on the go since our big one was 18 months old and I was pregnant with our little one. They are now 5years and 3 years old.
We have stayed in hostels and travelled on a budget often. Many hostels have a family room or rooms that only sleep 3 or 4 people. For privacy purposes, I prefer booking these rooms, mainly because I don't know who we might end up sharing with, and try to protect our kids a little bit more. Natalie is right, children do open doors, and breaks the ice often, and can endear you to staff, and every little bit of extra help is a benefit.
In travelling for a year he won't lose his roots, because he'll be with you, and you will continue to instil whatever values and traditions are important to you.
Taking it slowly is important. Yesterday we made our kids walk about 5km, and it was too much (we are currently in Vietnam), everyone ended up grumpy, hungry and thirsty. Today we decided to get taxis everywhere, and we were all happy and we could enjoy the sights that we visited.
As crazy as it sounds, I would also make sure you have an iPod Touch and kid sized headphones (not earbuds) specifically for your son. You can load this up with favourite movies, TV shows, books and games, possibly in your home language. You can also refresh it relatively regularly to keep it interesting. This is a good size to easily fit in your bag every day, and can be used in restaurants, on planes, any time you need 5 mins of contained quiet time. (It doesn't make you a bad parent!) Avoid carrying too many toys, kids are seriously happy with a stick.
I can't help with the travel insurance either, but my recommendation is to make sure you have an excellent high quality health component, and not worry so much about the personal effects as most of the time there is an excess to pay, which may be as much or nearly as much as the cost of the item.
Have a fantastic trip, and if I can help out any further, just ask!
Absolutely great idea to take your three year old travelling. I can't speak for long term (though I think Abby covered that really well!! ), but even for the month-long trips we've taken it's certainly hugely fun and educational for little kids. Our son was still talking about a trip we made to San Diego 2 years afterwards (he was 3 at the time).
As a child, my family travelled a lot as well - I was born in the Pacific and lived there for 10 years, then lived in the Netherlands for 7 and now I've been in Australia 15. Sure, it probably messed up my "roots", but I don't begrudge that in the slightest. Roots are overrated
I've read somewhere that constant new experiences like the kind you can have when travelling are actually a huge benefit to brain development at that age (and younger).
Regarding insurance, maybe you could pay for insurance without the US. And then when you get to the US leg, just buy insurance for that smaller period? No point in insuring for a year in the US if you're only going to spend a few weeks there.
Have you looked at Worldnomads as an option? They do have family policies and will certainly be cheaper than those prices you've seen. They're also one of the few insurance companies that allow you to buy insurance once you're already travelling, which would make it possible to only pay extra for the US part of your trip. Just read all the fine print and be sure you're happy with the coverage. It's all about balancing risks.
By the way, I found people in the US to be particularly nice with little kids. It's a great place to take them
So much incredible advice!
I am not in the position to add anything personally but your trip reminds me of a family that blogged their trip on TP that you might want to check out or get in touch with - http://blog.travellerspoint.com/304/
Good luck. Happy travels!
Thank you all SO much for your tips and insights! We are only encouraged even more now to "just DO it"...!
We just want to have all of these GREAT moments that will mean so much to us later on in life, and that will (hopefully) give our son some good and healthy values in life.
As for the iPod Touch thing: He is already familiar with those gadgets, so I am sure he will not be too happy if we left that behind. And as you said, it doesn't take much space.
I loved the blog about the family going to Turkey. They said pretty much the same as everyone else about the topic of travelling with children: As long as they feel safe and loved, they are remarkably though!
Thanks again. Once we start the trip we will be blogging, tweeting and photographing from the road. So I will let people here on this site know as well.