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The Advantages of Travelling with Kids

Let's face it, there's a whole thought process that will prevent you from travelling with your little ones. It's easy to put off those trips until the kids are a bit older or switch to an easier location. It's easy to assume some things will be too difficult or that you'll miss out on aspects of that dream trip because the kids will hold you back. And that is true, probably. There's a heap of ways your kids will benefit from the experiences of culture and language but we don't need them here, There's some genuine advantages to travelling with kids for you, the parent-venturer (that doesn't work, does it?!)

1. You get to see everyone at their best

I've lost count of the amount of times I have strolled into a restaurant, shop or even down the street only for my kids to steal the show and make me a load of new friends. A chatty kid can be the ultimate ice breaker and thanks to our kids we've enjoyed the home cooked food of hosts, been let into places we shouldn't have and simply become a part of the local community on a much more authentic level. There's nothing quite like a tricky barter with a kid on your shoulder smiling and repeating "lower, lower!" in whatever the local language is. We've enjoyed this benefit since taking a 3 month old Isla to Bali and hope to continue for many more trips... until the kids have grown out of their cute charm.

2. You're no longer "too cool" for stuff

You know those things you always wanted to do, but are a little too cool to do because they're a bit too touristy, or you're a bit embarrassed to ask. Well now you get to do it "for the kids"! Asking some random guy to take a "hilarious" photo of us (including a do-over when the snake didn't actually look like it was on our heads - amateur!), wearing that guy's pet parrot or cuddling the elephant at Bali Zoo, bartering for a ridiculously over-complicated looking kite at the markets, getting the boat driver to see if we can fit under the bridge at Hoi An... These are all things I am no longer too cool for. There's a heap of guilty pleasures and awesome experiences I would've probably turned my nose up to, some of which have been highlights of our recent trips. The kids may take a bit of convincing at times but a quick ice cream bribe usually does the trick!

3. The best reason to get up and about

Jet lag or no, the kids will make sure you don't have any wasted days reading on your balcony! you've got the extra motivation to find the local spots to enjoy your day and very little reason to waste your time and lazy your travel away. The extra incentive of responding to whatever your little adventurers need will make sure you're out and about and exposed to the unique culture of whatever-the-hell-place you've just spent a fortune flying to!

4. Airport Queuing

The absolute worst bit of any trip is obviously the 7 seperate times you have to queue to show someone your passport - in each god damn airport! The instant ability to skip the odd queue, use a family queue and soften up the stern faced customs officer is a welcome addition to the trip. Use your airport time to shop, eat or refuel for the next flight rather that standing in a very slightly different place every 5 minutes for a couple of hours.

5. Adapt your understanding

There's a certain magic that dawned on me as we were wandering around My Son Sanctuary in middle Vietnam trying to explain the ruins and the frequent missile craters that punctuate the site. The questioning of a child seemed to really draw attention to what we were looking at. Without taking the time to read every plaque and instead skimming the basics we established a half decent understanding of the place's history while still enjoying the simple beauty of the forrest's reclaiming of the landscape. The same happened in Cambodia's incredible temples. It has allowed us to focus on the feel and the vibe of where we are instead of feeling we have to read and learn our way around.

6+ Bonus simple benefits

Let's face it, carrying baby wipes is always pretty damn handy. especially when you're stumbling around somewhere whose water quality can be a little sketchy. The kids ensure we always prepare a little more than we would've before and a bag full of emergency drinks and snacks does not only cater for the kids - Mum and Dad can get a bit adventure-peckish too. We carry a Mary Poppins (or was that Shary Bobbins?!) style pack of swim wear, spare clothing and sunscreen that will help us through our adventure but don't forget...

Adventuring can be a little hard work and so you can also enjoy using the kids as an excuse to toddle off back to the hotel for a nap when everything gets a little too much!


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