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Graeme McRanor’s girlfriend, Suzy, and son, London, on a train trip.
Graeme McRanor’s girlfriend, Suzy, and son, London, on a train trip.

Stop putting it off: Here’s how to travel with your kids Add to ...

How do you justify taking your kids out of school?

Travelling to various destinations is an interactive form of education that broadens a child’s view of the world. That being said, I’ve always worked with the school on putting a curriculum plan together for longer trips, whether that be in the form of workbooks or reading exercises.

What’s your favourite destination for kids?

Hawaii – hands down. The volcanoes are incredible, snorkelling is some of the best I’ve ever experienced, whale-watching is sure to induce squeals from the kids (and adults), and that’s just touching the surface. Personally, I’m a fan of the beaches in Lahaina, Maui.

BETHANEY DAVIES

New Zealanders Bethaney, Lee and their toddler, Reuben, spend at least six months of the year travelling and most recently returned from a three-month trip around South East Asia.

Follow their adventures on FlashpackerFamily.com.What surprised you most during your travels?

The most surprising thing to me about travel with kids is how life goes on for them no matter what. Whether you’re trekking through the jungle in Thailand, in a five-star hotel in Singapore or somewhere over the Pacific at 30,000 feet, you still have to parent them and go through all the normal stages of development. Tantrums, fussy eating, sleepless nights, toilet training ... this can all be done at home or out and about on your travels.

What is your top tip?

Just go! Many parents are afraid of travelling, especially when children are small, but you needn’t be. Young children are surprisingly flexible and adapt quickly to different smells, sights and sounds. They don’t judge the way we adults do which makes them great little travellers.

What do you never leave home without?

An inflatable toddler bed. It packs into a small carry bag, weighs less than two kilograms, inflates in five minutes and has its own sleeping bag attached. It proved invaluable for our recent three-month trip around South East Asia as cheap hotel rooms are often small and have no provision for extra bedding.

How do you justify taking your kids out of school?

At three years old, Reuben can say “hello” and “thank you” in multiple languages including Thai and Vietnamese which is something certainly not taught at preschool. Learning can be done everywhere and anywhere and travel is a great opportunity to teach even young children about other cultures, language and money.

What’s your favourite destination for kids?

Thailand is my favourite destination for travel with kids. While the flight to get there is lengthy, once you’re on the ground everything is very easy. The weather is warm, the beaches are glorious and the food is fantastic. The Thai people adore children and we often receive special treatment (late checkouts, room upgrades, better airline seats) just by showing up with kids in tow.

CANDACE DERICKX

Candace Derickx blogs about her travels at LifeinPleasantville.com. Candace and her husband love travelling with their two daughters (11 and 9) and, when they persuade him to join them, their 21-year-old son.

What surprised you most during your travels?

I am always blown away by my children’s retention of things we’ve done. I can barely remember what I ate yesterday but they’ll pull out facts and memories from travel that we did years ago. When people tell me they’re waiting to take their kids to Disney when they’re older, I tell them to go now. To young children Disney truly is magical and it’s so great when they see it with those eyes. They’ll remember.

What is your top tip?

Take the time for photos. I was always guilty of rushing along and not bothering and then I’d be kicking myself later. Ask people to take pictures of your whole family so that someone isn’t left out of the picture. Give your kids a camera of their own; you’ll love the perspective they get. Also, be sure to always offer to snap a picture when you see a mom or dad taking a picture of their family. It’s good karma.

What do you never leave home without?

Band-Aids. They collect dust in my home but the moment we hit the road Murphy’s Law says someone is getting a cut or a blister almost immediately. In a pinch I’ve also used them as labels when sending my girls to kids’ camp for the day. I keep a box in my toiletry bag now so I’m never without.

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