For God’s sake don’t let my teenagers see that I am writing a traveling with kids post. They’d be horrified to hear me referring to them as kids. They are 17 and 14. According to them, they are almost ready to collect their pensions.
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A Travel With Kids Blog. How To Stay Sane Until The Wine Comes Out.
There are three reasons I will share this information with you. One: because I am kind. Two: because I have spent the best part of a year travelling the world with two teenagers so I know what I’m talking about when it comes to travelling with kids thank you very much, and three: well; three because I think you need to know the truth and I want you to read my blog.
We have been travelling the world for almost a year, and yes, my son may be old enough to smoke and get married with my permission (which he will never receive – obviously), and my daughter is a fifty-three-year-old woman disguised in a 14-year-old body, but; they are still my kids, so here goes.
A quick disclaimer – if you are expecting to find a blog post filled with ‘holiday fun for teenagers and the likes, then I’m sorry, but you are going to be disappointed. My kids have been brats today, so they are gonna get it.
This post won’t be what you’re looking for. Try ‘Nice mums and dads dot com’.
Now for some real honest tips on travelling with kids.
Just take the bloody devices.
Don’t even think about travelling with teenagers and not taking some sort of device. If you are travelling with little kids, then you will have to use your common sense. Thankfully, the screens weren’t around when my kids were small. My kids had to make do with some weird handmade stick house that their inventive mother chose to inflict on them. We were homeschooling long before they were teenagers.
As much as I bloody hate the things with a passion, your teenagers will hate you more if you try and tell them that they can’t communicate with their friends through snap chat or Instagram or whatever else fake and annoying social media channel they use.
When we set off for this world trip, we seriously considered going tech-free, but honestly, when you are stuck at an airport or on an overnight train, kids need time to themselves to zone out and send selfies with fake eyelashes and cat ears superimposed onto their faces.
It’s the law. It just has to be done.
Don’t Forget The Kindles
These ingenious gadgets are the best things that we have ever bought for this trip. When you find yourself in a place with no wifi or the battery has gone flat on the beloved phone, you could take the Kindle and kiss its little screen.
No matter that my daughter keeps reading Stephen King novels when she promised me that she would read Jane Austen’s Emma. I won’t fret about that now.
Don’t Underestimate Your Kids
I know my kids are probably a lot older than most of yours, it’s not often you meet someone who is nutty enough to take two teenagers around the world for a year, but I think this advice applies to pretty much all ages.
My two kids love it when they are involved in the travel plans; where we are eating, whether we should couchsurf, and what form of transport we should try.
True, they both pleaded for us not to take them on the overnight bus in India, and yes, I ignored them completely, but hey, at least I asked.
Put Kids in Charge of Something
My son looks after our daily budget. He’s got a straightforward app on his phone that lets him enter where we are spending our money every day. He knows when we go over and takes accountability for it along with the rest of us.
Yes, it’s a bit weird having to ask your teenage son for a mini overdraft, but you get used to it. And he’s happy so all is good.
Let Them Sleep
I remember reading this post, and it was the best advice anyone could have ever given me.
Prior to this trip, I would insist on donning my control freak head in the mornings. I’m an early riser, and I expected everyone else to follow suit.
Before travelling with the kids, I would march around the house like a sergeant major – banging on bedroom doors and bellowing to the heads under the pillow that the sun was blazing and that the lazy little sloths were missing the best part of the day.
Now? I let them sleep.
Anyone who has kids over the age of thirteen will understand that if they get out of bed before 11 am, they grow fangs and hang upside down from the bedroom ceiling like bats.
Let them sleep in. Do what I do. Get a coffee, grab your book, and write. Do whatever it is you like to do when you are alone at the most serene time of day without anyone else interrupting.
Honestly, they are a lot nicer to be around when they have had their necessary sleep.
Make Time to Talk and to Listen (Hint. You do the listening)
This tip may sound like an obvious one, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to get caught up in booking an activity or rushing to that next ruined castle. So much so that you don’t get time to just stop, breathe and talk.
Ask them what they are or aren’t enjoying about the trip. Ignore them when they say that they wish the wifi was faster.
Talk to your kids when you travel, it can iron out little niggles that might otherwise turn into a biggy.
For Pinterest ⇓
Have a Break From the Screens.
A bit contradictory this one, considering I’ve just told you never to leave home without the phone, but listen. Have a break from the screens. Not just the kids but you too.
This will only work if you all participate. It’s hard, I warn you. You’ll come up with kinds of crappy excuses like how you need your phone in case the hotel blows up, and you all need to fly back home or how it’s imperative that you can access google maps to tell you how to get to the end of the road and back again without stepping in dog muck.
Put the screens away and enjoy time as a family. Even if it’s just for an afternoon. There are lots of cheap gift ideas here that your kids will enjoy.
Yes, the kids might scream and shout and go on about how they have to take photos to send to their friends because if they don’t, they will be the most uncool kids on the planet, but ignore them.
Just put your fingers in both ears and say lah lah lah. I found this mature approach works the best.
PS. We LOVE Housesitting. Want to Try it too?
If you have been following me and our podcast for a while, then you will know that we have just returned from six months in Europe and Asia. While we were there, we did a lot of housesitting. We are constantly asked how we did this and if we can share the website that we used. So here it is:
The initial ‘looking part’ is free. You can oggle all of the beautiful houses around the world that are waiting for YOU to look after them. Take a sneak peek here! (As I say, looking is completely free, so gander to your heart’s content).
Then, if you are serious about using Housesitting as a tool to travel the world for free (as we do), you can use my exclusive discount code to save yourself 20% by Clicking here.
Still not sure about paying for a Housesitting membership? Remember that the cost of a yearly membership (approx $80 using the discount code above) will be paid back (and more) on the first housesitting night. It really is that simple!
Next, You Could Read…
So that’s it. That’s all I can think of for tips for travelling with kids. Like I said, sorry if you were looking for the best high chair and booster seat travel with kids blog, but I’m guessing if you are still here, you obviously enjoyed it! We have travelled as a family for many years, please try it – it’s fabulous.
Just don’t forget the extra battery pack, for God’s sake.