Preparations are in full swing for our extended holiday with the kids! We’ll be spending time travelling around Thailand for 2 weeks and then hitting the USA for 2 months (yes, I may just be insane!). But I thought now is THE perfect time to share my tips with other families planning their own extended holidays abroad.
One of the first things you have to think about is the amount of school your children will miss. First, I recommend talking to your children’s teachers and asking about any issues they might have with them taking an extended holiday. Work out a plan with the teacher or school to catch up on any missed work or assignments while away. I’m a firm believer in real-life learning, and I know firsthand the incredible education children receive through travel. Arriving in different countries, experiencing different cultures, cuisines, music and lifestyles, and learning about the history each destination offers simply cannot be learnt in a classroom or from a textbook. That being said, an agreed learning plan with their teacher is really important to ensure a smooth transition back to reality once they return from their adventures.
Benefits of extended holidays
With short trips or holidays, you can really miss out on immersing yourselves in a culture or fully experiencing the destination. I truly believe that extended travel allows you to feel more like a local wherever it is that you plan to holiday and you’ll quickly get to assimilate into the culture and surroundings. Staying that little bit longer at chosen destinations allows you to cover more ground and explore places you may miss when on a more constricted timeframe. It also allows you to completely relax into the lifestyle and experience the richness of the culture in ways you may not get to otherwise. So there are some definite benefits here!
You have to decide whether to visit a single destination for an extended period of time or if you want to see as much as possible with your time away. We personally have chosen to move around a lot on this upcoming trip to the United States, with an average of 5 days in each place. While it’s good to cram in as much as possible and try to see everything, the stress of packing up and moving once you’ve settled in can be hard on you and the kids. I’m praying for the best with so many destinations to cover, but time will tell how well we all fare! I look forward to reporting back on this one!
The biggest tip to ensuring you have enough funds to cover an extended holiday is to plan WAY in advance. I’m talking years in advance! I’ve been planning our extended holiday for just over 3 years. I worked out a budget to stick to and a serious savings plan. It’s a great idea for when you’re away to look at ways you can save a little money, like renting an apartment over a hotel room, house-swapping with someone, trawling the local Airbnb, or looking into booking a short term rental. These are just a few cheeky ways you can really save a dollar or two and, when on an extended holiday, those dollars add up quickly!
Let’s be honest, travelling isn’t always relaxing with kids in tow, and it can be so unpredictable, but I’ve personally discovered that my kids adapt pretty quickly to new places and experiences. I’ve found bringing some comforts from home helps them through that process with a bit more ease. Their favourite foods, their own blanket and pillow and some much-loved toys are definite staples. Try as best you can to stick to your usual routine, including planning for nap times, dinner time, bath times and so on. Thankfully, my kids seem to make friends fairly easily and are quick to find local children to play with, so never run the risk of getting bored!
I would love for you to share any other great tips you may have to make extended trips abroad smooth and easy on everyone! From the planning stage, to the actual travelling experience with kids, to enjoying the sites and your destinations of choice, to finally, bracing yourselves for the return to reality! And let’s face it, that last one is hard for us all!