How Having Children Has Changed The Way We Travel

Having children has definitely changed the way we travel! In our pre-kids days, we used to do sort of ‘backpacking, rock up and find the quirkiest, funkiest (cheapest) hostel in the area’, type holidays, they were the best ones!

The people you met, the places you got lost in, the things you did, the things you saw. Certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, but definitely ours.

Then….the children arrive.

Things change, for the better (obviously!)

But one thing that we did have to reconsider was trekking to the back end of nowhere and sleeping in a tent on the side of a mountain in sub-zero temperatures!

Babies, apparently, don’t like that sort of stuff.

So the first couple of years of our kids’ lives were spent basically trying to survive and not get divorced after arguing over who was ‘more tired’.

However, we decided to get back on a plane last year and went to Bali, Indonesia. We stayed in an all-inclusive family-friendly hotel, pool, slides, nice breakfast, entertainment, kids clubs, you know the kind.

It was all…. very….nice.

It really was, but we both missed our old style of holiday.

Children bring so many changes to your life and like the vast majority of parents, I absolutely would not change my life now for anything.

After this all-inclusive jaunt we went on, however, it got me thinking about how our holidays have changed over the last 5-10 years……

So lets take a look at how having children has changed the way we travel.

Lets start with where we are right now, in Malaysia.

backpacker hostel malaysia

Here’s Ruth in Malaysia in 2011 when we first visited. No kids, look at how relaxed she is, drinking from a coconut outside our hostel…

girl with child hostel

…now lets fast forward to 2018. Ruth outside the very same hostel. However have you noticed the two things different about this photo?

1 – The coconut appears to have been replaced by a whinging child who refuses to walk anywhere.

2-  The smile Ruth is wearing is completely fake, however the wrinkles are definitely real, predominantly due to what happened in Point 1.

Ok, that was a very specific example, but lets look at some more general ones


iceland ice staking

Here’s Ruth skating on a frozen lake in Reykjavik, Iceland on New Years Eve in 2012…

ice staking

…and here we are with L in 2019 at the local ice staking rink at a kid’s birthday party.


drinking beer eating snakes

In Thailand in 2014, our train was delayed for 13 hours (!!!). We couldn’t leave the platform for too long in case it turned up without notice…so we went and drank beer and ate fried snakes. Look how chilled we were….

train delay child playing

….on a recent trip a few months ago, our train was delayed for 3 hours. Similar to five years ago, we couldn’t leave the platform for too long in case it turned up without notice…so the kids beat me up for the entire time. Look how un-chilled I am.


northern lights iceland

Also in Iceland in 2012 we sat and watched the Northern Lights over the beach….

merry go round

…and back in 2018, here I am at (another) kids birthday party watching some very different kinds of lights.


riding a camel sahara desert

In 2015, I rode a camel into the Sahara desert…

children riding a horse

…and a few months ago, the kids rode a horse around a field.


great wall of china

Here’s me in China in 2012, taking a break on The Great Wall….

kuala lumpur bird park

….and here’s the family at a Bird Park in 2019, taking a break on a Grey Wall.


angkor wat cambodia

I took this in 2013 at Angkor Wat, Cambodia at about 4.30 am….. as we sat watching the sun come up…

children sleeping sideways in bed

… and this photo, I took this two nights ago at 4.27 am ….as I made my way to the spare bed!

See What I’m Talking About?

I’d just like to reiterate that I’m not complaining about having kids, far from it, I’m just saying that since they were born we’ve had to ‘adapt’ our travelling from what we used to do….and we miss that!

A few months ago we were talking about this, L was 4, T had just turned 2, he was walking, talking (ish), eating real food and could (most of the time) poo and wee in the right direction, he was no longer a ‘baby’.

So the sort of stuff I mentioned earlier that ‘babies’ don’t like, no longer applies, right?

So we made a deal.

‘The next holiday we go on, we’re going to try and relive the good old days and do some proper travelling, see some proper sights’

If it didn’t work, we would write off that idea and just go the all-inclusive resorts until the kids are too embarrassed to be seen with us.

If it did work, it would re-open up a whole new world of holidays for us and the kids

A lot was at stake!

A place that had always been on our list was Sri Lanka.  So, with a bit of planning and pretty much single-handedly making TripAdvisor the most visited website in the history of the world ever, we were ready to go.

So if you’ve not lost interest yet you can read about our backpacking trip around Sri Lanka with our young kids right here.

How has having children changed the way you travel?

I am a stay at home Dad, from England, living in Malaysia. Talking about how we survive the heat, the cultural differences, the lifestyle changes, the travel and lots more challenges that being a stay at home Dad in a foreign country brings.

You may also like...

1 Response

  1. Jemma says:

    This is my favourite one yet 😂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *