To take a round the world trip you need two major things: time and money. Time for a family means finding time for both parents to take a long break from their jobs, which most of the time has to be planned quite far in advance. For the children, in France, school is only obligatory from the age of six, unlike age 5 in the UK. In our case, as our two children are 3 & 5, it was easy. We decided that it was the right time as after this, we would need to school the children ourselves, which is not so easy.
The family: Pierre Godefroy and Dani Bioum and their two children Eva (5) and William (3), from France
The trip: London - Beijing // Hong Kong - Bangkok - Bali - Auckland // Christchurch - Sydney - Alice Springs // Ayers Rock - Cairns - Sydney - Santiago // Rio de Janeiro - London
Security and hygiene are more important for small children, so we avoided some destinations like the Middle East or India. Kids are also interested in swimming and animals more than landscape or shopping, so we tried to mix our interests with their needs, then choose some possible cities.
We took different information from the web, looking on families’ blogs for feedback. That gave us a daily cost per person for each country. We considered that two small kids will represent the cost of one adult, but we found that unrealistic - I would say it’s more like 1.5 adults.
Not really. Most of the time people we met were friendly and open with us because we had the children. It's very easy to meet other families too. In China, we had to stop almost every 100 metres for a picture of the kids with local people! You have to adapt your activities for children: it means no horses, rafting, long treks and so on. We had a very difficult experience in Thailand whilst bamboo rafting on an elephant farm, as my wife was trapped under the water, when the raft hit a tree in the middle of the river and we were all ejected into the water. We hadn't really calculated the danger as there were so many other people doing it, so my recommendation is to be more suspicious in those countries with water activities, even if they claim there's little danger.
It was a bit of stress for my wife to spend 24 hours a day with the children in the same room… but from our experience, it's not that much of an issue as everyone finds their own space. We know this was a special moment in our lives.
They most enjoyed destinations where we met others kids, or the seaside (Thailand, Bali). They enjoyed anywhere with animals like the zoo (Chiang Mai night zoo in Thailand is excellent for that, or Beijing zoo) . They were also delighted by the train travel in China and Thailand.
New Zealand, Australia and Thailand.
All hotels with a swimming pool make life easy for both kids and parents. In terms of airlines, for long flights, it is better if there are individuals TV screens but there is generally not a big difference from one airline to another. I think it is more important that the airline is on time and that you do not spend hours waiting because of late arrivals or things like that. Also early flights are difficult with children, when for example you have to wake up at 3.30am to get your flight.
We're happy to help you choose family-friendly destinations and tours for your trip - find out more on our Family Gap Year Inspiration page. For more advice about booking your family trip, speak to our experienced consultants on +44 1273320580 or request a quote