Family Travel Advice from the Trenches & Other Pearls of Wisdom
Over a year ago, I had a lengthy conversation with Rita Golden Gelman, the author of Tales of a Female Nomad, for a podcast interview about living a travel lifestyle. She offered some wonderful advice that Miro and live each and every day of our travels. She said:
“Smile a lot, talk to strangers, accept all invitations and eat everything you’ve been offered.”
And we always do. And since then our world has opened up, from the people, opportunities and experiences that have come into our lives. And if it wasn’t for following this simple piece of advice, half of the amazing memories I so deeply cherish would never have happened. And now, we have gained much insight to traveling as a family after our three years on the road, I wanted to pass along a few more tips:
1. Listen to Your Inspiration.
It’s there. Sometime your voice of inspiration is screaming loudly. Other times is a quiet feeling. But it’s always there. And regardless of the intensity right now, do know that you are naturally equipped with inspiration. Your first task in regards to inspiration, is identifying what inspires you. Then you hand over your inspiration to become action.
One suggestion in regards to travel is to talk about what inspiration feels like as a family, tap into it together and become aware of it’s signs. Your inspiration will be your guide as you travel, a way of experiencing the world around you and a way of sharing the incredible moments together.
2. Perceive the World as a Safe Place and It Is!
I believe our experience of the outer world is a reflection of what’s going on in our own inner worlds. If you travel with fear, you attract situations that warrant fear. Miro and I feel safe in the world, therefore the world is a safe place for us. We are filled with love and compassion, therefore our experiences are filled with love and compassion. It’s an awesome lesson and one we probably couldn’t have had being somewhat entranced in a conventional lifestyle.
3. Break out of Your Comfort Zone.
Get comfortable being uncomfortable. That’s really the first step, the second step and the third step. Go on, it’s not all bad, just a little ‘uncomfortable’. Never thought you’d rough it with your kids? Do it. Never thought you’d do an 2 day hike in high altitudes? Do it. Never thought you’d travel by bus for 40 hours? Do it. Never thought you’d paraglide? Do it. The world is open once you get accustomed to stepping out of your comfort zone. Guess what? It actually feels exhilarating to have the freedom go to places and have adventures you never dreamed possible.
4. Intuition IS Your Inner Guidance System.
Trust your inner guidance system. Born and ready to operate, turned on and equipped inside of each and every individual is this fabulous system designed to be constantly checking that you are ok. How do you know it’s working? You feel it… Does this decision feel good? (Yes? No? Regardless, that’s your inner guidance system hard at work and in action.) If the answer is yes, then do it. If the answer is no, don’t do it. (Just learn to discern the difference between your inner guidence and fear.)
5. Move Beyond Fear.
Fear cripples. Fear keeps people from their dreams. Fear is what has kept you from anything you want, including a travel lifestyle. But the biggest challenge is the belief YOU cannot do it. These self-sabotaging thoughts are based in fear.
Let’s take this opportunity to look at fear, straight in the face:
You’re not afraid of the dark. You’re afraid of what’s in it. You’re not afraid of heights. You’re afraid of the pain of falling. You’re not afraid of people around you. You are afraid of rejection. You’re not afraid to love.You’re just afraid of not being loved back. And you’re not afraid of traveling. You are simply afraid of the unknown.
How is not knowing something to fear? It’s not. It’s just a small step out of your comfort zone. And, that’s perfectly ok. Traveling is simply not scary.
Remember, your thoughts can be your enemy or can be your friend.
I’m not going to lie to you, it takes some planning, it takes some preparation and it takes some finances. But once you move through the practical side of planning, your greatest obstacle (as in life) will always be your thoughts. Choose your thoughts carefully and once you’ve learned to align the thoughts with your passion, inspiration and desires, you and your family can take on a fulfilling travel lifestyle.
I asked other family travelers for their best tips and advice to share with you here and received some very inspirational pearls of wisdom.
Katrina @katrinawoz writes:
Leave the electronics at home. Sounds like a no-brainer, but you see so many families fussing with their electronics at the TSA security check point. Batteries die and there’s no better time to wean a kid (and yourselves) off the portable DVDs, iphones, ipods, etc. than a family vacation. Grab a sketch pad and go. We used to take a sketch pad to restaurants when our kid was a toddler and preschooler and just start doodling whatever we saw. For example, I remember during a 2008 trip to Bruges, Belgium, Anna and I “sketched” us ice skating because that’s what we did the night before.
When in doubt, pass the olive oil. Apparently, this tabletop condiment can alleviate ear pain caused by swimmer’s ear. I learned this tip from a pediatrician and it came in handy during a trip to Mexico last year. We were having lunch on Isla Mujeres when Anna complained about ear pain. She had spent several days in the resort pool, She’s prone to swimmer’s ear, but obviously we weren’t anywhere near a doctor’s office. I reached for the olive oil on the table, had her put her head down, and nearby diners watched as I poured a few drops of olive oil into her ear. It alleviated the pressure and we had no complaints during the remaining trip. Our pediatrician also suggested kids prone to swimmer’s ear have their parents mix a little rubbing alcohol with distilled vinegar and pour a few drops into the ear before swimming in pools, freshwater or saltwater. Helps prevent water getting locked in the ear, which is what causes the pressure. Very handy during those beach vacations!
Mail postcards as a way to practice spelling and writing. We do this on every vacation and while postcards do not lend a ton of space to develop one’s penmanship, it’s a fun way for kids to get involved in their trip more, think about ways to share their trips with friends and family, and to make sure they dot their i’s and cross their t’s.
Susan @susanwhitehead writes:: Ignore “advice” from people who have NEVER been where you’re going. They don’t know what they’re talking about…and sometimes, are just plain jealous!
Theodora @escapeartistes writes: Don’ plan. Life is an adventure and so is travel.
Jessie @WanderingEds writes: Make it happen – just go!
Talon @1dad1kid writes: Go slowly. It isn’t a race to see who can do the most in the shortest amount of time. Get to know the area like a local as much as possible. Eat where the locals eat, not the tourist haunts.+ things ALWAYS work out and they always work out for the best. Even if they don’t seem like it at the time.
Mary @TravelBohemian writes: Every experience, good and bad, are part of the journey so breathe through the hard times and smile through them all!
Rita DeMichiel of FamiliesOnTheRoad.com says: Follow your heart, listen to your gut instinct and let the adventures unfold before you. You can never plan for the unexpected, making the possibilities of what’s awaiting you an incredible gift to be appreciated and savored. Enjoy every minute of what life holds in store for you!!
Amy @livinontheroad writes:It is a lifestyle, not a holiday. Go at your own pace. It is better to see a little well, than to see a lot briefly. The highs are higher and the lows are lower when you are travelling.
Gabi @tnomadfamtravels writes: don’t have a plan. let the wind and inspiration guide you. if you like a place, stay; if you like the people, find meaning and peace of soul where you are; stay. move when it’s right. let your heart be the guide. that freedom has allowed us to experience betwee 2 weeks and 3 months of living in one place at a time, getting to know the locals, volunteer in the communities, feel a citizen of that place/country/people. no plan, just flow.
Amy @worldschooled writes: Don’t stress when things don’t go as you plan. Everything happens for a reason!
The Pilot @2ForTheGlobe writes: Live in the moment, don’t over plan and don’t feel guilty if you miss something on your list. And, definitely talk to strangers.
Keryn @walkingontravel writes: In the same vein as “talk to strangers” I always say turn to the table next to you and ask them what they are eating. I’ve met more amazing people this way through our travels.
Also, have your post-it Note list of things you want to see and do, stick it in your wallet. Only grab it when you aren’t sure what to do next. The rest of the time go where you feel lead, let your kids and your whimsy be your guide.
Bethaney @FlashpackerFam says: Take half the stuff and twice the money + Explore your own town/city/state/country as if you’re a traveller who’s never been there before.
Brian Perkins writes: You only need 1/2 as much stuff with you as you think you need. I put everything I think I need to pack on my bed, and spread it out. Then I put 1/2 of it back. I carry a small package of toilet paper in my money belt, just enough to ummmm get me through an emergency, like when you are at the internet cafe and you have to go and then you realize, they never have T.P. in the bathrooms in Peru, well almost never…… We call it “Mountain Money” , because under some circumstances, it could be considered a form of currency.
Kate@experientialfam writes: Forget your expectations about your destination so you can experience it without comparison to the idealized view each of us creates.
Sabina Tabaka King from AKingsLife.com writes: Use packing cubes…they will save you time and frustration as you move from place to place while on your travels. They help you organize your clothes, children’s clothes, etc. And you’ll wonder why everything isn’t in a packing cube.
Ruth Anne Rasmusson writes: Collect stories – yours and others’. In other words, listen more than talk.