Traveling With Young Children - Intentional Travelers
Traveling with Young Children - An Interview with The Wandering Daughter | Intentional Travelers

18 Feb Traveling With Young Children

Astrid Vinje, blogger at The Wandering Daughter, has been a traveler all her life. Like us, she was a Peace Corps Volunteer. Unlike us, she’s visited 29 countries- 7 of them with her two young kids!

Family travel interview | Intentional Travelers

Riding a carriage in Manila

Astrid doesn’t let the excuse that family travel is expensive get in her way. Instead, she intentionally makes sure it is a part of her family’s life. She says, “I would rather spend my money on travel, than putting it in more material things. A trip is more memorable to me than a mortgage or a well-decorated and coordinated home.”

We love how Astrid inspires other families to not be afraid to travel and seek out adventures that may not be considered the typical family trip. So we asked her to be a part of our Intentional Travelers interview series to find out more. Here’s what she told us…

About Astrid’s family travels

As much as I can, I like to try and experience what it’s like to live like a local. To this extent, I try and travel using public transportation. Rather than hotels, I like to use sites like Airbnb to rent out apartments. I also like to go places where I have friends so that I can visit with them and do the things they like to do in that particular place or city.

We did a three week road trip from DC to Seattle (by way of the South) when my daughter was three months old. Then we did a three week Southeast Asia tour when my daughter was a year and a half, where we visited Thailand, Philippines, Singapore and Indonesia. Another memorable trip was going to Paraguay with my husband and daughter when she was two.

Family travel interview | Intentional Travelers

Riding the bus in Paraguay

We had decided to visit Paraguay in 2013 because one of my close friends was serving in the Peace Corps there. This was our first time to South America, yet our daughter, who was two years old at the time, really embraced the experience. We rode on buses and on the backs of flatbed trucks. We visited farms and helped families prepare meals. We survived an intense rainstorm and mosquito attacks. But the highlight of the trip was really just watching my daughter experience the world and engage in it fully. As a parent, I was happy to be able to give my daughter the opportunity to see a side of the world she wouldn’t normally see.

Special considerations for traveling with kids

There’s a lot of logistics that go into planning a trip for a family that you don’t really have to think of when you’re traveling solo (or as a couple). First, since we were going to a developing country, we wanted to make sure that we got the proper immunizations for travel to Paraguay. The CDC has a good list of recommended vaccines for every country in the world, and luckily I have a pretty generous health insurance plan that covers travel immunizations.
Another thing that we always purchase is travel insurance. I never used to do this when I was a solo traveler, but as soon as I started traveling overseas with my kids, I never go on a trip without purchasing it. There are some pretty affordable plans out there, and is a good site to use to shop around for travel insurance. Most of the time we don’t need it, but when we were in Southeast Asia, my husband came down with a case of amoebas, and the travel insurance helped to cover part of the cost of the doctor visit and treatment.
Carseeat or No Carseat

One final thing that we brought along was my daughter’s carseat. Since she was only two when we went to Paraguay, she was still a bit too small to sit comfortably in an airplane seat. We brought the carseat along partially as a comforting tool for her, so that she would have something familiar to sit in, compared to the big strange plane. But then when we got to Paraguay, we didn’t really have a use for it. So we ended up storing it at the hotel that we were staying at in Asuncion for the whole time that we were there.

Family travel interview | Intentional Travelers

Visiting a friend serving with Peace Corps in Paraguay

The benefits of travel for parents and kids

I think there are so many things my kids have gained from traveling. For my daughter, who’s now four, it’s this deep curiosity and appreciation for the world. She’s always been a nature lover, and when we were in Paraguay, she was in absolute heaven. We saw cows, chickens, pigs, and sheep, and she got to see how vegetables grew on farms. She had so much fun just running around the place chasing the chickens and playing with the dogs and cats who lived with my friend.

As a parent, the main benefit is just continuing to be able to see the world. Kids bring a different perspective to travel, and traveling with my kids has helped me appreciate the places that we visit a lot more. It’s also a great bonding experience for all of us. As a parent, I feel really blessed that I have the opportunity to provide that kind of experience to my kids.

Are you a fellow Intentional Traveler? Share your story with us to be featured in an upcoming blog post (and potential book project). Help inspire others to pursue more meaningful, transformational travel!

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