When Kiwi travel family Away with the Steiners reached out to say "Kia Ora" and share their family travel story, we knew we had to share! "We are a travelling family from New Zealand on our adventure around the Pacific and Asia this year with our two vibrant blonde and very energetic little boys," Sarah wrote. "Currently in the Philippines, we have just come through Fiji and Singapore, and are loving taking the roads less traveled and grabbing opportunities for our boys to mix with local children wherever we go."
Follow Sarah, Gavin, and their sweet family on Instagram @AwaywiththeSteiners, and read some of her family travel tips below!
Parennial Travel: Tell us about how your childhood family travel experiences informed how you travel today as a parent?
Sarah Steiner: Location-wise, we both had different childhood travel experiences, overseas and around New Zealand. However, the experiences were similar in that travel was about learning and culture, and about spending time as a family, and that has formed the basis of what inspires us as parents today.
PT: What's the first trip you took as a family and how did it go?
SS: We hired a campervan and drove from coast to coast and around the South Island of New Zealand. It was amazing having the freedom to stop wherever and whenever we liked, and to explore at a pace that suited us all. Waking up to snow and seeing the boys experience that for the first time was definitely memorable. It took a day to find our groove, but after the first 24 hours, and the shock of settling into a small space together, we were away!
PT: Have you had any disasters on the road with your kiddos? How did you deal?
SS: No disasters as such that come to mind, though there are always challenges to family travel. However, the good always outweighs the bad, and we certainly grow through those challenges and learn a lot more about each other's limits.
PT: What are some things you always pack when traveling with your kids?
SS: They each have a small backpack for travel days, with their own choice of small toys in. This has allowed them to each be responsible for their own belongings, and to treasure the selection they have chosen to carry! Despite our initial hesitations, Lego has turned out to be a great toy choice, and has provided hours of entertainment. Dinosaurs, matchbox cars, card games, an iPad mini and headphones, notebooks, a journal, pens, glue, and pencils.
PT: What are your favorite destinations when traveling as a family?
SS: All of them! This time round we particularly enjoyed the diversity and gentle pace of Laos, although we also favoured trekking in Sapa, Vietnam. Myanmar has been our favourite country to return to as a family, but our heart is always in the Pacific Islands.
PT: What advice do you have for families who are intimidated about traveling with their kids?
SS: Do it! You will never regret the uninterrupted time that travel enables, and the exploration and chance for a challenge that tightens you as a family unit.
PT: Do you have any tips for staying on a budget when traveling with kids?
SS: Each day becomes a different adventure when traveling, even if that just means going to the markets to buy vegetables for dinner. Children have a different curiosity that calls them to notice different things that we might bypass as adults. It has been a learning curve for us to slow down and travel at their pace and find those adventures. It’s all very well splashing out for a flashy tour to supposedly entertain them, and all they will remember is the line of ants crawling up the tree!
Slow it down, and admire the ants…
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