How to Travel Around the World with Your Family: Planning Tips & What to Watch Out For

By Christie Holmes

It’s a common dream – pulling the kids from the traditional school year and traveling with family around the world for six, maybe twelve, months. Introducing them to new cultures and customs. Inspiring them to help where help is needed and to see themselves as citizens of the world. To bring them into a new kind of classroom to achieve a different sense of community, one not as homogenous, perhaps, as their own school back home, yet instead one that weaves together a variety of ages and life experiences to create a richer, more deeper understanding of the world around them.

Traveling around the world with kids need not be an insurmountable goal. When done right, and with a kids’ world travel guide and expert on your side, families can check off destinations on their global bucket list – whether it’s every summer, over a series of spring breaks or over the holidays. These life-changing, worldwide family trips need not happen all in one go, aka the “family gap year,” but instead can be woven into family life as the child grows, taking into account your children’s ages and interests, therefore offering the most immersive and memorable family travel around the world.

Where do I start?

All it takes is one Google search for “traveling around the world with kids” to send an otherwise enthusiastic parent into a tailspin – so many choices, so many places to go. Where do you go? Do you go alone or with a tour operator? What season is best? Is our destination safe? Are our kids old enough?

Thankfully, there are experts out there who can help. Although much of our day-to-day life is now managed by apps that will give us more control (ordering up a car service when needed, having groceries delivered to your door), there’s incredible value to be found in connecting with a family travel company that understands the industry, knows the best destinations for certain aged children and can work as matchmaker for your family of budding travelers. Expert family travel advisors have made it their life’s work to know where the best family destinations are, where to stay, what to do once you’re there and even how to help support the local community during your visit.

Why Global CommUnity?

Global CommUnity was founded in 2017 to help busy parents who are battling for their kids’ time and attention against technology (like Fortnite and teenaged vloggers), sports schedules, school calendars, time with friends and the messages of the pop culture around them.

Between the ages of 5 and 18, family world travel offers an incredible opportunity to help shape a globally minded young adult with a world view that is larger than their own community. No matter where we are from, and how small or large our kids’ school communities, there is a degree of homogeneity that can’t be denied when one doesn’t venture beyond their comfort zone. When you really start to be curious, you realize that most communities (your neighborhood), even within a larger community (a big city) are created by people who gravitate towards similar interests, world views, religion and cultural backgrounds. There are more similarities than differences that bind us together in our little communities. As parents first, and travelers second, we need tools in our fast-moving society to encourage open-mindedness, compassion and curiosity of the world around us … and to have a louder voice in our children’s lives than pop culture.

Here, top tips when contemplating your family travel abroad:

  1. Get authentic. Sure, it’s easy and usually all-inclusive to hop on a cruise and rack up a variety of destinations in one go. But there are only so many hours one can spend in the ball pit or the kids’ club and still call this getting out of your comfort zone. Look for a wide range of trips with guaranteed departures and excursions with local, private guides. Perhaps you’ll visit a local farm or have a meal with a family in their home, or take part in a cooking class or art workshop, with a treasured, handmade souvenir to bring home with you. Maybe your kids will kick around a soccer ball with Maasai children or help clean up the canals of Amsterdam, knowing that they’re making a difference in the world.
  2. Consider you family size. Will you be traveling with just your immediate family? Bringing along the grandparents for a multigenerational vacation? Whatever your choice, consider the needs and capabilities of your individual family unit. Would you prefer sticking to yourselves – in the capable hands of an expert guide – or would it be fun to travel in a small group of likeminded families? Regardless, if your group size doesn’t get much larger than, say, 10, there is more flexibility with local transportation, boutique accommodations and dining at smaller, local restaurants.
  3. Be responsible. It’s never too early to start stressing to our children the importance of responsible tourism and giving back to the destinations we visit. The goal of responsible family world travel is to create a new generation of globally minded travelers who will continue to create a sustainable world by engaging people, places and things with respect and care.
  4. Leave it to the experts. Planner-types can let this one go. For the most authentic and least stressful family world travel, use an expert. There are hundreds of travel advisors for whom planning world family vacations is a livelihood – it’s their job to know the ins and outs of family-friendly destinations, what to see, what to skip, where to stay and more.
  5. Make it fun! Is your kiddo really into marine biology? Head to Baja California or the Galapagos. Perhaps they’re into Greek mythology or ancient history – it might be time to explore Athens. Origami fan? Head to Japan. You know your kids best so when thinking about your travel throughout the world with your family, consider their passions. There’s something simply unbeatable about learning history in the place where it happened, seeing animals up close and personal instead of on TV and painting or doing pottery with a local professional artist. Your expert family travel planner will ensure that your experience includes a big dose of kid-centric activities, taking into account your kids’ ages and interest, while ensuring plenty of down time, too, for recharging.
  6. Do your homework. Before your life-changing family trip, do some fun homework together – reading books and watching movies and documentaries set in your destination. Read up on the local customs and go online to learn how to speak a few key phrases. Include the kids in your research – like looking up the local weather so you’ll know what to pack. The excitement level will rise once they’re investing their time and energy into helping plan your family world travel. Global CommUnity helps prepare it’s traveling families with our pre-engagement materials we send 45 days before they travel. Included in the above mentioned materials we will send your family a handmade doll and accompanying storybook about life for a child at that destination.

Traveling the world is not only a way to create family memories and global citizens of our children, but also a way to help inform the worldview of all family members. We hope you will join us as we travel until No One Is Foreign. Bon voyage!