As a family we operated several hospitality businesses, travel was our children’s best education.

Our children, now both grown, experienced their younger years watching us improve and build up the hotels, motels and caravan parks we purchased until they were ready to sell and we would move on to the next opportunity.

Due to the nature of our businesses, our holidays rarely coincided with school holidays.

Negotiations with teachers concerning the future missed classes would be finalised and we would enjoy our break. It was important to me to make use of our destination to further my children’s life experiences and cultural education.

We were so convinced of the benefit of travel to the education of our children that we decided to home school both children.

When planning your next overseas holiday with your children don’t allow yourself to say, “This is all too difficult to undertake with children”.

While you are away stay flexible and if you need a day’s break then sleep in one morning and just go out for lunch somewhere simple and start the more adventurous stuff again the next day. You are on holidays give yourself the right to relax as well.

I can’t begin to tell you the amazing memories we have shared in our travels. Sure we did the typical tourist things but we also experienced life as a local.

On one trip we spent nearly 6 weeks in Rome. Our accommodation was not in the city centre but in a residential area, a tram ride away from Termini Station.

We shopped at the Super Marcato and bought our fruit and vegies from the local market. We were the only Aussies there and rarely found anyone who could speak English. It was Fabulous!

In the apartment block that we stayed in one of the residents’ daughter was getting married and we (all the neighbours) hung over our balconies in the central courtyard to wave the bride off on her way to the church. Her family had decorated the courtyard for the occasion. It all looked so festive. Priceless!

The opportunity to travel as we did is even easier these days.

Destinations now offer so much more for the family to get immersed in their culture.

You can now take your children to cooking classes, participate in home stays, experience street food tours, push bike tours and so many more family friendly experiences.

The challenge is more to find authentic experiences. So often all you see are recreations of the local culture as it was in the past. These are wonderful but the most amazing experiences are those that are still a part of your guides or the performers’ everyday life.

Our family’s love of travel has taken us into the travel industry. During which we fell in love with many countries but none more so than Vietnam. It is one of only a few places where you can still introduce your children to genuine and diverse cultures. I suggest you hurry and experience the authentic Vietnam while you still can.

Take your children to see the Red Dao ethnic minorities and their cultural dress, sample an Elephant Ear fish from the Mekong Delta, enjoy Pho for breakfast and take a guided tour through Saigon with someone who lived there through the war giving your family an insight into their life experiences during that time.

Take Vietnam tours with English speaking Vietnamese so you can see the country through the eyes of a local.

Your children will never forget the adventures you experience with them.

While they are enjoying their holiday they will be becoming, more knowledgeable, more adventurous, more compassionate and more closely knit with each other.

If something doesn’t work out as you would have liked, teach them to be resourceful and understanding by diffusing the situation and not being the cause of an escalation of the problem.

As a previous owner and operator of hospitality businesses I know that sometimes mistakes happen. Staff make errors they are sorry about, but never the less cause customers grief.

In these situations I have explained to my children, “If we are nice, the hotel staff will do what they can to fix the problem, but if we go in ranting and raving the poor staff member who may not have had anything to do with the problem will feel like they are being attacked for something they didn’t do. No one likes to be put in that situation, so be considerate and we will get much further”.

There are so many opportunities to teach valuable life skills while you have 24/7 time with your children, so take advantage of it.

Remember one of the most valuable things we possess is our memories so make the most of creating them.

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  • Travel is indeed very educational, cheers.


  • We haven’t had the chance for overseas travel. My daughter wants to travel. I hope she gets to cross travel off of her bucket list


  • this is just great


  • My daughter had a pretty rough year in grade 1 – we changed schools after term 1. After settling into the new school, we went to Japan for three weeks in August. This was because my daughter turned 7 on 7 August and her cousin who lives in Japan turned 8 on 8 August. The trip to Japan taught her so much and also let her grow. She returned to school with renewed enthusiasm and literally sailed through the rest of the year.

    • yes that is so cool and japan seems awesome for sure.


  • I would love my children to experience other cultures etc but not really in our budget hopefully one day.


  • its important for people to understand other cultures


  • I have been lucky enough to have done a little travelling. Not only did I learn a lot, I matured a lot also.


  • We’ve wanted to pack up the children, and experience Australia, the entire country wherever we can travel to… One day we will… Outside of Australia, well that will happen once we get our country tour done first! Travelling is something the children are excited about, they love our road trips to different towns and cities, they learn so much from their travel experiences.

    We don’t do much during the normal ‘school holidays’ because places are always jam packed, so we make our holidaying plans after or before the school holidays, we get things cheaper at times too due to this. And we can relax & take our time, exploring everything, without having millions or tourists, children & their parents flocking to the said places rushing around trying to get in as much as they can before they head off back home.


  • Travel – either domestic or international – is an amazing way for children to experience other places, people and cultures. It is amazing to see children discover a world beyond their own and broaden their horizons. Children are like sponges, and find wonder in all that they encounter so to watch them experience new things and to take these in, does amazing things for their confidence and self-esteem … and to their education of a world not found between the pages of a book. Travel also is a great way to teach children about how very fortunate life here is in Australia and that so many other children around the world can only dream of the life our children have.


  • We used to go during school holidays. There were other staff with school children who worked in the same section so the men worked out amongst themselves who wanted the school holidays off and shared the times accordingly. On the odd weekend we went away but that was usually for a special event or to a relative’s farm. That in itself was educational. Sometimes the farmers would show us things they had found in the area that wse would never have found. How many know that bush turkeys built mounds to lay their eggs in and according to the heat of the soil they would either scratch more soil onto the mound or scratch some off. We saw sheep giving birth to and caring for lambs, a cow give birth to a calf, sheep being shorn, cows being milked when the calves had been weaned by them. We took feed out to sheep on an open trailer towed by a tractor when they had eaten all the grass and stubble from harvested wheat etc. One family had recued joeys (baby kangaroos) and emu chicks and were feeding them because mums had been killed by foxes or run over by cars when they attempted to cross roads. The farms were close to highways so there was more risk of them being hit by cars or trucks. The joeys were given a special formula because cow’s milk was not suitable for them. There weren’t many kangaroos down there so they didn’t cull them at all. Rabbits were a major problem because they ate large areas of crop when it was small. They also dug burrows in some open areas where sheep and cows could be injured if they trod in the holes they made. They also bred rapidly. They killed some of them to reduce numbers and either ate them themselves or gave them to their dogs. Some holidays or day trips we visited places we were learning about at school. Some things were historical, mines,( where minerals came from that we learnt about the uses of them), reservoirs where our water came from which we had to do assignments at school (not because we went there they were a project we were either doing then or would be later in the year). We visited processing plants, one where sultanas were dried (they used to spray them with alcohol to prevent insects getting in the when they were packaged), oranges made into juice,…… apples picked, washed, graded and packed. Back then some of picked in the Adelaide Hills went to Sydney by road transport, then shipped to England. In the South East area of SA we also saw timber being prepared to manufacture paper. In SA, Vic and NSW we visited and had guided tours around electricity generation plants – including hydro-electricity in the Snowy Mountains region of NSW where it snowed in winter. We learnt a lot during our holidays.


  • I don’t understand home schooling… Can you really teach your kids everything they learn at school while staying at home?

    • Hi Christial, i understand your comment. Home schooling is not for everyone. Our curriculum was not as broad as a schools curriculum. Our goal was to teach all the basics VERY well and while doing this look for our children’s talents and develop those. During all of this we had the opportunity to grow a wonderful relationship with them both. My children are grown now and successful in their chosen careers. I will say again though it is not for everyone.


  • We love travelling as a family. My 8 year old son has been to Thailand twice and both of my kids (8 and 5) them have been to Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and New Zealand – not to mention lots of Australian holidays. They learn so much.


  • I so absolutely agree. There’s so many things that travel can teach children. And I can’t wait till I can take them oversea’s to let them see how fortunate they are and we are as a Nation.


  • I would so love to do this. Excellent way for children to see & experience the world firsthand.


  • As a child we never went on holidays only day trips to a farm, boring but as I grew up and worked I travelled the world by myself exploring the different countries and their amazing cultures. Things you can’t learn or appreciate by reading a book or looking through a travel magazine. Now with a young family we try to do day trips at least once a month going to another town, or city or state, for the day or if need be, an overnight trip. Nothing like exploring your own country!


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