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CNNGO Five Rules of Travelling With Kids Are You For Real

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Posted by on February 15, 2012

This is not going to be one of my normal articles. So I am going to give you a heads up and a warning! If you do not want to read any further than I understand…and if you are one of my regular readers (for whom I love and am so grateful to!) I am saying sorry straight up.

But I Read About CNNGO Article

I am sorry but I was reading an article from CNNGO about “Five Rules of Travelling With Kids” and all I could keep thinking about was “Are You For Real“?

Now I am not a child expert, nor am I a child behaviour expert, nor have I studied at Uni with any courses on how to travel with children, raise children or even have degrees on the subject. BUT I do have children and I do travel.

The article that I was reading was so wrong – it made out like us Parents don’t know how to travel with children, and that children should not be seen or heard – or at least so worn out during the day that travelling becomes possible. It also sounded like we should feed them on anything that is lacking in nutrients so they stay happy???

Here Is What New Life on The Road Thinks

This is our disclaimer…

1. We are not experts – we are parents

2. Read this at your own risk – and make up your own mind.

3. These are our thoughts and our opinions – not yours.

4. This is not about being right or wrong – this is about what we think!

Now that the disclaimer is out of the way….lets get to what I am really wanting to say.

If you know me (from reading here, or in person) then you will know that I write from the heart, and I get really passionate about what I think!

The article in question was beyond anything that I have read before…it made it sound like travelling with Children should not be allowed? It made it sound like children were such a pain in the ass that we should never consider travelling??

So what I thought would be good – would to look at the Five Rules For Travelling With Kids from a view-point of a parent and in more depth!

Rule Number One – The Younger The Child – The Bigger The Suitcase

Well we recently went on a plane to Melbourne with our family. All of our boys carried their own Backpacks onto the plane. Actually not one of us booked any luggage – we carried in our bags what we needed. Our youngest (who is six years old) had a few more change of clothes than what our other boys had, but that is only in case he needed to change (he loves to get muddy!) Our 10-year-old carried less than our 13-year-old – as he clothes were lighter in weight.

5 rules of travelling with kids

Packing Our Kids Shoes ~

Yes they were allowed to wear shoes and pack a pair each!

Yes they do need more clothes/items when they are babies. But it doesn’t mean that we can not take our own shoes???

Yes it is good to have books to keep them happy – what ever happened to taking one book and one stuff toy? That wont take up too much room. It’s a matter of carrying what you really need – not everything including the kitchen sink!

Rule Number Two – The Younger The Child, The Harder To Get Over Jet Lag

I am actually going to leave that one alone. As we havent had to travel to a place (as yet) where our boys have To “Get Over Jet Lag”. But I will say this – what is wrong with running on the time that you are used to, for a few days until your body can get used to the time difference? I went to England when I was 18 (no I didn’t have kids back then!) and I was tired for a few days – so I drank lots of water, took lots of little sleeps, and walked for exercise to help get over it.

After a fun filled Dreamworld Day

We let our boys sleep when they need it ~

After a fun Filled day at Dreamworld!

Coming back to Australia two months later – I was fine! As I had slept nearly all the way home on the plane and didn’t really notice the time difference.

Rule Number Three – Travel To A Destination That Serves French Fries

Oh My Gosh! Where can I start with that rule….if you read the article you will see where I am going with this rule!   “French fries, nuggets, pizza and the like will save your holiday” (quoted from the article!)

Our boys have grown up with a wide variety of food! Yes we will eat Pizza when we are travelling (or at home), but we also eat healthy foods..our kids actually can’t eat french fries nor would we look for places to travel to because of the fast food. What about Healthy Eating? Surely we can travel to places where healthy food is served?

We like to eat at Subway, and have fruit smoothies from Boost Juice – which we have found where ever we have travelled to!

Healthy Eating while travelling

Boost Juice ~

It is possible to travel and eat healthy!

What about Restaurants that serve curries, vegetarian dishes, healthy cooking? Surely we can let our kids try the food that are in the local areas…isnt that what is travelling is all about – fitting into the area that you are visiting and trying out their food?

Rule Number Four – You can’t have too much inflight entertainment for young children

This really got my back up….so many bags for entertainment? Incase the kids get bored and all hell breaks loose? What about finding their own entertainment from their environment? Climbing a tree – picking up a stick and turning it into a game? Our kids travel and make their own fun.

Building Tree Houses

Our boys make their own fun ~

Building Tree Houses with trees that were cut down!

Then the comment about drugging our kids to travel and having a bottle of whiskey for the parents???? What the hell – if we are drunk travelling then surely the air hostess (on planes) will not let us travel? What about having to drive while travelling…surely we should not be drink driving?

And if our kids are drugged than how can they get over Jet Lag, and visit the places we want to see when we get there! This can so not be a good Travelling Rule for travelling with kids – surely there are ways to travel with out drugs and alcohol? We have four of our five boys travelling with us and we have never ever had to drug any of them (nor would we want to)

Sure hope that was just a joke in the article and not part of the rules?

We like to drink – but we don’t drink while travelling! There is such a thing as enjoying each others company.

Rule Number Five – Stollers Are As Much A Bane As A Boon

Well we don’t actually travel with a Stroller anymore. But I have travelled on a plane with a car seat and pram when our third son was about 8 months old. It was fine – we got from Mackay to Sydney and I was grateful for both! I never had any issue about where I could push the pram, and both items arrived safely.

If it is that hard to travel with a pram (due to the lack of being able to push one around – from the article, not my words!!) then take a baby sling – they are so handy to use and take up such little space.

Something that also got my back up in Rule Number Five – was that kids can only walk so far, and then you end up carrying them…so you walk to where there is French Fries or stay at the Holiday Baby Pool ??? Come on this can not be for real! Surely travelling parents have worked out how to explore with little ones?

Exploring nature

Our Boys Love Bush Walking ~

Even when Kyle was younger he could walk for ages!

We have travelled many times over the years (by car or by plane) with toddlers, and our family. Yet we have managed to see the sights of the area. We have used prams, backpacks and our little ones have enjoyed walking.

Five Rules Of Travelling :: Are You For Real?

As a Mum to five boys, and one that is travelling with four of them, I have really got a lot of questions to the writer of the article. I understand that travelling with kids is not all fun n games – there are things that do need to be planned ahead of time (well sometimes planning is not done to the last-minute!) but surely that is what travelling/being a parent is all about?

The ending of the article summed up that no-one should travel with young children – instead to wait to they are a bit older?…but surely travelling with our family is what helps to educate our family…as well as to help them grow closer together, explore to together, make memories together, live a little and shape who they are going to become.

My questions to the writer of CNNGO Five Rules of Travelling With Kids are so many…here are a few!

1. Do you get your tips from parents – where did the rules come from?

2. If there was studies done to back up the rules about travelling with kids – what ages were the children?

3. How much travelling was done with kids before the article was written?

4. Where would you recommend going to and why?

5. Have you thought about travelling lighter so that children don’t need so much Stuff to travel with?

Gosh the questions could go on and on!

I do know this – that article on CNNGO 5 Rules of travelling with Kids was not right on so many levels. We can travel with Children and have fun creating memories. If we want to go backpacking around India with Kids then while the hell not?

If we want to take them to places that are less explored, then while the hell not?

If we want to go to resorts with our children, then why the hell not?

If we want to walk with our Children, or push them in a pram, or carry them in a back pack…then why can’t we?

See this Article has really got a lot to answer for :)

Am I Alone With Thinking CNNGO Five Rules of Travelling With Kids :: Are Your For Real?

What Do You Think ~

 Can we Travel with our kids, or should we wait to they are older and don’t need lots of luggage or drugs ??




Please Note – That this article was part of a response to the article. My thoughts are my own!

To see what other Travelling/Parents thought about this – here are more responses….

Family Bucket List – The Secret To Travelling With Children

The Nomadic Family – Worst Family Travel Advice I’ve Ever Read

Bohemian Travelrs – Debunking cnn’s rules for traveling with kids

Living outside of the Box – How Do you Travel with Chilldren?

Edventure Project – 5 Rules of Travel With Kids: A Traveling Child Responds

Have A Baby Will Travel – CNN’s Ridiculous Rules About Travel With Kids

Travel Writing Pro -Shocking Tips on Traveling with Kids That Went Unnoticed

A Kings Life – The Surprisingly Easy Truth of Traveling with Kids

Travel Experta – 5 Amazing Reasons To Travel With Your Kids

Family on Bikes – French fries and chicken nuggets are travel essentials: The worst family travel advice

Around The World In Easy Ways – More Than French Fries

Suitcases and Sippy Cups – Rules are What You Make Them: Paving Your Own Way Through Family Travel

Family Rambling – 5 Rules of Traveling With Kids

Experiential Family – Myths, NOT rules, of traveling with kids

Walkingon Travels – My Reality (Not Rules) When Traveling with Kids

Grow In Grace Life – Yes ! It is possible to travel with children of all ages

 Albany Kid  – Forget the Rules of Travel – Try Backpacking with Kids in Yellowstone National Park

Mo Travels – 5 Rules of Travelling With Kids Not To Follow


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52 Responses to CNNGO Five Rules of Travelling With Kids Are You For Real

  1. Marina K. Villatoro

    I think the problem with the CNN article, is that they think they are the experts! The funny thing is, parents who are actually out there doing it – are the experts and we can all attest that it’s one of the best things to do ever!

    • Lisa

      Hi Marina,

      that maybe true…they are not the experts! But travelling families sure know how much fun travelling can be, and to see things through childrens eyes – priceless!


  2. Jessica

    Great article! I think those are some great questions for the author and I hope that maybe if she traveled more, she would change her thoughts on traveling with kids.
    Jessica recently posted..Rules are What you Make Them: Paving Your Own Way Through Family Travel

    • Lisa

      Hi Jessica,

      I hope that she does get to travel with Children and see the wonders of the world :)

      Thanking you for your great comment, and support.


  3. walkingon travels

    I am actively traveling with a toddler every day and his little brother will be joining out adventures when he arrives later this spring. Some days I wonder what the big deal is with travel. I went to the market today and it had about as much frustration, if not more, than our last trip abroad. For me it has always been getting that first foot out the door (and if you have ever had to tackle a toddler to get his shoes on you know how hard this can be.) Once you are out the door the world is wide open. Hop on a plane, hop in the car, take a walk down the street. The hassles all kind of end up being the same, you just get to see some really amazing places, meet exciting people and eat food that I salivate over still when you choose to leave the comfort of your home and explore the world around you.
    walkingon travels recently posted..My Reality (Not Rules) When Traveling with Kids

    • Lisa

      Hi Keryn,

      WOW – that would be so cool, raising your children to travel and enjoy the adventures that life has waiting! I agree that getting out the door is the first step, and then going anywhere is easy. Have fun with your baby to be! Amazing to think about how many great adventures you and your family are going to have :)


  4. lisa Shusterman

    Good points – thanks for sharing. I believe that with all the posts we put out, plenty of parents will get the “right” idea of traveling with kids.

    • Lisa

      Hi Lisa,

      I sure hope that other parents will see the other side of travelling with their children, and not read the CNNGO article and think that is the norm!


  5. Living Outside of the Box

    I am particularly interested in #3…has this author traveled much with kids? She sounds a little jaded!
    Living Outside of the Box recently posted..How do you travel with children?

    • Lisa

      It would be good to know where she got her information from? Did she do a study, or is she travelling with children? The CNNGO article sure has a lot of people talking!


  6. Corinne @ Have Baby Will Travel

    I hate the idea of articles like that putting new parents off the idea of travel with their kids.

    • Lisa

      Hi Corinne,

      The article really got my back up! There was so much in that article that did not sit right with me….have to agree that you are spot on about putting off new parents who are thinking about travelling with children – that article is not what travelling is all about!
      I was annoyed with the five rules, and was so glad to be able to write about what I thought (regards children/travelling!)


  7. Susan

    I almost laughed out loud at your mention of letting the kids pick up a stick and play! Our family was at a lovely park today in Costa Rica and it had a HUGE slide, but what did my 3 yr old do? Found a big stick, taller that he is, and played with the stick. ha ha ha Let the children enjoy exploring and see what amazing things they’ll discover and find. THOSE are the joys of traveling with kids…seeing their imaginations and sense of wonder develop. Great post!
    Susan recently posted..The “Secret” to Traveling with Children

    • Lisa

      Hi Susan,

      How funny! I wonder what stories your three year old created with that stick :)

      What about xmas time…our boys usually play with the boxes instead of the toys!

      The CNNGO article really got my back up – travelling with children is the best, they have so much fun and make it interesting. Thanking you for stopping by and leaving your fantastic support.


  8. jan

    You meet lots of interesting people when you travel with children, and you see the world through your kids eyes, which makes it even more enjoyable!
    jan recently posted..BREAKFAST IN TUSCANY

  9. lisa chiodo | renovating italy

    Surely this article is a joke! What a lot of rubbish. We traveled extensively with the kids when they were only one and three. International flights from Australia to Italy and then 2 years traveling Europe with no dramas other than the side by side pusher that wouldn’t fit anywhere in Europe!

    Seriously some people are just clueless yet delight in raining on everyone’s parade! Grab your kids and go you won’t regret it!
    ciao lisa
    lisa chiodo | renovating italy recently posted..Finding your Inner Compass

    • Lisa

      Hi Lisa,

      I have to agree – I was reading the article and I was shaking my head…it just doesnt seem like it was a travelling parent!!

      Love your idea – “Grab your kids and go you wont regret it” – so very true!!


  10. Mary

    One of the most irritating things, I think, is that this is an article that will be seen far more than any of ours. I love your questions to the author…no way does she travel with kids!!

    • Lisa

      Hi Mary,

      It sure was an interesting article – I am not sure if she was trying to make a joke throughout the whole thing, or if it was meant to be for real???

      I would love to know where she got her facts from – she couldnt really travel with her kids?


  11. Sandra Foyt

    Speaking of the stick, it was inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame in 2008 for good reason. Objects of fun and wonder abound, and especially in the new environments found in traveling.

    It’s sad that anyone still buys into the myths being spouted in the CNN article, but I’m glad there is a cadre of travel experts to debunk the silliness.
    Sandra Foyt recently posted..Forget Travel Rules – – Try Backpacking with Kids in Yellowstone National Park

    • Lisa

      Hi Sandra,

      Really? I never knew about the stick :) How amazing is that – a toy that can be picked up from anywhere anytime and then left when finished with :)

      So glad that we all got to look at this article and add our thoughts about travelling with kids!


  12. Monique

    No, parents who travel with kids were not interviewed and either the author does not have kids or has never traveled with them. The article was so ridiculous. I hope CNN Go sees these posts and reach out to the REAL experts on family travel the next time they decide to write an article like this.

    • Lisa

      Hi Monique,

      I thought that there might not have been any studies done! But surely CNNGO would want people writing for them that know what they are talking about?

      The article was not right on so many levels! I sure hope next time they use experienced travellers!


  13. Jan Littlehales

    We’ve done a lot of travelling over the years with our two boys and never had a problem.
    Take food, books, gameboys, colouring books and a favourite smallish toy and they’re happy.
    The list of things I take for myself is fairly similar to be honest :)
    Jan Littlehales recently posted..Music for Kids

    • Lisa

      Hi Jan,

      Its so good to know that other families do travel and never have any issues with it :)

      Food, water, clothes and some where to sleep – what more could anyone want?


  14. Renee

    Hi Lisa,

    I had to have a look at the article that outraged you so much – and I can understand why.
    My guess? It’s written by someone who doesn’t like to be bothered by their kids, puts them in front of any kind of entertainment system (eg inflight ) to make sure they don’t have to interact with their kids because it’s all too hard and annoying.
    I think they should not have kids as they se to see them only as a burden stopping them in doing what they would like to do, not as what kids are – an incredible source of love, life and laughter for us adults.

    I guess I feel very sorry for the author of the article …

    • Lisa

      Hi Renee,

      I am hoping that the writer does decide to travel more, and enjoy the experiences – I sure hope that she realises that other travelling families are able to travel and love it :)

      Maybe the article was meant to be a joke? As surely no-one travels for fast food, drugs their kids and takes whiskey because they sure will need it?


  15. Susan Verbeeck

    That was funny ! I laughed out loud reading the part about drinking and drugs to survive a flight with kids : )
    And sticks are our kids toys of choice too ! We don’t let them bring them on the airplane though..the TSA would not like that.
    Susan Verbeeck recently posted..Yes, You Can ! It is Possible to Travel With Kids of All Ages !

    • Lisa

      Hi Susan,

      It sure was an article that has a lot of un-answered questions!

      Our boys love sticks – no matter where we are or what we are doing, they head for them!!

      Yeah I don’t think taking them on a plane would be a good idea!


  16. Jackie Stenhouse

    I’m guessing the person who wrote the article doesn’t even have kids. My Mum and dad put their 5 kids in a 22ft caravan and started traveling when I was 5 and didn’t stop until I was 15. My husband and I have traveled extensively with our own children as well. I must say they did get car sick so wasn’t always happy, but we always got there in the end.

    • Lisa

      Hi Jackie,

      Its really weird as the writer does have kids, and does travel!

      I like to hear that other families have been able to travel, and enjoy themselves:)

      Cameron does get car sick, but we have worked out that a plain packet of chips helps as well as orange juice


  17. Rita

    My thought was the same as Jackie’s, we also traveled a lot when the kids were small and always stopped every 2 hours to give us all a break.
    When they were small some essential Item we took were a potty, a spray bottle with disinfectant,a small spade, we put a piece of news paper on the bottom of it, just made it easier to clean and also easy for little ones when they just had to go :-)
    Rita recently posted..To Get Kids Eating The Right Foods

    • Lisa

      Hi Rita,

      So good to hear that you used to travel with your family and made it possible even with potty training :)

      Seeing the world is the best education for kids – the writer does have children, and does travel. I am wondering if the article was a big joke – if not then I hope she does travel and experience more fun times with out fast food, lots of toys/book or drugs!


  18. Claudia Looi

    Our son picked up a stick in St. James Park, London and kept it as a souvenir. They don’t need fancy toys or lots of toys while traveling. There is plenty to amuse them including the pigeons,insects and noise of the fire truck. Great article.

    • Lisa

      Hi Claudia,

      So very true about fancy toys – they sure don’t need them at all! We have five boys, and when they were younger they all played with the boxes that the toys come in, instead of the toy!

      Love your sons souvenir – can’t get much better than that!

  19. Kerry Lea

    Drugging the kids to make traveling easier, does not sound morally right.

    Number 5 – no-one should travel with young children. It is all about having fun and building family memories. Even if things don’t go to plan.

    • Lisa

      Hi Kerry,

      I still cant believe what was written in that article – to think that she is a Mother and does travel?? I haven’t read anything like it ever!


  20. Jo @Countrylifeexperiment

    I have travelled to Malaysia, China (the non tourist part where NOONE speaks English) as well as through out Australia with my kids. We spent 4 weeks in China/Malaysia with a 4 year old and 20 month old and had the time of our lives. We took precautions with their health, but they survived without a kiddy meal once (noodles were their meal of choice), and without lots of toys/distractions. We took a small stroller, specifically designed to be carried on to planes. Our biggest hassle was that our kids were blonde, and stood out in China, as many of them had not even seen westerners before, so we were followed in the street. We had to make allowances for sleeps etc but really, we had the time of our lives, and would happily go again (this time with a 7 4 and 2 year old!)
    Jo @Countrylifeexperiment recently posted..Pinspiration For My Life

    • Lisa

      Hi Jo,

      Its so good to read about your travelling journey and how you were able to travel with children. Love that your children liked to eat noodles, and non-kiddy food! Also good to hear about the stroller and how you were able to travel to places that were non-tourist. I think the article was wrong on so many levels – surely from what you have shared, travelling with children is possible :)


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