Why you shouldn’t travel with kids

I’m sure this title confuses people. You mean you don’t expect to find an article on avoiding travel with kids on a site that deals primarily with family travel? Well, I’ve seen the light.

I had an epiphany today while dragging my 11-year-old through temple ruins in the former capital of Siam. It was hot and miserably so. Even in the shade, we still sweat profusely. Sometimes it takes radical challenges to help us be more aware.

travel with kids, ayutthaya, thailand

Unrealistic beliefs

Since we’ve been traveling full time for 2 years, my son has this crazy notion that we can truly do anything if we want it bad enough. This isn’t healthy.

What the world really needs is people who will firmly conform to society’s expectations. Innovation is the last thing we need. No new experiences = no change in the current way of thinking.

Change is bad, scary, and dangerous.

Along with this, he thinks that making a living doing YouTube videos and surfing instruction is completely doable. He is growing up with an entrepreneurial spirit, and we all know how damaging that can be!

A lack of fear

Speaking of bad, scary, and dangerous! The world is a horrible place! The news is filled EVERY DAY with stories of psychos, murders, kidnappings, and nasty pervs.

Because of our travels, Tigger has this crazy notion that “nothing will happen” if you travel with kids. “Well, good things will happen.”

I have failed as a parent.

Whether it be the horribly rude people in France or the American-hating Muslims of Morocco, somehow he has missed the most important rule of travel: Trust no one. Speak to no one. The world is a horrible, awful place.

And child ‘o mine, please understand that all those seemingly kind people offering you food, something to drink, toys, or who are hugging you and laughing with you are really out to get you. The sooner you learn this, the happier you’ll be.

How will he possibly manage as an adult without the proper instillation of fear?

travel with kids, lima, peru, paragliding

No true sense of home

I’m sure there are third-culture kids out there who will back me up here. Having a sense of home is the most important thing there is. Okay, one of the most important things.

He has forgotten that home isn’t just a building or a structure. He has this crazy notion that home is wherever we are together, be that in a beachfront bungalow on Koh Samui or on an oasis in rural Morocco.

How will this possibly benefit him?


Rather than just learning about physics and marine ecology from a book, he learned it as a scuba diver. Instead of learning about the Mayans from lectures, he has stood in front of the temple at Chichen Itza and others. He learned about Communism by going to Cuba. He values sharks because he has dove with them.

Learning about ancient civilizations, math, science, etc., by actually participating in activities that expose our kids to real-life experiences is a useless way of teaching them!

Increased independence and self reliance

This might be the worst thing I’ve done to him. Because of our lifestyle, he has gained increased independence, problem-solving skills, can look at things from different angles, and has learned to communicate with pretty much anyone regardless of the language barrier. He is not shy about making his needs known.

travel with kids, ayutthaya, thailand

Tigger making a video for his YouTube audience

Losing materialism

“These people don’t have a lot of things, but they’re so happy!” Oh, my son, what have I done to you! Silly boy, things make you happy. Not experiences. Not time with your family. You only have 4 shirts, and there are 7 days in the week. Um, you are woefully under prepared.

And he’s learning about money, budgeting, and making better financial choices. How will he keep up with everyone else if he isn’t thousands of dollars in debt?

A skewed view of society

Tigger is growing up with the belief that when it comes down to it we’re all pretty much the same. “People are pretty much nice everywhere we go.” Yes, he also thinks most people are kind and friendly. In addition, he has this completely weird view of equality and acceptance. He is not only learning to not just “tolerate” people but to accept their differences and value them for who they are and how they treat others instead of making that determination based upon their race, gender, age, religion, etc.

I think we all know just what an incredible waste of time that is!

That’s it! I’m buying our tickets and heading back to the States so he can have a normal life before this gets much worse!

Have I managed to convince you not to travel with kids?

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  1. I can’t believe this website hasn’t been shut down by the government already. Such a mindblowing awesome and inspirational way of raising your kid should be illegal. Seriously.

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  2. A belated April Fool’s Joke post? Great satire. Good points, all of them.

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    • I wish I had thought of this for April Fool’s. I almost did a post about how after 2 years we were quitting and going back to the states for AF, but I figured no one would believe it for a minute. LOL

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  3. Talon, what a great post!
    Something similar happens when people find out we homeschool our kids in Mexico, mostly because is not regulated here.
    We are bad parents!

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  4. there is always the bad with the good, no matter what you do

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  5. What a great post, and what a great human your son will turn out to be (or better: is already)!

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    • Thank you! I’m kind of looking forward to seeing how it affects his adult life, even if I don’t want him to grow up. 🙂

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  6. Interesting take on things, never really thought about the possible downsides to showing your kid the world at a young age…

    Even so, don’t book your flight back to stateside just yet 🙂

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  7. Great honest post Talon, will you be doing a post ‘why you should travel with kids’ next? 🙂

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    • Nah. If people haven’t figured that out through all the other posts, there’s no reaching them. 🙂

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  8. You’re ruining your son’s chances to be a miserable, self-hating wage slave who thinks that he can buy is way to happiness. What a terrible loss!

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    • I know, right? I hang my head in shame. No worries, though. He’s still 11. If we head back now, I can change him back. I think.

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  9. Ah Talon…. this is me shaking my head in despair. No wonder he tried to get a bird to land on my head!

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  10. So awesome! We came so close to doing the same thing. Autism got crazy and delayed us. I wish more people had your spirit!

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    • I hope for your family that when autism calms down more you can make it work, and I’ll follow that journey with interest. One of my nephews has autism. It’s been amazing to watch him develop from afar, but I remember those early days and couldn’t imagine being half the parent my sister was.

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  11. My children need to be ruined in that same way, because I’m thinking (dangerous in our society, I know) there is no better leader of tomorrow than one who didn’t study in the conventional way as a child. 😉 Great blog post, T. Thanks.

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  12. Love it! We saw similar ‘occurances’ in our 5yr during our year away and we’d honestly say that now upon our return, she’s so much more self confident. SEA is so wonderful for kids–just beware of all those terrible child-nappers who are supposedly everywhere 😉

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    • Yep, they have me TERRIFIED. I’ve considered putting him on a leash and also discussed microchipping. Jury is still out, though.

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  13. Ahahaha.
    “He is growing up with an entrepreneurial spirit, and we all know how damaging that can be!”
    Yup. He’ll never be satisfied in a cubical and you have RUINED him for corporate America. How dare you?

    Also, his face in the paragliding picture says, “Dad, stop taking my picture already. Don’t you know that’s annoying?!”

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    • In the photo he was actually irritated with the helmet. Bugged the crap out of him, and he was a little . . . uncomfortable with the harness.

      I know. I’m such an absolutely horrible parent. I don’t know why no one hasn’t called Child Protection on me yet!

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