Big & Small Travel: Meet Thrifty Family Travels

Travel with kids doesn’t need to be scary, difficult or impossible.

In the new blog post series, I will be talking to families that travel with kids. Yes, you’ve heard me! Check out more on the new post series here.

Meet Thrifty Family Travels

Today, we are talking to Melissa and Andy behind the Thrifty Family Travels. They are based in Brisbane, Australia, and besides having normal life as many of us, they have something extraordinary: passion for travel and desire to squeeze in as much of it as possible! And, they not only travel as 2 of them – their 6 year daughter, Myla, accompanies them on all their adventures around the world!

Nomad Diaries (ND): You’ve done some serious traveling before the ‘adult life’ and having Myla! Was it difficult to switch from traveling as “single and free” to traveling with child? 

Thrifty Family Travel (TFT): Haha, it certainly was a bit trickier with all the different things you need to pack for a small child, but after a few trips it became second nature. We actually didn’t travel with Myla until she was 18 months – mainly due to some health issues after her birth. Our first few trips were mostly beach-vacation-style trips and we just slowly worked up to the family backpacker-style travel that we do now.

“For your first trip, pick some where you are familiar with”

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ND: We know so many parents are terrified of traveling with kids or just don’t know where to go with them. . Do you feel you need to do things much differently when traveling with child? 

TFT: I don’t really feel like we make any sacrifices or change itinerary when we travel with Myla – we pretty much just plan the trip the way we want and our daughter just tags along with us. But, I suppose there are some more adventurous things I would like to do, but I often don’t because we have Myla with us. More than before, now with Myla, I certainly take more care ensuring we travel to safe destinations and by safe modes. But, we plan our trips with ourselves in mind first and then adapt it as necessary for her! She’s a great little traveller and loves exploring new cities, going on hikes, getting amongst it – she’s just awesome.

“We plan our trips with ourselves in mind first
and then adapt it as necessary for our child!”

ND: You all live in Brisbane where you have full time jobs and where Myla goes to school. You travel whenever you can and your trips are not to chase sunshine (as for most of us during colder seasons, beauty of living in Queensland I suppose!). How many countries have you travelled to so far, as family?

TFT: Since Myla was about 2 years old, we travelled mostly to Asia and Oceania. We’ve been to Thailand x 2, Bali x 2, Hawaii, Lombok, the Gili Islands, Vanuatu, New Zealand, Vietnam & of course around Australia – so that’s 7 countries. I love all the destinations for different reasons! But, if I had to pick just one I would probably say Indonesia (Bali, Gili and Lombok) because we are massive beach bums and I just love how beautiful the beaches are there. The snorkelling is superb and I love having dinner and drinks at casual places on the beach whilst Myla can play in the sand.

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“I love all the destinations for different reasons!”

ND: After seeing some of the gorgeous world as a family, what do you think is easy and/or difficult when you travel with kids? 

TFT: Easy part: we seem to make a lot more friends when we travel! Kids are such good ice breakers – people are drawn to them – which leads to conversations and friendships with fellow travelers or locals we otherwise wouldn’t make that easily. Myla loves being the centre of attention too, haha, which helps. So when locals say come over here and talk to me – she’s there! There must be a million selfies out in the world of with Myla in them! It’s also great to see destinations through the eyes of kids – they see and love the simple things – the people, the colours, where as adults tend to look at the big picture.

“Get the kids involved with your travel […]. Myla even has her own bucket list!”

As a main difficulty or a deference when you travel with kids, as I said above, you gotta take more care when planning a trip. Traveling a bit slower to ensure plenty of rest time to prevent tantrums (yes!), for example, may often help. Luckily, as this is getting less important as she gets older! Additionally, the biggest issue you can face when traveling with kids is the simple one: cost. An extra plane flight and finding rooms with beds for us all adds up quickly.

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ND: Do you ever think of making a leap and travel full time for period of time? Where would you start?

TFT: I used to dream about travelling full time and maybe one day when we are more financially stable we may – but at the moment, we’re quite happy travelling a few times a year. Although I know many people do it, I have no idea how I would blog full time and travel! Myla also loves going to school in Australia. And even though she does miss out on a bit of school when we travel, traveling frequently but not full time allows her to keep some stability with her school and friends. Andy and I would love to retire somewhere in South East Asia though on a gorgeous beach and maybe run a little bar or restaurant.

“Just do it!!!!!”

ND: 3 tips you can share for people that are anxious about travel with kids? 

TFT: Just do it!!!!! My main tips would be… :

#1 – For your first trip, pick some where you are familiar with, or some where that’s got a great reputation for travelling with kids, take it easy, don’t move around too much if it doesn’t feel comfortable yet – this will help you feel more ready for future trips;

#2 – Do a bit of planning in advance about what you may need to take when you travel with kids – this will depend upon the age of your kids. There are heaps of great blogs out there with posts about what to pack for kids – even ours ha ha ha ha – and make sure you pack light. Dragging around lots of luggage and kid wrangling at the same time is not fun.

#3 – Get the kids involved with your travel – Myla has a kids atlas which we read regularly and talk about all the great places there are to see in the world, we watch You Tube videos of the places we are going to go, get her excited about what she is going to see. Myla even has her own bucket list! Number 1 on her list is Rio – thanks to the Rio movie, with all the colourful dancing birds in it :)

Why we love this story

For determination to make great travel happen for them, despite demanding regular jobs and school schedule. For involving their child in planning each trip – what a lovely idea! For such positive attitude about traveling and letting child to naturally adapt to their plans where possible. For kids atlas and Myla’s bucket list ♡

For more details check out Thrifty Family Travels here and on Instagram. You can also get a free packing list when you subscribe to the newsletter on their website!

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-Nomad Diaries

Photos credit: Melissa @Thrifty Family Travels

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