Can you imagine backpacking around the world, with two kids under five?
Well, that’s exactly what one Irish couple did. After spending several years away from home, living in Australia, Gillian and Mick decided to hit the road for the family adventure of a lifetime.
From living in a camper van in New Zealand to taking a cruise ship around the Caribbean, this family experienced it all during their 16-month adventure.
We spoke to Gillian to find out how the trip went and to ask what advice she has for other families who are looking to travel.
Tell us a little about your family.
“We chose to move to Australia 8 years ago due to the lack of employment in Ireland at the time. We loved living in Australia and the amazing opportunities it gave us. We had great jobs which enabled us to travel quite a bit which is where we came up with the idea to travel full time. Both of our daughters Sophie (5 years) and Chloe (2 years) were born in Australia. We are all Australian citizens so can return anytime we like. A year and a half ago we packed up our life in Australia and set off on a 16-month world adventure with the girls visiting 25 countries seeing and experiencing amazing things.”
What made you want to give it all up to travel the world?
“We decided to take the opportunity to do it before the kids started big school. It was the perfect chance to do it, and it was a way we all got to spend good quality family time making great childhood memories for the children as they grow up so quickly and wanted to cherish their early years.”
Did you have to save for long to be able to afford it? Have you any saving tips?
“Yes, we saved over a number of years and had a separate travel fund to our savings. We cut down on unnecessary spending. As my husband’s job required him to be away a lot of the time we moved into a smaller house and sold one of our cars as it was not needed and in turn that cut the cost of bills and outgoings etc so all that money we saved by doing this went into our travel fund.”
What route did you take around the world?
“We started off exploring Australia doing a trip up and down the West and East coast of Australia. We then explored New Zealand both Islands in a camper van. Then we hit Asia exploring Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Malaysia Borneo, Brunei, Philippines, Taiwan, South Korea, France, Ireland (Christmas), USA, Caribbean cruise, Bahamas, Japan, China, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Italy, then home to Ireland.”
Where have been your favourite places to go as a family?
“We loved New Zealand it was such a great family adventure the girls loved living in the camper van and exploring. It was great waking up in a new place every morning. Vietnam was also a highlight of our trip we loved it especially Hoi An and Ha Long Bay. Sri Lanka was incredible, the Ella to Kandy train ride through the countryside was breath-taking and seeing 100’s of wild elephants on Safari was spectacular. One of the big things we set out to do on this trip was to visit all of the Disney Resorts in the world which we loved completing. We all loved the Disney cruise and can’t wait to go on another one.”
How did the kids find all the travelling?
“The kids really enjoyed the trip they learned so much and got to see so many different cultures and ways other people live. They loved taking part in traditional experiences like the Haka in New Zealand, Hula dancing in Hawaii, Ninja school in Japan and cooking classes in Thailand.
Of course, like every family, we had our fair share of tantrums and crazy moments, but we just dealt with them as we would of at home. We never overdid it, always balancing our days. If we were out sightseeing one day, then the next we would do something fun for the kids.”
What does a typical day look like for your family now?
“Now that my husband is back working, myself and the girls are always getting up to little adventures during the day. On the weekends we plan a day trip to somewhere or a weekend away.
I tend to do my travel planning sessions for other families at night when the girls are in bed as I have time to think without being disrupted.”
Do you think you will still have big travel adventures now that the kids are at the school-age? If so, how will you go about it?
“It’s definitely possible to still travel, we already have a few more trips planned for the rest of this year. We will now just have to plan holidays around the school term, holiday periods and take advantage of the long weekends. I know it’s the most expensive time to travel, which is a pain, but if we plan and book them in advance hopefully we can get some good deals. We are also excited about exploring Ireland more as we both haven’t seen much of it and there is so much to see.”
What are your top tips for travelling with kids?
“When booking flights try to book night time flights that way they will more than likely sleep most of the flight. Brings books, sticker books and little cheap toys and take them out gradually for them. Have an I pad and earphones ready for the times they get fed up and bring lots of snacks. Also, when going through airport security ask could you be directed to the family/priority line it will save you waiting in long lines with little ones. Also, most airlines allow parents and children to board first so listen out for the call.”
What are your must-have’s on the road?
“Packing cubes, they were a lifesaver and made travelling so much easier. Everyone that travels should have them. We also couldn’t have survived the trip without our Ergo baby 360 carrier, it’s was amazing and used daily. Our Puggle Adventure Nappyback pack has been great for our adventures in Ireland we wish we had it while on our big trip.”
What’s next for you guys?
“For now, we plan to settle down in Ireland to be closer to family and friends and travel when we can. We are already talking about another big trip during the summer months one year to Explore Canada, Africa or Europe.
Travel has been and will continue to be a big part of our lives, we are continuing to document our travel and adventures on our Instagram and media accounts and have some exciting trip collaborations coming up soon as we love creating content and working with hotels and brands when giving the opportunity. We love showcasing all of the family things there is to do around the world.”
What advice would you give a family who wants to follow in your footsteps?
Go for it! We do not regret one thing about our trip it was the most amazing experience, something we will always have to look back on. Jobs and everyday life will still be there when you come back, so just take the leap and go for it if it’s what you want.
Follow the family and their adventures over on Instagram @wherearewegoingtomorrowtravel
Follow Creators for more Irish blogger adventures @creators_ie
Interview by Rachael Taylor Fawsitt @lovelytomeetme