Have child, will travel. Expert tips for family holidays

Having children changes the way you travel.

As a mother and avid traveller, regular BIG4 guest blogger Natalie Tuck has plenty of insights into travelling as a family. She shares her most important tips.

The year was 2005 and I had just boarded a National Express bus in Glastonbury, England. I was well into my ‘round the world’ trip and would soon be jetting off to Canada to live and work in the Rocky Mountains.

My attention was drawn to a mother and child walking past the bus. I began to speculate on the perils of parenthood, and in the process, began to draw comparisons to this complete stranger’s life and that of my own.

Here I was, free to travel the world, not rooted to the routines and responsibilities of motherhood.

Natalie and her son, Taj.

Then a curious thing happened. They boarded my bus, smiled politely and took their seats. The child, a girl aged about five, carried a backpack that was covered in a chaotic collection of geographical patches. They were a German mother-and-daughter-duo just doing a ‘short trip’ around the UK ‘this time’.

That really was a defining moment for me. I was so inspired by the experience that I vowed to never stop travelling because, as I’d just seen, having kids doesn’t mean you can’t travel. It just changes the way you go about it.

Staying true to my promise has meant that I’ve had to find creative ways, or work-arounds, to keep exploring this beautiful continent and beyond.

Australia's immense beauty warrants abundant exploration. Location: Tathra, NSW.

State of play

Get the lay of your land by exploring your own ’hood’. You don’t need to travel vast distances to have an amazing holiday. We travel around Victoria all the time.

This year, we’ve indulged in some Murray River magic at both Moama and Mildura; we’ve spent time on the Mornington Peninsula; we’ve wandered through rainforests around Healesville, and waded through the Yarra River in Warburton.

Next on the list is Wye River, then Bright, and finally Phillip Island for the summer holidays.

Summer holidays in style: Phillip Island, VIC.

Become a membership maverick

Check out the membership discounts you’re already eligible for.

If your kids are over two years old and don’t qualify for a free flight, sign them up to a frequent flyer program and pool your points, people!

Of course, invest in a holiday parks membership. We joined BIG4 before we left for our two-month Australian road trip last year and we saved a lot of money, plus we’re still members.

Not a BIG4 member? Join now.

Grab a BIG4 membership, save, and soak up views like these. Location: BIG4 Easts Beach, Kiama, NSW.

Develop superhuman organisational skills

This one is important. You need to hustle! Get that annual calendar out and block out possible travel dates.

Monitor your work leave balances. Take note of your children’s school curriculum days, list all term breaks, and highlight those very welcome public holidays.

Book things well in advance – it really does help to either get those good camping spots or membership perks like special holiday deals.

Booking in advance can help you secure the best spots. Location: BIG4 Geraldton, WA.

Our upcoming trip to Wye River is only possible because of a school curriculum day smack bang in the middle of a weekend and public holiday.

And that Bright trip I mentioned earlier. Well, it’s a short two-night trip (in a cabin, so lux!) so we can squeeze that sucker into a weekend. The small caveat is that all of us are missing two hours of school or work, but I don’t really sweat the small stuff.

Short but sweet: A cabin stay at BIG4 Bright, VIC is on the cards for Natalie.

As you can see, our wanderlust does not have to be abandoned or shelved like a dusty old encyclopaedia. Sure, we may not be hitting ‘the road’ Jack Kerouac-style, but we can still have glorious adventures travelling with kids in tow and as willing participants.

So, where are you off to next?

Become a BIG4 member and

SAVE on stays + loads more!

Already a member? Sign in