My name is Anne Leueen and my husband’s name is David. Our children are Breanne and Perry. They are now adults. We come from Ontario Canada just outside Toronto.
My blog website is: https://horseaddict.net/
My Facebook page connected to Horse Addict is : Horse Addict Leueen
David and I are both retired now but travelled with our children often when they were younger. We now go to Florida for the winters to escape the cold in Ontario. I also ride, train and compete with my horse and the winter season in Florida is a busy time for that. David and I have done some travelling on our own to Europe and also to Vietnam and Cambodia a few years ago, but now I find that with going to England twice a year and having a competition horse we are travelling less than we did with a younger family. I am so glad we always took our children with us on all of our travels. There are many stories we still talk about and have wonderful memories to share with our adult children.
Perry now lives in London, England. He went to university in the UK and never returned, which gives a good excuse for David and I to go there twice a year.
Breanne lives in Ontario and travels quite a lot to western Canada and the US for work. This year she has also been to London and Paris and will be going to Barcelona and Madrid also for work.
How old were your children the first time you flew/went on holiday with them and where did you go?
Perry was a month old for his first flight which was from Toronto to Vancouver BC. His next flight was Toronto to London when he was about six months old. Breanne was six weeks old for her first flight from Toronto to London.
Perry was 4 and Breanne turned 2 when we were on our Australian trip. They continued to travel with us to England each year as my family is from there, and I lived there when I was in my 20s, so I have a lot of friends there too. The trips to Mexico were on school holidays as was the trip to Kenya. We made trips to Italy during the March break school holidays.
What important items do you always take with you on your travels?
When they were too young to read I always took books to read to them, puzzles and crayons and paper. Also a backpack filled with disposable diapers, two sets of extra clothing for each child, and when they were babies and eating solid food some dehydrated baby food. For a really long trip, like Los Angeles to Fiji, I wrapped all the little toys in paper and tied it with string so it gave them something to do to get them open and they could only have one at a time. Breanne always needed to have her stuffed bear with her but Perry did not have a favourite stuffie.
What was your favourite destination and why?
Favourite destination? Hard to say. The trip to New Zealand and Australia, when we rented a camper van and travelled in NZ for seven weeks and in Australia for six months was a wonderful experience that remains top of the list for David and I. For the kids, they loved trips to Italy, England and also Mexico.
Do you usually travel on your own, with other family members (e.g. grandparents), friends or nanny?
We always travelled on our own. No friends or other family or nanny.
What do you think travelling abroad teaches your children?
Travelling abroad is an invaluable education. C hildren can see how other people live. They can see people of different races, different levels of poverty or wealth, different customs. When we arrived in Nairobi the guide asked Perry if he had been to Africa before and he said no. “Well,” the guide said “The first thing you will notice is that everyone here is black.” After our first visit to Venice, Perry who was 10, said: “Next time we come here we should stay for two weeks because there is so much here to see.” This was in large part because we had used a walking tour guide ‘Venicescapes’ and the guide had taken us to a lot of very interesting places not always open to the public and he had made it interesting for the kids as well. So, there is history lessons and life lessons, lots of things to be gained from travel.
Do you have any tips or hints for other parents that make your travelling easier and more relaxed?
Travelling with a baby; always have something to get them to drink when taking off or landing in a plane to help their ears adjust to the pressure changes. If you are not absolutely fluent in the country you are going to and do not have friends there make sure you have access to English speaking medical help.
How long in advance do you book a holiday?
We would book in advance for only a few weeks to go to England. About a month to go to Mexico to a resort. Europe maybe six weeks. The Australian trip was planned several months ahead as we were gone for seven months.
Do you plan all the activities and sight seeing in advance?
We planned the walking tours in Italy in advance, but we did not plan the Australia trip other than booking the campervan. I did have maps and made decisions about where to go but basically, we just drove the whole way around the continent and en route we found people who would suggest things to us and we would follow that. For example, I had a friend in Sydney who was the manager of a 3-million-acre sheep station in central Australia. She suggested we stop in to see him as we were going across the country. We drove across the Nullabor and then up a dirt road alongside the dingo fence to stay at the station.
Are you still one of those people that uses a travel agencies for all your holiday bookings or do you plan everything on your own?
We did use a travel agent to make our flight bookings and then I did the hotels etc. myself.
Thank you Anne for sharing your experiences, the trip for seven months sounds like it was very adventurous and it must have been a fantastic opportunity for the family. I am sure travel was much harder to book and arrange before the internet was ubiquitous.
I hope you, my readers, enjoyed our short interview and if you have travel experiences and tips you would also like to share please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.