Unmissable holidays and experiences before having children

Clearly I am passionate about travelling with my children, hence the reason for setting up our family travel blog.  I also however, look back fondly on the experiences and holidays my husband and I enjoyed before having children… The carefree days with no worries of baby nap times and the logistical nightmare of packing the entire contents of our house for a week in the sun!  This article will highlight the unmissable holidays and experiences to enjoy before having children.

Work abroad

Getting paid to live and work abroad is a life changing experience.  It is not impossible to work abroad with children but logistically more difficult as you need to worry about your family’s health care provision, schooling and gain the appropriate working visas.  Working abroad when you have no family ties provides you with the opportunity to broaden your horizons, learn about different cultures and see the world… all whilst getting paid:)  Even if you only work abroad for one season (i.e. as a travel rep in a holiday resort) and decide you absolutely hate it, you are less likely to regret doing it than regret not doing it later in life when you have children and financial commitments.


Images – Working onboard P&O Cruises as Shore Excursions Manager.

I spent most of my twenties and early thirties travelling and working abroad.  I caught the bug quite early at 18 and enjoyed my first working experience abroad with Camp America at a camp site in San Francisco.  It was a fairly ‘risk free’ and ‘safe’ first experience. They organised my working visa and even picked me up from the airport and delivered me to the campsite!  The confidence gained from working for Camp America enabled me to go on and work/study in the USA for a further five years and work onboard cruise ships for a few years.  I met my now husband when working onboard cruise ships in the Caribbean, which leads me on to the next unmissable holiday/experience before having children…

First holiday alone as a couple

The make or break/get to know one another experience!  With busy jobs and manic life’s often a holiday is the first time a couple will spend any quality time together.  It is a great opportunity to find out if you are compatible, as you really get to know someone well when you travel with them.  For example…Does your new partner like to lay in the sun all day, perfecting the tan?  Are they happiest when taking full advantage of the water sports on offer or taking in the local culture and sightseeing?  Even a confident person may be a recluse on holiday and choose not to mix with other tourists or interact with the locals. Does your new partner enjoy trying the local foods, attempting to speak the local language and really immersing themselves into the local community?  How do they deal with unexpected problems occurring… Flight delays, lost luggage, screaming babies on the flight? 

It is said you do not know someone until you live with them but to truly get to know someone I feel you should go on holiday alone as a couple. Mine and Richard’s first holiday was a road trip around Florida.  Thinking back we hardly knew each other.  As I said above, we had met whilst working onboard a ship.  We had dated for only two months, (although ship relationships are intense as of course you see each other every day throughout your working contract).  I was 25, so hardly a child, however I knew my parents would worry if they knew I was going on holiday with a guy I had only known for two months!   I therefore told them I was going on holiday with friends. (It was a couple of years later when they learnt the truth!)


Image – Road trip fun, USA

It was easy to choose where to go on our holiday as we both fancied a road trip. (A fortnight on a beach, after being onboard a ship which visits a new port everyday, did not hold much appeal).  We both love the USA and so decided on a road trip starting in Miami.

It was a fabulous holiday and it gave us the opportunity to really get to know one another.  We roller skated up and down South Beach in Miami, scuba dived with reef sharks in Key Largo, drank far too many cocktails in Key West and acted like big kids in Orlando.  We had booked the first nights accommodation and then stopped at places that took our fancy.  This resulted in having to sleep one night in our rental car as we were unable to find a hotel with vacancies in Key West. (If this happened now, as parents of two young boys, it will clearly be an issue, however as a young couple it just added to the adventure!) 

So it turns out we were compatible and both enjoy a mixture of experiences whilst on holiday… The rest as they say is history!

Live somewhere you would never live with kids!

Once kids come along the ‘must have list’ for your dream home grows by the minute… close to grandparents for childcare support, extra bedrooms, kids playroom, large garden, garage and attic to fill with baby stuff, good school catchment area, etc, etc.  Before children there are none of these worries and so therefore choosing your first home is much simpler and provides more scope for freedom.

The first home we purchased together was a 50 foot narrow boat.  We lived onboard for two years.  Some of our friends thought we were bloody crazy, others thought the idea of coming out of the rat race and instead living on the canals was pretty cool.

Maverick 2

Images – Our first home, a 50ft narrow boat!

We had family and friends onboard with us most weekends, chugging along at a couple of miles an hour, up and down the canals and rivers.  Of course some people live onboard boats with kids, and I have the utmost respect for them.   Being completely honest we would struggle to live onboard with two young children, a zillion toys and all the required baby gadgets!

Holidays with friends

These holidays are important before kids come along and holidays become much more expensive and logistically a little bit more of…. shall we say a challenge?!  Holidays with friends offer an opportunity to let your hair down, create lasting memories/friendships and have a ‘few’ drinks without the worry of surviving a hangover with children to look after the next day!

I was so skint whilst at university that I remember selling (still needed!) study books and pledging that I was starving and penniless to my parents so that I could scrape together enough cash to go on a girls holiday to Benidorm!

City Breaks

I am not suggesting that you cannot enjoy city breaks as a family because you definitely can.  We have experienced several with Charlie and Harry, including a lovely trip to Copenhagen and many trips to London.  HOWEVER, trying to fight the crowds and visit cultural sights with young children in tow is definitely a different experience to exploring a city as a carefree, loved up couple!

Before children we loved city breaks and were fortunate to go on several a year.  We visited New York and crammed all the main sights into our four-day trip… Statue of Liberty, Times New Square, ice skating in Central Park and musicals in the West End. (My fav was Mary Poppins, it was awesome and I am not ashamed to say I shed a tear when she flew at the end!)  A visit to NYC can of course be thoroughly enjoyable with children however, it would definitely be a completely different experience and one that involves a lot of time at Central Park zoo!  (I would also not suggest visiting NYC in December with young children because quite honestly I have never been so cold in my entire life).


Images – Exploring NYC without the worry of baby nap times, etc!

Activity holidays

Before we had children we were fortunate to experience several skiing and sailing holidays.  The most memorable ones were with our group of friends.  One year we travelled by Eurostar as a group from London St Pancras to Paris and then ski train to La Plagne.  The atmosphere onboard the train was fabulous.  We partied in the ‘disco carriage’ and arrived in the ski resort the next day where we immediately hit the slopes!

Another year a group of us hired a yacht and sailed from Athens around the Greek Islands. It was an awesome week.  The views were absolutely spectacular and the water was crystal clear.  We anchored in a terrible spot one evening, the sea was incredibly rough and the winds were howling.  Our yacht was plunging up and down and we all had to leave our cabins to reposition the anchor in the dark… Hilarious at the time but certainly not an experience I would want to repeat with young children!

As stated above, I am not saying that you cannot enjoy skiing or sailing holidays with children.  You can and there are many specialised family ski and sail tour operators such as Mark Warner, Neilson and The Family Adventure Company who offer facilities such as crèches for tots and ski lessons for children. The main enjoyment for Richard and I however was experiencing these holidays with a group of like-minded friends.  When our boys are a little older we thoroughly look forward to introducing them both to skiing and sailing!


Images – Group skiing and sailing holiday, before the days of kids!


Of course many people get married after having children, however if you get the opportunity to leave the kids with grandparents, treat yourselves to a childfree minimoon!  A minimoon is a short break away enjoyed shortly after becoming man and wife.  A relaxing couple of days away is a great compromise if you cannot afford your dream honeymoon immediately after your wedding.  Or the timing is not quite right and you want to go later in the year.

To be honest the day after your wedding can be a massive come down.  You may have planned it for months, years even, and suddenly it is all over.  To beat those post wedding blues, book a couple of nights away to enjoy time in each others company.  Reliving the best parts of your big day!

Our wedding celebration took place over a three-day bank holiday, with most wedding guests staying at the venue for a couple of nights. (After planning it for nearly a year and spending a small fortune we wanted it to last as long as possible!)  After saying our farewells to guests we hopped on the train to London and enjoyed a couple of days sightseeing before returning home to open wedding gifts!


Image – Our minimoon in London


If you get married before you have children (or you leave the kiddies at home with Grandparents) choose a honeymoon destination that offers the opportunity to take part in activities that you would never dream of experiencing with children or during a regular holiday.

Richard and I spent three days in Las Vegas and then flew to Oahu in Hawaii where we stayed on Waikiki Beach and enjoyed surfing lessons and a visit to Pearl Harbour.  We then flew to Maui for a week where we watched the sunrise from the top of Haleakala volcano, biked down the volcano and sailed to the island of Lanai.  It truly was a once in a lifetime trip that we will treasure forever.  We knew in the future that we wanted children and so purposefully chose Las Vegas.   As this is not a destination we would personally choose to take young children to.  We also purposefully chose to enjoy lots of excursions which would be more difficult to experience with young kids.


Images – Our honeymoon in Las Vegas and Hawaii, enjoying activities that would be more challenging with young kids


This is the official term for the last holiday as a couple before baby arrives.  This started as an American tradition.   As we were living in America at the time, it was a tradition we were happy to follow!  As with most couples, we were aware that life was about to change in a very significant way.  We booked a babymoon to give us the opportunity to enjoy some time together, before the madness of nappy changes and sleep deprivation kicked in!

We took a road trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway to Asheville in North Carolina for a few days to tour the stunning Biltmore Estate and then flew to Boston to experience some culture and visit the main sights.  We were keen to walk the Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile, red-lined route which leads to 16 historically significant sites…. Unfortunately, as baby was pushing down on my bladder I had to pee every ten minutes. I therefore became acquainted with every coffee shop and bar on the Freedom Trail! This was a very memorable holiday where we spent quality time together before our lives changed (for the better!) forever by the arrival of our little boy.

22 weeks - walking the Freedom Trail, stopping every 20 minutes for a wee!!

Images – Our babymoon in Boston.  Enjoying the main sights inc. Cheers Bar and the Freedom Trail

Visit family and friends

If, like me, you have friends scattered all over your country, I suggest that you take the time before you have your first baby to do a tour around and spend some quality time with them whilst you have the opportunity!

As we were living in the USA, Richard and I travelled back to the UK when I was 30 weeks pregnant and spent a week with family. He then returned to the USA and I travelled around the UK by train staying with different friends.  If you are fortunate to not be having any pregnancy issues, the last few weeks of pregnancy with your first child is a magical time. (You certainly do not have the same freedom and time if/when you are pregnant with your second child as you still have your oldest child to run around after!) I enjoyed touring the UK catching up with my oldest and dearest friends with my huge bump.  It was lovely to spend quality time with them before Charlie changed my life overnight!

If you have enjoyed this article you may enjoy – Unmissable holidays to enjoy when you have children

Can you add any other unmissable holidays and experiences before having children? Did you and your partner enjoy similar holidays before having your first child?



  1. 3rd October 2016 / 1:02 pm

    I enjoyed reading about your previous trips — so many great experiences there! Loved reading about your Florida road trip. That drive to and from the Keys is amazing. One of our all-time favorite vacations was a road trip from San Diego to Boston, visiting family and friends in Tucson, Austin, New Orleans and Washington D.C along the way. I think it will be a while until we do something like that again but hopefully will when Little T’s older! #MondayEscapes

    • Lisa
      5th October 2016 / 11:53 am

      Thanks Cindy! Yes our Florida road trip was amazing, yours sounds very memorable too. I haven’t been to Austin or New Orleans but would love to. We also plan to do a road trip with our boys when they are a little older:)

  2. 2nd October 2016 / 7:40 pm

    Oh I would have loved to work abroad, I so wanted to work on a cruise ship but never had the guts to apply. I think thats why I am addicted to cruising x

    • Lisa
      5th October 2016 / 11:54 am

      Not too late Sarah! You could always work at sea when your kids have grown up and flown the nest!

  3. 29th September 2016 / 12:15 pm

    You packed in a few things before baby came :)

    • Lisa
      5th October 2016 / 11:54 am

      Ha ha yes we did Bea!

  4. 25th September 2016 / 4:29 pm

    I love this list! I didn’t realize there were so many types of trips to take advantage of. I was an au pair in Denmark a few years ago and it’s an experience that definitely helped me grow and I cherish it fondly.

  5. 21st September 2016 / 6:27 pm

    Great post. The working abroad one really resonates with us from our time travelling before having our kids. I love the idea of a house boat too.
    Potty Adventures

  6. 21st September 2016 / 3:15 pm

    A great post to introduce yourself and the new Monday Escapes, such fab memories. We went on a luxury (for us!) adults only beach holiday before we became parents and I’m so glad we did! It’s going to be a long time before we get to do anything like it again. Having said that, I love travelling with our son, it’s so refreshing seeing the world through his eyes :-) #mondayescapes

  7. 21st September 2016 / 5:08 am

    Wow!. I think you’re completely right about traveling with your partner before a big commitment. If you have completely different styles that’s fine, just not something you want to come up as a surprise!

    • Lisa
      21st September 2016 / 8:33 am

      Absolutely! I would have been seriously reconsidering whether Richard was right for me if he had wanted to search out British food and people all holiday!

  8. 20th September 2016 / 8:38 pm

    Wow!! Is there anywhere you haven’t been?! That’s quite an impressive list. Having children has prompted us to discover more amazing places locally rather than heading off abroad. Not because we don’t want to travel with the boys but because we live in a beautiful part of the world so it seems a waste not to make the most of it.

  9. 20th September 2016 / 7:35 pm

    Loved your post! I’m happy I came across #MondaysEscapes cause my family and I are big fans of travelling. We, ourselves, are not from UK so we always have a perfect excuse to visit family in Barcelona twice a year, if possible. But we love the experience of learning new cultures, visiting amazing places, and just as you say open up your horizons, a fundamental part of growing regardless of your budget. :)

  10. 20th September 2016 / 3:42 pm

    This is a great post!! I get to live in the pre-kid land for a while and keep enjoying these types of trips! Glad to see Monday Escapes is going to keep on, and I’m happy to link up with you guys!

  11. 20th September 2016 / 3:00 pm

    Oh my word! I am so going to write a blog post inspired by you too! My husband, then boyfriend, travelled a lot! You made me think about our first travel and we went to Paris/Switzerland when we were 18. From Singapore to somewhere that far in our teens is quite a something to write about! Loving this post you put together.

    You guys lived in a canal for 2 years! I would love that! But that also meant a whole lot of bravery and craziness to jump on that wagon. heheheh Thanks for taking over #mondayescapes.

  12. 20th September 2016 / 4:36 am

    Oh my! I feel so inspired by reading this post. You have had some truly amazing experiences. I think there is time in life for everything. Like you, I have moved abroad and travel before having kids. I think that helps you to become a better person.

    • Lisa
      20th September 2016 / 1:14 pm

      Ah thank you Ruth. I feel truly fortunate to have experienced all of the above! Where did you live before kids?

  13. 20th September 2016 / 2:51 am

    Too late for most of these… My biggest regret is not working or studying abroad before I had kids. But at least I did honeymoon, babymoon and lots of couple trips with the kids came along. #MondayEscapes

    • Lisa
      20th September 2016 / 1:16 pm

      Sounds like you have had some memorable travelling experiences too:)

  14. 20th September 2016 / 1:13 am

    Great topic for a post – we often reflect upon our pre-kids travel days and the carefreeness of it all. The bit about staying overnight in your car is so true – adds to the adventure when you’re young and free, not so much when you’ve got kids in tow! #mondayescapes

    • Lisa
      20th September 2016 / 1:17 pm

      Ha ha yes it certainly does Corey. To be fair my sons would most probably love the idea of sleeping in the car. The reality of it though would be very different:)

  15. 19th September 2016 / 9:25 pm

    Great read! Unfortunately I can’t make up the time past, because we didn’t have a real honeymoon, but we did lots of camping and activity trips together. Now with our kids being a bit older you can actually do a variety of trips and our girls have always been great traveller. We live abroad now and are having a wonderful time. Funny enough, I have some of your suggestions in mind for the time when our children will have left home ;-)

    • Lisa
      20th September 2016 / 1:18 pm

      A few of the people I worked with onboard the cruise ships had joined after their kids left for university! I think its a great idea

  16. 19th September 2016 / 9:10 pm

    Very interesting read. There’s quite few things in this list I have yet to do ( I don’t have any kids) :) Thanks for bringing back #MondayEscapes.

    • Lisa
      20th September 2016 / 1:20 pm

      Glad you liked it Upeksha. Make the most of your time now and go and get paid to travel the world! Its harder (but certainly not impossible) once kids come along

  17. 19th September 2016 / 9:08 pm

    Oh wow! You have been to so many cool places and done so many amazing things, I wish I could say I have done the same. I’ve never been on a holiday with friends and this is something I regret not doing before I had children. I’m rubbish at travelling without the kids as I want them to see as much of the world as they can so I take them everywhere! I did have my very first solo trip earlier this year when I visited Italy with work (technically not solo as I was with others, but my first ever trip abroad without my parents or husband!)

    • Lisa
      20th September 2016 / 1:21 pm

      I agree Sam. I am going away to Barcelona this week without my boys and I wish I could pack them into my suitcase because I know they would love it!

  18. 19th September 2016 / 9:08 pm

    What fantastic pre-kids holiday memories Lisa. All your photos are absolutely stunning and can’t fail to make anyone want to travel and experience more of the world.

    • Lisa
      20th September 2016 / 1:22 pm

      Thanks Karen! I only wish I could access all of my photos:( They are all saved on a broken laptop. These photos above are just a few I had shared on facebook!

  19. 19th September 2016 / 8:00 pm

    Love that you lived on a narrow boat! How cool!

    I worked abroad as a seasonaire and I loved it, I also backpacked (with my then boyfriend, now husband) and there were experiences I wouldn’t change for the world!

    All brilliant suggestions and your honeymoon sounds amazing!

    • Lisa
      20th September 2016 / 1:25 pm

      It was great fun living on a narrow boat Megan! I would definitely recommend it. Although we didn’t purposefully buy a boat to save money it was so much cheaper living onboard than renting. When we went to sell it two years later we made money on it too which paid for our wedding! Your travelling experiences sound amazing too:)

  20. 19th September 2016 / 7:17 pm

    This is a great list. I wish we had been able to go on a babymoon before Ladybug was born. But D was still in law school then and we had no money to travel back then. #MondayEscapes

    • Lisa
      20th September 2016 / 1:26 pm

      Thanks Allison. You will have to go on a unimoon when your kids are in university instead:) Thanks for popping by

  21. 19th September 2016 / 7:07 pm

    I love this and nodded along the whole way through! I particularly agree with working abroad, the holidays with friends and the baby moon. Although let’s face it all of these opportunities are magical! Thanks for hosting #MondayEscapes, my first time linking but I’m hoping to be back :)

    • Lisa
      20th September 2016 / 1:26 pm

      Thanks Mrs Lighty and welcome to MondayEscapes! I look forward to reading your post

  22. 19th September 2016 / 6:44 pm

    Such a great reminder to those who are not yet parents. I love travelling with kids, but your right things are not as spontaneous and carefree. God I miss travelling without plans!

    • Lisa
      20th September 2016 / 1:29 pm

      I miss the spontaneous travelling days too. As my boys are getting older I do find that we are able to be a little more spontaneous but we are still having to have adventures around nap times for my two year old!

  23. 19th September 2016 / 3:24 pm

    Oh my gosh I can’t believe you lived on a narrowboat, what an amazing thing to have done – and all the other stuff too obviously but love that! #MondayEscapes

    • Lisa
      20th September 2016 / 1:13 pm

      It was great fun Karen! Saved us a small fortune in rent too and we made money on the boat when we sold it after living onboard for two years!

  24. 19th September 2016 / 3:15 pm

    Great post (I’ve actually got one on a similar vein half-written in my drafts). Travelling is great with kids but not quite as carefree and spontaneous. I wish we’d lived abroad but the opportunity never came up. Great to hear about all your experiences. Love how you didn’t tell your parents who you were really going on holiday with…that’s something I would have done. Thanks for hosting #mondayescapes

    • Lisa
      20th September 2016 / 1:31 pm

      I don’t think my mum has ever forgiven me Elizabeth! What I didn’t say in the article above is that Richard did tell his parents who he was travelling with and they offered to drop him off at the airport. His mum then made the excuse that she wanted the toilet when they arrived so I ended up having to meet them completely unprepared at the check in desk! I was mortified

  25. 19th September 2016 / 2:49 pm

    Loved this post the first time I read it Lisa. What a wonderful collection of pre-kiddy travel memories you have. And great tips for couples embarking on their travels together! #MondayEscapes

    • Lisa
      20th September 2016 / 1:35 pm

      Thanks Claire. I persuaded my brother, ten years younger than me, to go travelling after uni. Saying that he would regret it if he didn’t do it before kids. Six years later he has worked in the USA, lived in for a year Canada and enjoyed several winter and summer seasons in the French Alps! Every now and again he calls me and asks for ideas of what jobs he should apply for next:)

  26. 19th September 2016 / 2:13 pm

    Great post and it reminds me that I really want to take my boys skiing as we’ve never done it as a family!

    • Lisa
      20th September 2016 / 1:37 pm

      Thanks Jane. I think my eldest would love skiing and by next winter my youngest will be old enough to give it a go too so we plan to book something winter 2017:)

  27. 19th September 2016 / 12:54 pm

    Good to read this as a way of getting to know you a little better, Lisa. I love the bit about you and your husband living together on a narrow boat – sounds like you must have gone from one big boat to a small one! No wonder you’re taking your two cruising! #MondayEscapes

    • Lisa
      19th September 2016 / 1:28 pm

      Yes we seem to have a magnetic like pull to water! Really pleased to have you continuing linking with #MondayEscapes Clare. The Family Travel Show sounds great. Could be a very expensive day out though, I would want to book a fair few holidays!

  28. 19th September 2016 / 12:04 pm

    What amazing experiences. Sailing near Athens just sounds amazing, maybe not the anchoring bit though. Hope you have a fabulous holiday!!

    • Lisa
      19th September 2016 / 1:29 pm

      Yes the sailing holiday was amazing. My husband went to the Southampton boat show yesterday actually, he has come back wanting to buy a boat of course! Thanks for linking up to #MondayEscapes

  29. 19th September 2016 / 11:55 am

    Wow some amazing travel experience here! I had my daughter quite young so most of our travel is as a family however when she visits her dad we try to take advantage and get away somewhere a bit different. We want to have one couples holiday and one family holiday a year so we can enjoy it from both sides! #mondayescapes

    • Lisa
      19th September 2016 / 11:58 am

      That sounds like a great plan Kat! You then have the best of both worlds:) Thanks for linking up to #MondayEscapes

  30. 19th September 2016 / 11:39 am

    We enjoy traveling throughout Japan with our 6-year-old but sometimes my husband and I really miss the early years of our marriage when it was so much easier to slip away for a long weekend! I feel lucky that, as Americans, we spent the first three years of our marriage living in England and exploring Europe. We know how rewarding travel can be and it helps motivate us to make the extra effort now now needed with a kid in tow.

    • Lisa
      20th September 2016 / 1:38 pm

      Completely agree Susan, travelling is very rewarding. Where about in America do you live? I love the states and would return to live out there in a heartbeat!

  31. 19th September 2016 / 11:33 am

    Really enjoyed your post – I worked in travel before we started our family so we were very lucky to have some great holidays just the two of us. Very different from our holidays now but great in a different way! Now that our children are all past the baby stage our holidays are changing again and it is great to do things that we can all enjoy together. I think once you have the travel bug -you will make it work no matter the make up of your party! Look forward to reading more and joining in on Monday Escapes :)

    • Lisa
      19th September 2016 / 12:03 pm

      Thanks for stopping by and linking up Coral. We are just starting to get to the stage where our boys can join in some activities. My eldest is 5 so he now enjoys some water sports, etc. I definitely agree re: once you have the travel bug you just make it work! Our eldest had been on 18 flights by his first birthday. He thinks jumping on a plane is just the norm. We have slowed down now with two, mainly because of the expense but my youngest (2) has also enjoyed a mixture of lovely family holidays. I look forward to reading your post and being inspired by your family holidays!

  32. 19th September 2016 / 11:18 am

    Living on a boat in a canal… I am sure you have amazing memories from that experience. Best wishes for hosting the new Monday Escapes, Lisa!

    • Lisa
      19th September 2016 / 11:28 am

      I look back very fondly on our time living on a narrow boat Ahila. It is of course very easy to forget about the times we nearly sank and ended up stranded in someones back garden due to the floods and the numerous occasions we broke down on various canals and rivers! We are considering hiring one next summer for a few months to introduce our boys to a life on the water although we are going to need a big boat for all of their stuff!

  33. 19th September 2016 / 9:52 am

    I am very much like you: I adore travelling with my kids but also have great memories of holidays and trips I would have not done with them: night bus ride in Chiapas with police checks every hour? Not that child friendly… accepting poorly paid job just because in cool location? Again, not ideal with little ones! The one thing we keep doing is city breaks: I feel I mastered the art of going to cities with kids and now they are my favourite kind of family trip!

    • Lisa
      19th September 2016 / 11:31 am

      Thanks for linking up to #MondayEscapes Marta. That bus ride sounds very memorable! My boys have loved the city breaks we have taken them on so far, they just take a little more planning and flexibility really to ensure they don’t get too tired or overwhelmed by too many cultural sights.

  34. 19th September 2016 / 9:46 am

    You lived on a narrow boat?! That is SO COOL!!

    • Lisa
      19th September 2016 / 11:34 am

      We lived onboard for two years Bev, we would have stayed onboard for longer but an opportunity came up in the states that we could not turn down. We met so many incredible people from living on a boat, it really changes your out look too. I was much much more chilled out when living on Maverick. Its hard to be stressed when travelling at five miles an hour! Thanks for popping by and linking up to #MondayEscapes

  35. 19th September 2016 / 9:38 am

    I think D and I need to get married, just so we can have a Minimoon! So many great tips in this post – and funny moments. I love the fact that you told your parents you were going travelling with friends rather than with a man you’d met only 2 months before! Worked out ok in the end though ;-)

    • Lisa
      19th September 2016 / 11:38 am

      Yes it certainly did Nell:) I’m not sure my Dad would have rested for the few weeks I was away if I had told him the truth! Thanks for popping over and linking up to #MondayEscapes. P.S Minimoons are the best. I love any excuse for an extra holiday!

  36. 19th September 2016 / 9:30 am

    I also love traveling with my kids, but you are so right there are just some things you can’t do with them! I do sometimes miss the long road trips or being able to just drive for a long time to get somewhere faster, with kids that just isn’t an option! It’s truly a whole different experience one you bring along the littles! #MondayEscapes

    • Lisa
      19th September 2016 / 11:41 am

      Thanks for popping by and linking up to #MondayEscapes Elizabeth. Yes travelling with children is a whole new experience. We travel very differently now, at a slower pace and with more time built in for our boys to burn off some energy on the beach/attractions etc.

  37. 19th September 2016 / 9:25 am

    Plus 1 to expat experiences. Moving to Dublin for work literally changed our lives. We’ve traveled to places we never would have had the chance to see if we were based in the US.

    • Lisa
      19th September 2016 / 11:50 am

      You definitely make more of a conscious effort to get out and explore when you move abroad Jennifer. When we first moved to Savannah we were only supposed to be over there for a year and so we crammed everything in and travelled throughout Georgia, North/South Carolina and Florida most weekends. My husbands work contract just kept getting extended until after three years (and many road trips!) the job finally came to an end. I would love to live in Dublin, it is such a fun city!

  38. 19th September 2016 / 8:59 am

    I’ve done pretty much all that you mention before kids, and have carried on doing it with them as well. I started my family in my 30s so had plenty of time for child free travel but having kids hasn’t stopped me at all either…My oldest just turned 17 and he’s been to nearly 30 countries! Make the most of every stage of life is what I say. I absolutely LOVE the idea of living on a narrow boat but I reckon that really is one thing I wouldn’t do with kids! I’m super jealous of that experience.

    • Lisa
      20th September 2016 / 1:41 pm

      I completely agree re: make the most of every stage of life Phoebe. We have enjoyed some fabulous holidays with our boys too that we would never have dreamt of doing as a couple. A narrow boat is maybe not a great idea with kids but a wide beam boat (double the width) would be absolutely fab!

  39. 19th September 2016 / 8:49 am

    So jealous you got go live on a canal boat! It sounds ace, all of it.

    We are at that stage in life where our bois are at an age { 14 and 9} where we can all join in on the activities together. Never enjoyed holidays as much as we are now. Pleased to have found your blog through the Monday Escapes link.

    • Lisa
      20th September 2016 / 1:42 pm

      Great to have you here Cerys. Thanks for linking up to #MondayEscapes

  40. 19th September 2016 / 7:35 am

    Lovely ideas. I have to say, we haven’t let kids stop us doing much – just the cost of 5 of us is the problem. We still go away en masse with friends, but now that means there’s about 35-45 of us, as there are plenty of 3 kid families in the group. We hire out Youth Hostels. It seems to work for young and old.

    • Lisa
      20th September 2016 / 1:42 pm

      Hiring a youth hostel is a great idea. I have never thought of that before!

  41. 19th September 2016 / 7:10 am

    I never worked abroad and I regret that now. My husband with work often gets to go and work abroad and while he tells me that it is not glam, in my head it it! We do travel alot as a family though and this year we travelled round Norway and then in the summer went back to the UK to road-trip round it. At Christmas we are sailing round the Canary Islands. Can’t wait! #MondayEscapes

    • Lisa
      20th September 2016 / 1:43 pm

      Sounds like you are certainly making up for not travelling much before kids Emma! All of your holidays sound amazing. I love Norway, particularly the fjords. We are going on our first family cruise soon. My boys are so excited!

  42. 19th September 2016 / 6:59 am

    Wow, Some amazing experiences! no wonder you caught the travel bug! living on a narrow boat must of been interesting. Thanks for hosting Monday escapes.

    • Lisa
      20th September 2016 / 1:45 pm

      Thanks Donna. Yes it was certainly interesting and has given us lots of funny stories to share around the dinner table!

  43. 19th September 2016 / 6:50 am

    This is a great post to get to know you and your travelling history a little more. Looking forward to reading more of your travels, now you’re at the helm for #mondayescapes.

    • Lisa
      19th September 2016 / 9:09 am

      Thanks Trish. I was a little apprehensive about adding such an old post because my writing has hopefully(!!) improved since I wrote it a year ago :) I am pleased that you found it to be a good intro. I look forward to reading more about your travels too. Thanks for joining in #MondayEscapes

  44. 19th September 2016 / 6:34 am

    oh I love the narrow boat home!!!
    And never heard of a Mini Moon before but know plenty who did it! We sometimes regret a number of trips we didn’t take pre-kids but we are hoping as they get older to move more of those experiences into kid-free vacations (though probably with way earlier nights and less booze than pre-kids!!!)

    • Lisa
      20th September 2016 / 1:47 pm

      Ha ha yes I don’t drink or stay up as late as what I used to before kids Keri! I think this sounds like a great plan:)

  45. Mark
    10th April 2016 / 3:00 pm

    Very good post:-) Best regards!

  46. 1st April 2016 / 8:41 pm

    Fab post! Although it’s giving me itchy feet! We had a mini-moon and a baby-moon but never got round to a honeymoon, I’m thinking it’s almost time! I always say to friends thinking of trying for a baby to do any must-do travels first, or while you’re trying. Our last trip pre-babies was backpacking around Malawi and Mozambique, definitely not a trip I would be able to do again any time soon!

    • Lisa
      20th September 2016 / 1:48 pm

      Oh wow your backpacking adventure sounds amazing Nicole! Yes this would certainly be different with a baby strapped to your front:)

  47. 9th February 2016 / 4:59 pm

    Not by design, but our kids arrived relatively late (I was 37 when our first was born) so we fitted in a lot of travelling beforehand. There is so much we enjoyed that we just couldn’t do with three kids now (or, at least, not for a few more years and at considerable expense). Cramming in lots of city breaks where we saved money by staying in cheap hotels and then legged it around doing everything we possibly could in 4 days. Driving around California and the south-west of the US for three weeks making up our itinerary as we went along and not having to worry about booking a family room. Bungee-jumping and tramping up an active volcano in New Zealand.

    I loved those holidays.

    Having said that, I love the relaxing, easy-paced European holidays we currently do with friends every summer and our half-term getaways to Butlins. But I do miss those days! #sundaystars

    • Lisa
      10th February 2016 / 4:56 pm

      Your holidays before kids sound amazing Tim:) I particularly like the sound of the road trip in California and bungee jumping in New Zealand… hiking up a volcano does not appeal to me so much! I would not call our family holidays ‘relaxing and easy paced’ just yet, with two under the age of five we have a while to go before holidays are relaxing! Thanks for stopping by:)

  48. 8th February 2016 / 2:30 pm

    You have had some absolutely wonderful experiences and you clearly feel about travel the same way we do. Travel is different after kids but doesn’t have to be boring! Thanks for linking up to #sundaystars

    • Lisa
      10th February 2016 / 4:59 pm

      Yes it is definitely different but travelling with kids could never be described as boring! Thanks for stopping by Karen:)

  49. 28th November 2015 / 9:58 am

    Fab post!! I do wish I’d gone on a few more holiday adventures before having children. I actually got offered a job working in a nursery on a Butlins resort, I was super excited about living and working on a holiday resort with new people… but I turned it down as I met my then partner and wanted to stay with him. I do wonder ‘what if’ a lot, but I wouldn’t have my 11 year old if I’d have gone ;)

  50. 28th November 2015 / 12:11 am

    I do wish I had experienced working abroad. I hope to volunteer abroad one day when all the kids have flown the nest. Great post x

  51. 26th November 2015 / 9:23 pm

    I had my son quite young, so missed out on working abroad. I wouldn’t change it, but I would like some of these experiences in my life. When I married later in life, I made sure I got a few of these in before having more kids. It was a better way of approaching it I think

  52. 26th November 2015 / 8:32 pm

    Great post – pre-children I holidayed with my school a couple of times, and had a girls holiday abroad when I was 18 – I will never forget that one!! Kaz x

  53. 26th November 2015 / 2:25 pm

    I didn’t manage to do any travelling before I had my kids but I definitely intend to have some jolly good adventures when they have all left home ;)

  54. 26th November 2015 / 8:16 am

    Sadly I never did the travelling thing before I had children, so we plan on doing it when they leave home

    • Lisa
      26th November 2015 / 12:31 pm

      Sounds like a great plan Kara:) I have friends who took lots of family holidays when their kids were growing up but are now extensively travelling as their children have started university.

  55. 26th November 2015 / 7:37 am

    This is a great post and definitely a reminder that doing things and being outgoing before building a family is important! I’m definitely jealous of your houseboat though, that’s for sure.

    thanks for sharing!

    • Lisa
      26th November 2015 / 12:25 pm

      Yes living onboard was fun Cassie. Certainly not something I would consider now with two little ones and all of their toys and belongings!

  56. 25th November 2015 / 10:29 pm

    I totally agree that you should live and work abroad before settling down. It’s advice I’m giving to my 18 year old niece at the moment. “Take a Gap Year at the very least”.

    I did much the same as you. I did Camp America and caught the travel bug which resulted in a couple of seasons as a holiday rep, backpacking Australia and Thailand, volunteering with lions in South Africa, a couple of years on the cruise ships (Disney Cruise Line) and finally a year working for Disney in Orlando. I am so glad I did all this before I settled down.

    • Lisa
      26th November 2015 / 12:28 pm

      I look forward to meeting you Tori at a future blog event. I think we may have several friends in common as I have friends who worked onboard Disney Cruises. Volunteering with lions sounds incredible, what an experience that must have been!

  57. 25th November 2015 / 8:06 pm

    I dont have kids and feel I should travel more than I do, I have so many places that I want to visit, especially Iceland x

    • Lisa
      25th November 2015 / 9:48 pm

      Get your flights booked to Iceland Rachel! Although travelling with children is fun it is a completely different experience. Iceland is fabulous, I have been fortunate to visit Reykjavik and Akureyri and I can recommend both.

  58. 3rd November 2015 / 10:15 am

    To me one of the few thongs I miss is being able to travel without plans.
    I backpacked quite a bit and left Australia most times with just a vague idea of where I was going, staying and seeing.

    Now it feels like a military operation.

    • Lisa
      3rd November 2015 / 10:06 pm

      I agree Sally. Spontaneous travel and young kids do not mix well! I hope we can be more adventurous again when our boys are older but for now we book all of our travel plans in advance so that we can be assured that they will have a bed to sleep in, unlike our experience in Key West!

  59. Pingback: Monday Escapes #21
  60. 26th October 2015 / 2:00 pm

    Oh love this post Lisa. Firstly, so nice to get to know you a bit better through all your travel experiences. And I couldn’t agree more with you that going on the first holiday is certainly a good test to your compatibility as a couple! Your honeymoon looks fab – we love Vegas but have never been to Hawaii -that’s on the list! We were lucky enough to go last year for a 5 days when mum offered to look after Monkey – child-free trips are good to go on now and then.

    • Lisa
      26th October 2015 / 5:57 pm

      Thanks for your lovely comment Ting. Child-free holidays are definitely good for a relationship every now and then! We try and go away at least a couple of times a year (although we do seem to spend the majority of our time talking about our boys and pointing out the places they would enjoy!)

  61. 19th October 2015 / 2:15 pm

    My girls are so young at the moment that I think it’s going to be a long time before we do any of the more adventurous holidays that we did before they came along. But I’d like to think we can do some variations on them before we get too old :) we also went to Vegas for part of our honeymoon – good times! #mondayescapes

    • Lisa
      19th October 2015 / 5:08 pm

      Yes I think that is key Claire…being prepared to be flexible whilst they are young :) Maybe ‘unmissable holidays before you are too old’ should be the next article in my series?!
      Yeah to Vegas! My only regret is not trying white water rafting through the Grand Canyon, this is one I will definitely have to leave until my boys have grown up a little!

  62. 19th October 2015 / 11:41 am

    Interesting reading Lisa. Do you think you really wouldn’t be able to repeat at least some of those travel of yours with your kids? Some of the things you’ve mentioned seems like are also doable with kids. But, I don’t have kids, so I clearly have no idea of how different is travelling with kids comparing to traveling with your partner/husband. :)

    • Lisa
      19th October 2015 / 12:18 pm

      Thanks for stopping by Urska:) Some of these holidays are certainly ‘doable’ as you suggest although quite frankly the holidays would be a completely different experience with children. For example, I definitely would not take my two boys on a sailing holiday at the moment as at 4 and 1 years of age I would not be able to relax and enjoy it without worrying about them going overboard! City breaks are certainly a possibility and as I stated above, we have enjoyed lots of city holidays with my eldest but when touring around cultural sights or when wanting to fully enjoy the nightlife it is much easier without kids:) Working abroad is much more difficult with kids but certainly not an impossibility, their needs just need to come first. The next post in this series highlights the holidays we have enjoyed as a family -https://www.travellovingfamily.com/adventures-abroad/unmissable-holidays-when-you-have-children

  63. 19th October 2015 / 11:31 am

    We have done pretty much everything on here- before and after kids! Each have their kid-free merit but equally we have tackled them head first with children too – which significantly changes the perspective!! Now our youngest is no longer breastfeeding we are trying to build in a good balance of kid-free breaks as well as our longer family holidays, everything in balance including your down time #MindayEscapes

    • Lisa
      19th October 2015 / 12:24 pm

      Hats off to you Keri! Yes it does definitely change the perspective! I certainly would not tackle working on cruise ships, living on a narrow boat or sailing with young child to worry about :) We have throughly enjoyed some fabulous holidays with our boys but our family holidays center around their needs, which will change I’m sure as they get older and are able to join in activities such as skiing and sailing. Thanks for stopping by:)

  64. 19th October 2015 / 9:46 am

    This brings back a few memories – I totally agree that you can do a lot more when travelling with kids than people sometimes think but there’s no question it’s different! I’m off shortly on my second child free trip after having my daughter and it’s like re educating myself about what I can do :) #mondayescapes

    • Lisa
      19th October 2015 / 10:16 am

      Enjoy your child free trip Cathy! If you are like me, you will spend most of your time talking about your child and checking out places she would have loved!! Thanks for stopping by :)

      • 19th September 2016 / 9:01 pm

        Loved rereading this – and you’re absolutely right about me on child-friendly trips too. Looking forward to more #mondayescapes

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