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4 in 5 parents say domestic holidays are better for kids’ wellbeing – but 9 in 10 still take kids on international trips

October 13, 2017 OTA News No Comments Email Email

A new survey of more than 1000 parents has revealed that Australian children are seeing the world more than ever, despite the challenges for parents that comes with travelling with children. Even with two thirds of parents admitting that kids don’t fare well when travelling internationally, 9 in 10 would still take them on international trips.

The findings come from a survey of a nationally representative, independent panel of 1,076 Australian parents commissioned, the world’s leading hotel price comparison platform.

How often are children travelling with their parents internationally – and at what age?

Of the parents surveyed, 47 per cent have travelled internationally with their kids, and 35 per cent have taken their kids on at least three international trips. One in 4 (26%) took their kids on their first international holiday when they were aged 4 or younger, and one third (36%) are fine to take under-2s on international trips. Nearly 1 in 2 parents (44% of respondents) are waiting until their child is aged between five and 12 before taking them on their first international trip.

The impact of international travel on children

The survey sought to gauge whether there were any negative aspects of travelling internationally with children. Among families that have taken international trips, 20 per cent of parents admitted their child remembers hardly any of the holiday, and 39 per cent say their children can only remember parts of the holiday. Only 17 per cent of parents say their children under four years can remember the entire trip.

For 48 per cent of parents, their kids were sick, with the causes ranging from non-food-related viruses (16% of respondents), water- or food-related viruses, gastro or poisoning (13% of respondents), exhaustion, lack of sleep or jet lag (11%), eating foods they are not used to eating at home (4%), an insect bite (2%) and overeating (2%).

Additionally, 61 per cent of parents have experienced challenges when travelling with kids internationally. Surviving the international flight was the biggest challenge kids encountered (chosen by 46% of respondents), followed by keeping up with the demands and pace of travel (11%), sleeping in new places (10%), encountering new foods (10%), behaving in venues that are geared towards adults (7%), encountering new cultures (6%), staying up late when out with adults (5%), encountering crowds (4%) and encountering new people (2%).

The verdict: domestic or international travel?

It may come as no surprise, then, that 82 per cent of parents admitted that domestic holidays are better suited for a child’s wellbeing. Even so, an overwhelming 90 per cent of parents admitted they would take their child overseas again. This is primarily due to the parent wanting to travel (47% of respondents), but interestingly, 29 per cent said their primary reason was because travel is a good experience for their child. More than 1 in 2 (57%) intend to take holidays with their kids in the next 12 months.

Lynette Bolton, mother of Siarra (5) and Piper (3), and who is married to Sydney Swans Hall of Fame inductee Jude Bolton, says that being prepared for challenges children may face when travelling is particularly important when travelling internationally: “We recently took our first international holiday as a family to Fiji which was very exciting for our girls, but we were cautious of how travelling overseas may upset their stomachs or lead to them becoming sick while away. I made sure we drank bottled water and avoided ice in drinks as much as possible to minimise the risk.”

Lynette’s top 5 food tips for a sickness-free holiday with children

  1. Don’t drink tap water in developing countries. Avoid drinking the local water as much as possible and buy bottled water instead. You can always boil tap water in the room and let it cool, to use for brushing teeth.
  2. Be careful of iced drinks. Ice is usually made from the local tap water. Ask for drinks without ice or ask whether they have other options that are pre-chilled. This will minimise any upset stomachs or ‘Bali belly’ symptoms.
  3. Carry hand sanitiser. Kids are always touching things and love to touch animals. It’s important to carry a travel-sized hand sanitiser with you at all times.
  4. Make sure meat is cooked through. Be mindful that you’re eating properly cooked chicken and ask for your red meat to be cooked medium or medium-to-well, to ensure you have the best chance of staying well while away.
  5. Eating at resorts and restaurants. Street food can be very appealing and is a part of a complete local experience for many travellers but when you’re travelling with kids, it’s best to opt for a meal at resorts or sit-down restaurants. Most restaurants need to comply with hygiene standards, which will help little tummies when trying unfamiliar cuisines.

Top 5 international accommodation for parents and kids to enjoy in October available through 

  1. Jumeirah Beach Hotel (Dubai, UAE), from $649 per night. Jumeirah Beach Hotel is a 5-star hotel that caters for children. Located next door to Wild Wadi Water Park, the kids can wander in through the hotel while you relax. The hotel also has a dedicated kids’ area with both activities for younger children and videogames.
  2. Atlantis The Palm (Dubai, UAE), from $592 per night. Atlantis The Palm is an award-winning hotel located on the crescent of Dubai’s Palm Island. The hotel is home to the Aquaventure Waterpark and features water slides, a shark safari and a chance to swim with the dolphins at Dolphin Bay.
  3. JW Marriot Phuket Resort and Spa (Phuket, Thailand), from $263 per night. JW Marriot Resort and Spa features water slides, outdoor tennis courts and a variety of outdoor activities. Each room is air conditioned and includes Wi-Fi and either a private terrace or balcony.
  4. Hotel Legoland (Billund, Denmark), from $558 per night. Hotel Legoland is a unique Lego themed hotel that your kids will love, located within walking distance of Legoland. As well as a fitness centre and swimming pool, there is a playground for the kids.
  5. Aulani Disney Resort and Spa in Ko Olina (Oahu, Hawaii), from $726 per night. The kids will enjoy the hotel’s waterslides, kids club and jacuzzi. The hotel also features an infinity pool, private beach and free wireless internet.

(The above rates are estimates only taken from HotelsCombined as shown on the 15th of September, for a double room for October 2017 travel)

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