Continuing our family travel blogger series, today we are wandering with the Warburton Family! The Warburtons are a family of five from the UK currently living in the Netherlands. Exploring the world as a family is extremely important to Andy and Steph and they hope that exposing their children to a variety of cultures early on will help their children grow up to be adventurous, accepting and open minded.
There interview is FULL of great information and travel tips! Enjoy!
Why is travel so important to you and your family?
As the famous quote goes, "travel opens the heart and broadens the mind". We really believe in this. We want our children to grow up to be adventurous, accepting and open minded and we think exposing them to a variety of cultures early on will help with this.
Do you remember when you became enamored with travel?
We both grew up in a small town, surrounded by the same people day in and day out and wanted to escape. After we got married we decided to make that a reality! So we worked our butts off, moving back in with parents, saving relentlessly and even working extra jobs to get enough cash together to travel the world.
What would you say is your philosophy on travel or life in general?
We like to travel light and live like locals. We usually only take a single suitcase for our family of five and try to stay out of the tourist heavy areas, living in local apartments, shopping at local markets and eating local food.
What is your all-time bucket list family adventure and why?
We have SO many! Including Tokyo and an African Safari, but our current top dream is to hire a camper-van and spend a few months exploring New Zealand. It just has so much amazing scenery!
What is your advice to families just starting to travel with little ones?
Go slow. Traveling with kids is super stressful sometimes. You can't travel like people without kids because the little ones don't have the stamina. Overworking them can result in meltdowns so just pick one or two things close together that you really want to see, do them early (while it's quiet) and then spend the rest of the day taking it easy and relaxing.
If you have one, could you tell us about a particularly epic travel fail and the lesson learned?
Remember that trip we talked about before? The one where we saved up for a whole year? Well Steph wound up getting pregnant in the first month of that trip and unfortunately, had some serious complications that meant we had to deal with a lengthy hospital stay in Australia and head home about six months ahead of schedule. Everything worked out well and we ended up with a happy healthy baby boy so it wasn't all bad!
What purchase of less than $100 has most positively impacted your life as a traveler in recent memory?
We recently purchased a Fjällräven Kånken backpack to use as our day bag and it works great. It's big enough to carry a full spectrum of gear that you need when traveling with kids but small enough that our eldest can carry it comfortably when our hands are full of other things. It's simple and strong and absolutely gets the job done.
What can parents do to make family trips more enjoyable and less stressful?
Make sure there are plenty of "hands on" options, rather than just trudging around museums and landmarks. Our kids absolutely loved making their own Pizza in a real wood oven when we visited Naples. When we're traveling, we make sure to have plenty of distractions such as coloring pages and workbooks to keep them calm during long journeys.
Do you have any interesting or unique ways in which you document your travels, during or after the trip?
Last year, we documented every single day of our year using the 1 Second Everyday app. You can add a clip for each day for a maximum of one second long so you end up with a super rapid-fire overview of the year. Super fun! We often use the same app now to make mini videos after vacations because "proper" video editing is super time consuming.
What is your all-time favorite souvenir or item brought back from your adventures? Do you have a family policy on the stuff you can or can’t bring home?
We like to live a relatively minimalistic lifestyle and don't like to accumulate cheap rubbish. We love printing and framing our favorite memories and have a whole wall covered in dozens of framed photos of our family travels. We occasionally pick up small souvenirs but they generally need to be something that we haven't seen mass produced in all the tourist shops and are hand-made by local artists.
How do you choose your destinations and how far out do you plan?
We're open to anything and everything. We subscribe to this awesome mailing list called Scotts Cheap Flights. The guy scans airlines for pricing errors and then emails his members to let them know so we're able to bag flights at massive discounts. We often make a decision within minutes of seeing something interesting in one of his emails and just go for it!
How do you make a trip special and memorable?
We like to visit the sights outside of the typical hours, during our recent trip to Rome we visited the Vatican first thing in the morning before the droves of tourists arrived. We were able to walk straight in to climb the dome of St Paul's cathedral. When we came down the queue was hours long and people were being taken away by ambulance crews after passing out in the midday heat.