Following a previous post where I wrote about the 15 countries our first son Ilyas had been to before 1.5 years of age, below is the map of the 30 countries he has now visited at the age of 3 years and 4 months.
List of continents and countries:
Europe: Switzerland, Germany, France, UK, Netherlands, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Czech Republic, Monaco, Liechtenstein, Estonia, Russia, Finland, Austria
North America: US, Canada, Mexico, Panama
South America: Colombia
Asia: Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Brunei
Africa: Morocco, Mauritius, Seychelles
Australasia: New Zealand
His second brother Noah has just visited his 22nd country across 5 continents before turning 2 while third brother Kion is on track to visit his 10th country across 4 continents by the end of the year at the age of 8 months.
How did we achieve this?
1) Let traveling be the priority
As parents we can choose what we want our children to be exposed to and in my case, I wanted to pass on my love for traveling to them from the day they were born.
Traveling can be very expensive (especially now with 3 kids!). It is however one of the best ways to create memorable experiences together as a family in exotic foreign settings.
2) Being naturally curious about new places
We make it a point to visit as many new places/countries as possible (it gets more difficult now as I have been to 108 of them) but we do return to places we love a lot too. Ilyas has been to London 8 times (and once to Scotland) and will be visiting Malaysia for the third time this December.
3) Research, research, research
You have to know (or figure out) what works for your family. Are you explorers? Do you like to just laze by the beach for a whole week? Do you fancy road trips? What kind of accommodations are best? What is your budget? With such questions answered, you can narrow down the perfect destination for your holiday.
4) Plan ahead, book early
Planning ahead and being able to book (especially) flights early can potentially save you a lot of money. An example I can give would be our upcoming flights to Malaysia this December with Singapore Airlines. We paid 660 USD per person for them; they now cost more than 1500 USD per person. That’s a lot of savings when you multiply the difference by 4.
I am aware that I am very much a planner. I always have an idea of all our holiday plans more than a year in advance. When it is possible to buy the flights, I am always ready.
5) Choose to be frequent travelers
There was a time since we’ve had kids when we were flying somewhere every 6 weeks on weekend trips. We were both working full time. Flying out on a Friday night and back home on Sunday night and going straight back to work on a Monday morning is not something everyone can or wants to do. However that is how we’ve managed to travel so much.
What is next?
We always spend the summer exploring Switzerland. We will spend a week in Cyprus (Ilyas’ country number 31) in September and will be in Malaysia in December over Christmas and New Years.
I hope this has inspired some of you to start booking your next holidays!
Below are some of my favourite pictures of Ilyas around the world…