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7 Trips to Take Before You Have Kids

7 Trips to Take Before You have Kids

I’m a huge advocate for traveling with kids, obviously. I’ve taken my toddler to more than a handful of countries already. There are some trips to take before you have kids though. Get out there and get these ones in before you plan a family because they become increasingly difficult to accomplish with a baby in tow. These seven places are where you’ll want to be on your own schedule to get adventurous, sample the wines, and explore the wild side.

7 Trips to Take Before You Have Kids

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

With more than 400 wineries, days in Nape Valley are filled with sampling the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Merlot, which doesn’t exactly scream child-friendly. You can bike through vineyards on bike tours or use your own two feet to walk around downtown Napa. They even offer a wine tasting card that gets you samples at 12 tasting rooms. Either way, you’ll be pretty liquored up by the end of the day.

New Zealand

Kawarau Bridge

The spectacular natural wonders and extreme adventures of New Zealand should be at the top of your bucket list before having children. This expensive trip is also one heck of a long flight and filled with activities totally unfriendly for kids. Travel to Auckland to the Sky Tower to see a view 610 feet high from a 360 degree angle or sail or hike at the Bay of Islands. Bunjee jump off the Kawarau Bridge, skydive, or experience white water rafting over grade five rapids. Doesn’t exactly sound like a walk in the park for children, does it?

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Cory Stumpf - Machu PicchuOn the 26-mile trail to Machu Picchu, you’ll pass five lesser-recognized Incan towns that were once thriving. You can expect to walk 6 to 9 hours per day and stay at campsites along the way. The Inca Trail is considered a moderate hike. It’s not a technical hike, but there are a lot of Inca staircases to walk up and down, and the altitude may affect some individuals. The train is an option, but if you’re going to travel all that way, you might as well do it right.

Carnival Rio de Janeiro

Carnival-Festival-Brazil
Every year, millions of people turn up for the biggest party on Earth, Carnival. From the sexy beaches to the nightlife, this is an experience you’ll want to do without bedtimes and inquisitive minds. Held every year during the week leading up to Lent, Rio Carnival attracts visitors from all corners the globe. Samba music can be heard coming from neighborhoods throughout the city and crowds gather to dance and play all day, night and straight into the next morning.

Rio de Janeiro is a great place for families, but Carnival is something to experience without the kids.

Sail to Antarctica on Tall Ship Bark Europa

Ice in Neko Harbour, Antarctica

Sailing as part of the training crew on Bark Europa will be the greatest travel adventure of your life. For 22 days, you’ll sail on a tall ship to the most remote place on the plant. Once in Antarctica, you’ll see thousands of penguins and dolphins. Whales grace you with their presence on a daily basis and a polar dip in thermal currents at Pendulum Cove is just another average adventure. You can climb an active volcano and sled down a glacier, but you’ll need to do it all without younger family members. Sailing the Drake Passage, being part of the training crew, and sailing for 22 days might be a little much for little ones.

Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

Gorilla Trekking in Uganda Gorilla trekking in Uganda is a unique adventure. An Africa Adventure Safaris 5-day, Uganda itinerary includes gorillas, chimps, hippos, crocodiles, elephants, buffalo, and tree climbing lions, none of which sound like a great playground for children. With an age limit of 15, you’ll be waiting a long time for this one if you want to bring your kids.

Climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania

Kilimanjaro

Soaring above the rippling tea plantations and low hills of northeastern Tanzania, Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest peak. Hiking for more than a week through the spectacular landscapes of five temperate zones could be a challenge with a baby strapped to your back. On this once-in-a-lifetime trek, you’ll take in extraordinary views extending hundreds of miles, and experience the sunrise from the roof of Africa. Although the official lower age limit set by the Kilimanjaro National Park Authority for trekking to Uhuru Peak is 10 years old, tour companies usually recommend a minimum age of 13 years, which is, yet again, a long wait if you have a newborn or toddler.

Alternative Thinking to Trips to Take Before You have Kids

I didn’t experience any of these trips before starting a family. Does that mean I can’t do all of them? Heck no! In January, I sailed to Antarctica with Bark Europa. It was the most difficult and most rewarding travel adventure of my life. 24 days away from Athena was a major challenge but she was happily spending time with her dad as well as her grandmother and grandfather while I was away. It was a learning adventure for the entire family.

In May, I will go gorilla trekking in Uganda with Africa Adventure Safaris and I plan to complete the other experiences before Athena leaves the nest.

We are only restricted by our imagination. Your travel life doesn’t end because you start a family. A new adventure is just beginning. Have you done any of these trips with kids? Thoughts?

Do you think there are trips to take before you have kids or there are no restrictions?

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44 thoughts on “7 Trips to Take Before You Have Kids

  1. Katie @ Second-Hand Hedgehog says:

    Such a great post. I don’t have any family plans at the moment, but it’s always good to do these things sooner rather than later, because you never know what might be on the horizon. A number of them are already on my bucket list, but a couple of new ideas too, which is always nice. Antarctica has been the top item on my bucket list for ages, but I’d never heard about the Bark Europe – sounds like an amazing way to experience Antarctica. Which trip did you do? I’ve been looking at their Cape to Cape trip and getting a severe case of wanderlust. It seems so incredibly cheap as well – I guess because you’re helping to sail the ship? Definitely making it the main focus of my Antarctica plans. Thanks! 🙂

    1. Lesley says:

      Sailing on Bark Europa to Antarctica was unquestionably the best travel adventure of my life. Here’s the trip I did – https://www.barkeuropa.com/voyages/22-day-antarctica-expedition3

      Although you are helping to sail the ship, I think that should make it more expensive. It makes you actively involved in the experience, which is what you want when traveling to such a remote destination.

      If you have any questions, please let me know here or by email. I’m more than happy to share.

      Happy travels,

      Lesley

  2. Katie @ Second-Hand Hedgehog says:

    Such a great post. I don’t have any family plans at the moment, but it’s always good to do these things sooner rather than later, because you never know what might be on the horizon. A number of them are already on my bucket list, but a couple of new ideas too, which is always nice. Antarctica has been the top item on my bucket list for ages, but I’d never heard about the Bark Europe – sounds like an amazing way to experience Antarctica. Which trip did you do? I’ve been looking at their Cape to Cape trip and getting a severe case of wanderlust. It seems so incredibly cheap as well – I guess because you’re helping to sail the ship? Definitely making it the main focus of my Antarctica plans. Thanks! 🙂

    1. Lesley says:

      Sailing on Bark Europa to Antarctica was unquestionably the best travel adventure of my life. Here’s the trip I did – https://www.barkeuropa.com/voyages/22-day-antarctica-expedition3

      Although you are helping to sail the ship, I think that should make it more expensive. It makes you actively involved in the experience, which is what you want when traveling to such a remote destination.

      If you have any questions, please let me know here or by email. I’m more than happy to share.

      Happy travels,

      Lesley

  3. Brittany says:

    I personally think these are doable with children. Everywhere I go, I always see children with their parents…….international travel is no exception. Of course the expense is increased, but at least your are sharing these experiences with your children and educating them about life.

    1. Lesley says:

      Hi Brittany,

      I love to travel internationally with my toddler daughter; we just returned from a 10 day trip to Mauritius and a 10 day trip to Germany just before that, but some trips, like the Antarctica and Uganda trips mentioned, don’t allow children. Most people would have a difficult time finding someone to take care of their child for almost a month while they sailed to Antarctica. I was lucky enough to have a mother-in-law willing and able to do it and a supportive husband that stayed at home while I was away. That doesn’t even take into account how difficult it was being away from her for 24 days. It was the best travel experience of my life and I think it should be on everyone’s list. It just might be more manageable before children arrive.

      Do you have kids?

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. I look forward to chatting soon,

      Lesley

  4. Brittany says:

    I personally think these are doable with children. Everywhere I go, I always see children with their parents…….international travel is no exception. Of course the expense is increased, but at least your are sharing these experiences with your children and educating them about life.

    1. Lesley says:

      Hi Brittany,

      I love to travel internationally with my toddler daughter; we just returned from a 10 day trip to Mauritius and a 10 day trip to Germany just before that, but some trips, like the Antarctica and Uganda trips mentioned, don’t allow children. Most people would have a difficult time finding someone to take care of their child for almost a month while they sailed to Antarctica. I was lucky enough to have a mother-in-law willing and able to do it and a supportive husband that stayed at home while I was away. That doesn’t even take into account how difficult it was being away from her for 24 days. It was the best travel experience of my life and I think it should be on everyone’s list. It just might be more manageable before children arrive.

      Do you have kids?

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. I look forward to chatting soon,

      Lesley

  5. Whilst the particular activities you mentioned in New Zealand are not for kids, there is so much more to this beautiful country than the adrenaline activities of sky diving, bungee jumping and white water rafting, and it is definitely a country that has plenty to offer for children. This country is all about the outdoors which is the perfect playground to nurture children’s curiosity and love for exploring.

    1. Lesley says:

      I couldn’t agree more, Fiona! I would love to take my family to New Zealand. It is one of the most beautiful places in the world with so much to offer. One of the amazing things about New Zealand, though, is that it’s an adventure seeker’s paradise that should be explored at least once in your life without children in tow.

  6. Whilst the particular activities you mentioned in New Zealand are not for kids, there is so much more to this beautiful country than the adrenaline activities of sky diving, bungee jumping and white water rafting, and it is definitely a country that has plenty to offer for children. This country is all about the outdoors which is the perfect playground to nurture children’s curiosity and love for exploring.

    1. Lesley says:

      I couldn’t agree more, Fiona! I would love to take my family to New Zealand. It is one of the most beautiful places in the world with so much to offer. One of the amazing things about New Zealand, though, is that it’s an adventure seeker’s paradise that should be explored at least once in your life without children in tow.

  7. Indeed there’s a certain age where traveling to specific places are a bit off-limit to kids. But, the rest of the world is out there for them to play! Great article.

    1. Lesley says:

      I agree, João. I love taking my daughter with me as we explore the world together. It is such an amazing experience to see a new place through my eyes and then through her eyes as well. I learn and experience so much more with her at my side.

  8. Indeed there’s a certain age where traveling to specific places are a bit off-limit to kids. But, the rest of the world is out there for them to play! Great article.

    1. Lesley says:

      I agree, João. I love taking my daughter with me as we explore the world together. It is such an amazing experience to see a new place through my eyes and then through her eyes as well. I learn and experience so much more with her at my side.

  9. Will says:

    Good tips…poor kids always get a bad wrap(im not a parent)

    1. Lesley says:

      I don’t think so, Will. I love taking my daughter with me as we explore the world together. It is such an amazing experience to see a new place through my eyes and then through her eyes as well. I learn and experience so much more with her at my side. There are just some things I think adults should experience at least once in their life and they are difficult with children.

      Would you like to have children in the future? (Great answer either way. Just curious.)

  10. Will says:

    Good tips…poor kids always get a bad wrap(im not a parent)

    1. Lesley says:

      I don’t think so, Will. I love taking my daughter with me as we explore the world together. It is such an amazing experience to see a new place through my eyes and then through her eyes as well. I learn and experience so much more with her at my side. There are just some things I think adults should experience at least once in their life and they are difficult with children.

      Would you like to have children in the future? (Great answer either way. Just curious.)

  11. Yes, some places really limit you in bringing kids but this should not stop parents to also bring their kids. If they did, kudos to them!

    1. Lesley says:

      During the gorilla trekking in Uganda last month, I asked if there was a way for children to join their parents on the trip and the guide explained that kids do join their parents. One parent treks and the other stays with the children. The next day they switch.

      Sailing on Bark Europa to Antarctica doesn’t allow children, but I did it in January and my daughter stayed at home with her dad and grandparents.

      Anything is possible if you’re creative with planning. 🙂

  12. Yes, some places really limit you in bringing kids but this should not stop parents to also bring their kids. If they did, kudos to them!

    1. Lesley says:

      During the gorilla trekking in Uganda last month, I asked if there was a way for children to join their parents on the trip and the guide explained that kids do join their parents. One parent treks and the other stays with the children. The next day they switch.

      Sailing on Bark Europa to Antarctica doesn’t allow children, but I did it in January and my daughter stayed at home with her dad and grandparents.

      Anything is possible if you’re creative with planning. 🙂

  13. Jennifer says:

    You’ve had some amazing adventures for sure. I especially look forward to being able to trek with gorillas.

    1. Lesley says:

      It was top three for sure. All of my experiences in Uganda were out of this world. I’d love to go back with my family so they could experience it too. Have you been to Africa?

  14. Jennifer says:

    You’ve had some amazing adventures for sure. I especially look forward to being able to trek with gorillas.

    1. Lesley says:

      It was top three for sure. All of my experiences in Uganda were out of this world. I’d love to go back with my family so they could experience it too. Have you been to Africa?

  15. Laura Lynch says:

    These 7 trips are awesome trips to take in your lifetime, let alone before kids! What a great adventure it would be to get to all of these incredibly places before you start a family. I hope to get to all of them someday.

  16. Laura Lynch says:

    These 7 trips are awesome trips to take in your lifetime, let alone before kids! What a great adventure it would be to get to all of these incredibly places before you start a family. I hope to get to all of them someday.

  17. Oh, what great places on your list! Have only been to Napa with a very good friend. My children were adults by that trip, but she left kids with hubby! I look forward to possibly revisiting with my children, now that they are both adults. Livermore Valley, nearby, is also worth a trip as well, if you haven’t already been. My daughter and I have been talking about Australia and New Zealand since she was in middle school. I definitely will be visiting both with her in the future! My husband just brought up Anarctica when we were in Rome for our 30th wedding anniversary trip. We always plan where we will celebrate for the next 5-year milestone! It’s still a possibility, though I think we’re leaning towards an Alaskan cruise! (We’ve never been on a cruise!) I definitely think it’s great to travel with children, but agree that there are some places that are best visited as adults or at least teenagers!

  18. Oh, what great places on your list! Have only been to Napa with a very good friend. My children were adults by that trip, but she left kids with hubby! I look forward to possibly revisiting with my children, now that they are both adults. Livermore Valley, nearby, is also worth a trip as well, if you haven’t already been. My daughter and I have been talking about Australia and New Zealand since she was in middle school. I definitely will be visiting both with her in the future! My husband just brought up Anarctica when we were in Rome for our 30th wedding anniversary trip. We always plan where we will celebrate for the next 5-year milestone! It’s still a possibility, though I think we’re leaning towards an Alaskan cruise! (We’ve never been on a cruise!) I definitely think it’s great to travel with children, but agree that there are some places that are best visited as adults or at least teenagers!

  19. Orana says:

    I agree on most accounts, unless your kids are into trekking. A good kiddo walker can do the Inca Trail and a strong parent can carry a toddler in a backpack…as long as they have acclimatized to the altitude first of course.

  20. Orana says:

    I agree on most accounts, unless your kids are into trekking. A good kiddo walker can do the Inca Trail and a strong parent can carry a toddler in a backpack…as long as they have acclimatized to the altitude first of course.

  21. Sue Reddel says:

    What a terrific must-do list of trips to take whether you’re planning on having kids or not. I’ve done several of them and now have a few more to add to my must-visit list. Thanks!

    1. Lesley says:

      Which ones are still on your list? 🙂

  22. Sue Reddel says:

    What a terrific must-do list of trips to take whether you’re planning on having kids or not. I’ve done several of them and now have a few more to add to my must-visit list. Thanks!

    1. Lesley says:

      Which ones are still on your list? 🙂

  23. Vanessa says:

    You chose some spectacular photos for this!

    Ryan wants to do both Tanzania and Antarctica quite badly. I may let him do the latter on his own though owing to my incompatibility with boats! While not a parent, I can imagine that traveling without kids in tow every once and awhile is healthy and a good way to recharge for mom & dad as well!

  24. Vanessa says:

    You chose some spectacular photos for this!

    Ryan wants to do both Tanzania and Antarctica quite badly. I may let him do the latter on his own though owing to my incompatibility with boats! While not a parent, I can imagine that traveling without kids in tow every once and awhile is healthy and a good way to recharge for mom & dad as well!

  25. i definitely wish i had done Macchu Pichu and Carnival Pre-Kids … but i guess the little guys are worth it (and give me more of an excuse to go to relaxing beaches and build sandcastiles!)

  26. i definitely wish i had done Macchu Pichu and Carnival Pre-Kids … but i guess the little guys are worth it (and give me more of an excuse to go to relaxing beaches and build sandcastiles!)

  27. I think these are great trips to take with or without kids! The trip to Antarctica is the one that catches my eye the most. I’ve always dreamed of seeing penguins there!

  28. I think these are great trips to take with or without kids! The trip to Antarctica is the one that catches my eye the most. I’ve always dreamed of seeing penguins there!

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