family travel


A few days before we leave home, and all the possessions we gathered in 12 years and more, and things suddenly change proportions. Without doing a thing, before we even started sorting and packing, the way I look at, for example, the huge toy collection, is characterized mainly by calmness. I sit here in front of the toy cabinet, under me a box of costumes, and in my head the questions: ‘do they really need this? Can they make-do without it? Is there a replacement for all these things?’

And I surprise myself. I, right now, don’t understand why I was so afraid. They really don’t need all those toys. It’s just that simple. I see things clearer every second, the fears evaporate, and I continue asking myself as I look at item after item, that there’s no real need for it. I thought it would be hard to decide what to take and what to leave behind. But now it turns out I struggle to find a single thing I think worth taking.

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Before I entered the play room I asked my older daughter what does she want to take with her. And she didn’t even understand the question, as far as she was concerned, nothing was needed. She didn’t think we’d take anything with us and so didn’t bother herself with that question. She gave up everything long ago. The process, as I imagined it, suddenly reversed itself. Instead of making painful concessions, I sit with her in the room, trying to explain to her why perhaps it will be better to take something.

When it comes to furniture and electronics things are pretty similar, though admittedly, there are some things that are difficult for me to give up. Things that were very expensive, that are now being given to families in need. I mean, I don’t have much money myself, and I admit I would rather sell those items, but what I will get for them is so miniscule, that I rather just give them to those that need the, rather than make another 500$.
The most valuable things we kept. Emotional value, that is.

check this program for schooling your kids on the road.


When thinking of a family beach vacation, Vietnam isn’t the first place to pop in mind.

Usually it’s closer to Thailand or Goa. But for those looking for a change, or to find a quiet, luxurious place, should definitely consider it as an option. I flew to Vietnam with my kids just to spend a few months on the beach…

Mui-Ne is a small stretch of beach five hours by bus from Ho-chi-Minh city
The bus picks you up at the hotel in Ho-Chi-Minh and drops you at your hotel in Mui-Ne.

∴ One straight road. On one side the beach and resorts built one after the other, and on the other side hotels, stores, spas, and that’s it. Mui-Ne is all about relaxing.

∴ Kite-surfing enthusiasts like the place as it has great surfing, shops for renting equipment and courses.

∴ Keep in mind that on this vacation you won’t do anything other than swim, walk on the beach, play in the sand, oh, and eating.

∴ Mui-Ne is heaven for seafood lovers. Along the street (and there’s only one street) are spread restaurants showing in their aquariums all the things you can eat. Squids, Octopus, Shrimp, Prawns, and different kinds of clams and oysters, crabs and snakes, lizards, turtles…

∴ And for fruit lovers. Pineapple, Passion Fruit, Litchi, Jack Fruit, and more .they even make fresh aloe-Vera juice and also avocado shakes.

∴ The place looks completely western. Everything is clean, pretty, and modern. Not what you’d think of Southeast Asia or Vietnam.

∴ The hotels are amazing. The service, for the most part, is amazing.

∴ You can rent bicycle or scooter to get around easier. On the other hand there are taxis and scooter-taxis flooding the area. And there’s the local bus.

Fairy Springs- a charming piece of nature in the middle of the stretch of beach. It’s a fountain of water coming from the ground. They’re warm and flaw in a shallow stream to the ocean. You walk along the stream barefoot, on the soft, soft send. A joy for the kids. Colorful dunes in the background. Along the way there’s also an ostrich farm where you can ride the birds.

∴ The night life is awesome and include lots of alcohol, clubs, and live shows.

∴ If you’re worried- there are ambulances and a high-level professional clinic.

∴ One of the big advantages of the place (the reason I chose it) is that it’s a desert area, and the humidity is very low. So even though you live right on the beach, you don’t feel it! The weather is a-m-a-z-i-n-g

∴ Staying there is Very comfortable– there’s fast WiFi almost everywhere, excellent coffee, air-con, spas…

∴ There’s one resort that offers a private mud bath. Take the kids and make them feel like Shrek 🙂. After the bath you’ll get free access to the huge swimming pool filled with mineral water and health.

∴ You can get any kind of massage there, Including hot stones and everything. And special kinds like coconut or rice milk massage or massage with aloe-vera.

∴ Every travel agency offers tours in the area.

∴ And of course to try out many different water sports. Boogie-board, wind-surfing, kite-surfing, jet-skiing.
∴ One note: Despite the touristic nature of the town, many service providers don’t speak English.

In short: prepare yourself for a high-end vacation for ridiculously low prices.

Recommended hotels in Mui-Ne and their price
Recommended hotels in Saigon and Hanoi and their price

prices for example:

  • Excellent resort with ocean view, swimming pool and a private beach (family room including breakfast) – 30$-60$ a night. There are more expensive resorts offering private bungalows and such, those can get as high as 500$ a night.
  • Cold coffee- 0.5$
  • Beer bottle- 0.5$
  • Full seafood hotpot- 5$
  • Whole peeled and sliced pineapple- 0.5$
  • Full body massage- varying prices. Depends if you go to the small spas or the big luxurious ones. Somewhere between 5$ and 25$ an hour.
  • Bicycle rent- 2$ a day. Scooter rent- 8$ a day.
  • Fresh coconut juice straight from the nut- 0.5$

The destination where you begin your travels has a lot of consequences. It’ll dictate the way you’ll see the crazy decision you made (honestly, who takes their kids to Southeast Asia??) in the mirror of reality. Meaning, if you’ll go to an unsympathetic destination you’ll feel you made a mistake.

The right destination, on the other hand, will make you feel like you’re on top of the world.

In my opinion, choosing the first destination is the hardest choice. A choice with a lot of things to consider.

Always dreamt of India? Been to India when you were younger and now you want to take your kids there?


So you’ll go to India, at some point on your travels but the first point to look at is:

  • You don’t decide on a destination based on fantasies.
    The correct decision goes through some basic points:
  • When are you planning to arrive
  • How old are the kids
  • Who are you, what your limits as parents are and what kind of lifestyle you are used to
  • What scares you most about Southeast Asia?

The question many people struggle with and even ask me about is: what’s better, to start off sprinting and then everything will look simple afterwards, to start gently, slowly?

I’m always in favor of starting gently.

To anyone that thinks otherwise I (accepting and respecting) recommend you start with Varanasi, India. Delhi and Mumbai aren’t bad options either.

And if you want gentle:

Choose a destination where most people speak English. I would never start from a place where I can’t communicate the locals. That rules out China, Vietnam, Mongolia (Mongolia is a different story because in the capital city there is no problem) and more.

  • Choose a destination where the sanitation levels are high, especially concerning food. Give your digestive system time to get used to Southeast Asia slowly. Give the kids time to understand the hygiene rules there. That rules out India, Laos, and parts of China.
  • A destination where the season is pleasant and comfortable. No monsoon. No freezing temperatures. The tourist season. A bit before or after at the most. Beyond comfort, the weather effects many things like sanitation, diseases, mood… in addition, starting when there are so many other travelers around, when meetings are exciting, daily, and simple, gives you a lot of confidence.
  • A place where it’s easy to travel. Where there’s comfort and accessibility. The challenges save for later.

The things you’ll have to deal with in the beginning will not be neither few nor simple. And that’s the reason I think you need to choose a place where you can deal with them peacefully. This is a huge change in your way of life, in your everyday routine. Getting used to that change takes time, and requires patience, mental strength, and flexibility.

Every family member will undergo this change differently. And as parents, you will need to know how to deal with each one of the kids. And of course with the changes happening to you.

That’s why I warmly recommend you go to a place where you can relax, pass this time of changes without a million attractions and distractions, but first deal with them. Let the gears spin together smoothly again between all family members and for each one separately. And after that, the skies are the limit.

The three destinations I recommend:

  • If you have a high budget/very fearful- Thailand, around the beaches. Choose an area where you can meet more families. (Not recommended for everyone, just for those that feel they really need something gentle).
  • If you have a low budget/average family/averagely fearful parents- Nepal. This is my favored destination from every aspect. Nepal is gentler than India, its easy and light and pleasant, but also challenging in just the right amount. After all, landing in Kathmandu is not easy for those who haven’t been to Southeast Asia yet.
  • If you set out during the monsoon (July-August) only- the monsoon in Southeast Asia in problematic. It’s difficult to find a proper first destination. That’s why, only if that’s the situation, I recommend north India. Manali, Ladakh. This is the good season for those destinations. Still- India is India, even though the north is less wild than other areas.

Southeast Asia is made of a lot of countries, and in every country there are lots of options. You can open your mind and look outside the known and familiar beaten path. What about Taiwan? Korea? Myanmar? I haven’t been everywhere and I write here only from my personal experience. But I can tell you, I always enjoy finding a new and surprising destination, one that I haven’t thought of before.

My life for me isn’t just traveling. And it isn’t just an easy way to make my way in the world. As you probably already know by now, this lifestyle is very meaningful to me. And in fact almost every step I take, and almost every choice I make, happens only after a lot of consideration and no little desire to do the utmost for me, but mostly for my children.

I try my hardest to take the points that make our unique routine, and make the most of them. To think, to be creative and use everything that our lifestyle allows, all to give my children morals, confidence and experience.
This post is born of questions that a number of families asked me while planning their trips or already traveling. I found out in in the short, practical answers I give to everyone, hides a lot more than just “how to pack for your trip”
So here are four things that seem small, but in reality are huge.

1. Their own bags

When going on a long trip, your suitcase or big bag and everything in it become a very big part of your life. Therefore, it’s important to put some thought into how to best distribute the equipment between everyone.
Give your children their own bags, let them decide what they take (with your well-meaning guiding), and make sure all their things fit into their own bag. That includes shoes, personal toiletries, and a towel if possible. That bag will be their private, intimate place, where their things are, and they’re responsible for it.

Give them the feeling that you trust them to know how to take care of their things, to remember packing them whenever you’re going to a new place, and make sure they can carry their bag themselves. Respect their privacy about the things in the bag, and give them that good feeling involved in being responsible over its contents.

2. Financial freedom

Southeast Asia presents a wonderful opportunity to let the kids handle money on an everyday basic from a very young age. Involve the kids with everything money, on the everyday level. But everything. They should know how much the room costs at the guesthouse, look at the prices in menus, and be aware of the daily budget you’re keeping to. Calculate exchange rates.

And beyond that- make sure they always have money in their pocket. To experience regular shopping, every day, according to need, but also desire. Slowly slowly they’ll learn not to buy ice-cream with that money, but to save it for when they’re really thirsty and just want a bottle of water. Or to pay for the laundry you asked them to collect. Or the bus ride. I’ve been giving my older children (14 and 17 years old) free access to the family wallet and money and they manage their money very responsibly.

3. social awareness

During your time abroad you’ll have to deal with a lot of things you might not think about beforehand. For example, friends’ and family’s birthdays and other events you won’t be able to participate in. to mark the important dates and feel that you share your loves ones’ happiness, despite the distance, set aside a small amount of money (that you would’ve spent anyway on the event) and go out with the kids to give that money to those that really need it. Make the kids a part of everything, ask them their opinions, and give them the chance to be involved. Buy fruits for the street urchins, clothe for poor families in your area, or donate a few books or toys to a local orphanage. To this day there’s a Tibetan woman in Pokhara that hugs me every time I pass her by, because of the warm socks and shirts I bought for her children for the birthday of a close friend of mine, in his name. Actually, it was my daughter that asked her what she needed and went with her to the store to get what she needed.

4. Full and active cooperation

Let the kids have a say about every decision, considerations, inquiries. Send them on info-gathering missions- starting from the currency exchange rates in whichever country you’re going to, and all the way to finding a place to sleep. My children, according to their ages, manage the trip completely alongside me. They search for plane tickets, find out all the info we need about the places we want to go to (visas, currency, diseases, etc..) and very often they’re also responsible for booking hotel rooms for the first few nights in a new destination. I don’t chase after them to do it, I trust them fully and give them all due credit. How to get from place to place, how much does it cost, which company to go with, how long does it take, where should we stop and rest. And many other fine-print details that amount to quite a list that we share amongst us.

The K-12 education program, experience public school at home.


People tend to think that going on a long trip with kids will build pressure like nothing else.

A few years ago we were interviewed as a family for a tv show talking about long term traveling. Or something like that. Most families that were interviewed called it a ‘pressure cooker’. I don’t know. To me it seems something else entirely.

Traveling brings with it many interesting challenges. Some personal. Some for the family as a whole. Disrupting that balance is a valuable tool because it allows the gears to rearrange themselves till everything runs smooth again.

That’s why I think it’s important to let the issues float up early. Not to delay or be afraid of them, the opposite. We’re talking about a positive process that in short order will bring a constellation that is adapted to your new lifestyle.

All this is very dependent on your style of traveling and even more so on the destination you chose to begin traveling in. A caravan in Europe is not the same as a guesthouse in India.

One of the main things when you go on a trip with breathing space; you don’t jump nervously from place to place, but stay comfortably and roll slowly forward towards the next encounter. Getting to know new cultures, flavors, and people. Even a caravan in Europe isn’t isolated. There are more families traveling that way. You meet them on the road. In the stores. In parks. Everywhere. People from all over the world. Meetings are simple and easy, within minutes.

Southeast Asia is a sort of haven from that perspective. There are days when you haven’t even left for breakfast yet before the kids make friends. Or you find someone fascinating that will hold you for a conversation of three hours right there on the staircase.

The feeling is vented, open, relaxed. The opposite of a ‘pressure cooker’.

Everywhere you go you encounter people or experiences or simply interesting things. There is a feeling you have all the time in the world. The day goes on and flows slowly. There’s no need to hurry for anything. You go on walks in the villages or on the lake coast. I sit for hours in small cafes…

Suddenly the topics for conversation become more. Instead of talking about the daily/weekly chores list you find yourself talking about your thoughts, about your soul, about love. Or just about some nonsense.

Instead of worrying about the endless list of chores, from planning to organization and bureaucracy you now have time… time to play cards. Time to laugh for hours. To read. Time for silence. Time to breath.

• Choose well and wisely your first destination.

• Don’t be afraid of what it takes to bring back balance.

• Don’t be afraid of encounters of any sort. They’re a huge part of any trip.

• Come prepared to get to know your family again differently and deeply.

• Come with lots of love.

• At the end of the day, a trip like that does everyone good.

‘Pressure cooker’??? Far from it.

A few months ago I was walking in the streets of New-Delhi with my 13 years old daughter. We walked just the two of us, from the quiet neighborhood where we usually stay while in Delhi, to the ‘touristic’ neighborhood, that has a tikka store we like.

While walking, my daughter raised the interesting point that there are almost no women in the street. Surprisingly, with all the great masses crowding the Indian streets, you barely see any women. And definitely not young women. And if in the city you do see them sometimes, around bars mostly, than when you leave the big cities and go to the villages you hardly see any at all.

Just like that, in the middle of the street, we developed a fascinating debate on women in India, or in Nepal, or other places we’ve been to. On the reasons, the implications, and what does she think of those things.

‘My daughter is growing up’, I thought to myself. And however much that it is hard for me (who doesn’t want them to wait just a little bit more with growingup…) that’s how much it is also wonderful.

I have two teenagers. One is almost 17 years old. The other is almost 14. When we started traveling, almost 6 years ago, they were all still little kids. Everything was different. Now, things look completely another way.

I’ll try to write here a bit from my experience. I divided the subject by sections according to the teenager’s needs and how does traveling meet them.

Physical needs:

The first and most crucial need- hunger. Teens eat a lot. They’re very often hungry. That causes them to be irritable, impatient, and very negative to their surroundings. That’s why the first thing is making sure they get the amount of food they need, and that food will always be accessible. I can’t describe how important that is and what difference that makes. Don’t close that corner with snacks, but try as much as possible to make it healthy and nutritious food.

Sleep- almost like hunger, when a teens are tired or don’t get as much sleep as they need, the whole environment. And it’s not fun. Hence- do your best to make sure they sleep properly. In our house, a day after a Chelsea match (that happened very late at night) doesn’t look like a day in which the 16 years old slept properly. Especially if they lost.

Hygiene– very much dependent on every person’s personality, the way I feel, that’s a need that you need to think less on, but if you have a teen that is sensitive to the subject- it’s very important to make sure he’s as comfortable as possible, even in Southeast Asia, even in India, even in an old local bus. And maybe that’s actually an opportunity to work on the subject, to allow them to get used to slightly less comfortable conditions, develop flexibility and an immunity to it. Talk about it, get prepare and don’t ignore.

◊ Pimples- products for face cleaning are everywhere, including soaps, creams, and salves. Can also find naturals. I buy for them the organic product (in the organic shop in Pokhara, Nepal) and remind them to use it when I see a need for it (which doesn’t happen often)

◊ Female hygiene- can find almost anywhere, but it’s important to make sure you always have it accessible. If the teen got stuck, forgot, just took the wrong bag- have a spare roll. Always.

Emotional needs:

Privacy– the average teenager needs his privacy. In my opinion that’s one of the most critical points when traveling with teens, because their difficulty is very real, authentic, and very pressing. All day spent with the family (something that is simply illegal when you’re a teenager…), stuck in the same car with them, or the same hotel room, everyone has to go to the same places all the time, all the meals are eaten together, and if that’s not enough, they have to pretend that they’re actually enjoying it, because it’s a vacation after all.

They don’t enjoy it.

They don’t like it.

And we are never going to change that.
Not even if we try really hard and even if we’ll be the coolest parents and the sweetest young siblings. It has nothing to do with us.

What I do:

? When it comes to packing first of all- their own bag (I don’t have my own bag…), with all their stuff, without any adult supervision what-so-ever, to give them complete responsibility and privacy over their own things.

? When possible I get them their own rooms. I try to balance between periods where they have to share a room with their siblings and relaxed periods where they have their own room. Surprise them with their own room and you’ll see how easily you made one soul in this world happy.

? The subject needs to be ‘on the table’, talked about. So that when they feel the need for privacy they can feel comfortable enough to tell you, and to know that there is someone that understands and accepts it. Even in a one week vacation.

? And more than that- sometimes I go to them myself and tell them of a place I saw that might interest them, suggest a restaurant with food I know they’ll love (and suggest they go alone or in a constellation that works for them), or an activity they like (“you know, when I walked with Gali to the beach I saw on the way a group playing basketball… it’s really near here”).

? I give them freedom in everything regarding family meals. If they prefer to stay home alone for a bit, while we all go to eat I cooperate and simply bring them some take-away. Or if they prefer sitting at a separate table (yes yes… teenagers) I don’t make a big deal out of it. Free on the house. When they do decide to sit with us I always mention how nice it is for me.

? Pictures- I have one that hates having his pictures taken and one that takes selfies all day. I don’t argue. So much so that sometimes people ask me where is my son and if he even travels with us. As much as it pains me that he doesn’t let me document him, I respect his wishes. On some rare occasions I try to convince him that he should, just sometimes, document some of the moments he goes through, just for the memories. Sometimes I even succeed.

♦ Independence– the travel is an excellent opportunity to sharpen their independence skills, let them try new experiences on their own. Deal with new environmental conditions. This can be an experience that hugely increases their self-confidence, if and especially if your private teenager has some social difficulties or is going through a tough time.

? Let them walk around on their own, go buy something for everyone, look for and ask for information, pay for services, and go shopping all alone.

? let them taste and try the experiences that the place you’re at provides. From conversations in a new language, with people from different places all over the world, and to going on treks/rafting with friends, and everything in between. Encourage that, gibe them your support and don’t make faces if they ask to try some crocodile BBQ. They’re developing their own self, and that’s wonderful!

? I also warmly recommend that they have someone (that isn’t you) to talk to. Before the trip, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a long trip or a short one, open a channel of communication with someone to which they feel close enough, make sure they can talk anytime they want (considering, of course, the acceptable hours). It’s impossible to describe the effect of one small ventilating conversation, to the teen’s mental state and to the overall family mood and the success of the whole trip.

Social needs:

Depends on the teen, of course. But a large percentage on teenagers refuse to ever hear about going abroad with family, and it doesn’t matter if it’s for four days or four years. They refuse, under any circumstance, to be separated from their friend for even an hour. It’s a subject that drags with it arguments and stress and mess. It’s not easy with those teenagers.

? Talk with them about a trip that includes places/activities that interest them. Show them you know and accept that they need to be connected to their friends 24/7, and that’s why you want to ask them how you can go as family, in a way that everyone enjoys. Give them a personal example and use that difficulty to have a deal with them that is based on listening and understanding, and not on “you’re coming with us and that’s it”. Show them you treat them as mature, show your side openly and sensitively (“it’s very important to me that you come with us, we don’t have much time left with you… in a second you’ll be going your own way”, or anything that you might be feeling) and let them express themselves.

? Now, because my son is also this website’s translator (from Hebrew), I have to be very loyal to reality. So I have to add that this sometimes doesn’t work. Sometimes I have to force him (it’s interesting that it doesn’t happen with his younger sister, simply because of her different personality) but I only do it in cases where I know for sure (I know him very well) that moving to a new place will be a better experience for him, in the end.

? I’ll always try to fit the place we’re going to, to my children’s wishes and requests. Hence, we were this year for example in Nepal (my 13 years old wanted), we were in Vietnam (everyone were into that), in Singapore (my 10 years old’s choice), and in a very specific island in the Philippines (to my 16 years old’s request). The plan is to go to Ladakh in the summer (everyone wants that, each for their own reasons). On the other hand, if we only did what I wanted, we would now probably be on a mountain top in Kyrgyzstan…

♦ The friends at home: today that is not a problem. All you need is Wi-Fi. Allow them that freely. And I do mean freely. No making faces, or saying things like “you’re always on your phone”. Let them go through this process by themselves and understand that the friends at home can wait a moment, because the view from the window right now is something you’ll probably never see again. The more comment on it, the more you’ll find them glued to their screens. You brought them here, and now it’s their choice what they’re going to do with it. And it’s possible they’ll regret later. And that’s also fine, it’s another kind of learning…

♦ New friends from the road: a wonderful experience. Meeting people from all over the world, all ages, all sorts and colors. Let them, because every person they meet, and it doesn’t matter who or what s/he is, will enrich their world. Every. One. Let them have deep conversations with people they just now met in a restaurant, these people will listen to them with a very different viewpoint than anyone else (that knows them for a long time) will listen to them with. They’ll enjoy it so much, simply because they can show them their new ‘self’, the mature, smart, thinking, self. It’s an excellent and important experience in every way and I can’t even describe how vital and teaching it is. Doubtlessly one of the greatest gifts I give my children by living as we do.

? Do your homework and try to find destinations where it’s easier to make friends; or at least try to balance between those places and places where it’s harder. For instance, in India and Nepal it’s easy to make friends. In Vietnam it’s harder.

? let them by themselves. Never ever interrupt, don’t try to ‘matchmake’. They will choose themselves who to connect with and in what language. Let them explore. Out of their need they’ll also find a solution. If they thirst for friends- you can be sure that they’ll find them. And if they want some quiet, your ‘matchmaking’ will only burden them further.

? Together with what I wrote here, traveling can also develop their social skills range from the other side: simply to be alone. To be alone and enjoy it. Do things alone, think alone, go alone to a surfing class and come back with a few new friends. All the arc of “alone”, including feeling lonely. It’s a part of life, and the ability to feel it and deal with it in a healthy way can be very important. So don’t get worried and don’t run away from it. In my opinion, the ability to deal with it eventually gives a strong feeling of confidence and security and because of that- freedom. Not relying on anyone but themselves. Power.

Exposure to ‘sensitive’ subjects:

♦ Hookers in the street, hard drugs, light drugs, tattoos, piercing, drunks in the streets, lots of free alcohol and cigarettes, little children driving motorbikes and scooters, street kids, strip clubs on the same street as your guesthouse, bad offers (“psst, marijuana…”- drug dealers in India don’t really care how old you are. Even 13 years old is fine), a million free girls with and without swimsuits at the beach, families with small children where the parents sit and smoke pot right next to the babies, Kama-sutra cards in the stack next to the regular cards and more and more and more…- you won’t be able to avoid all those. And even if you don’t see every single one of these things, I promise you’ll see at least a part. I allow my kids to observe everything. I use those sights sometimes, to start a discussion on the subject, depends on the child’s age and on what they raise themselves. I can tell you that I put a lot of thought into how deal with those things. To ignore, try to hide, try to avoid the truth (“mommy what’s that?” – “ah… nothing. Want some ice-cream?”), or to give them truthful answers. I decided not to hide the truth. Meanwhile, my two private teenagers, maybe because they saw the results and the ugly sides of the above list, really aren’t too excited to try for themselves. I trust them 100%.

♦ Their parents and “sensitive” subjects- when you go traveling, you go with everything you are, even the things that during the everyday the kids aren’t exposed to. How we deal with tough situations, our passion, our delight, our weaknesses. Go for it. Give them a pick into what kind of people you really are, without the house matters, mom-and-dad’s-driving-services-pvt-ltd office. It’s a wonderful opportunity. Dance, swim, sing, jump in the water, be sexual, be human, be desperate, be happy, be curious, adventurous, cowards. Be everything you are. It’s likely that some of the things you do will be the most embarrassing things your teenagers will experience, but looking back, they’ll appreciate it. And if not than your dance in the middle of that street in Bangkok will be a funny family story that will be remembered forever.

♦ Condoms, pills and other safety measures- if your teens are sexually active, make sure they have them (especially Condoms), and if not- equip them in advance. And anyway, you can get those everywhere.

Technical needs:

♦ Phone, Wi-Fi, Tablet, Mirror, Music player, Earphones, and everything that is a ‘must’ in their lives. I try as much as possible to fill those needs 100%. I don’t argue, don’t try to show them that “you can do without”. To me these are small things, which they’ll discover, I’m sure, in some stage of their growth, by themselves, and what more, each one of those things is important to keep them happy.

Bottom line:

1. The iron rule: don’t leave them hungry or tires.

2. Create a balance between family activities and freedom, independence, and privacy (and surprise them with their own room).

3. Let them find the solution to their own social need themselves.

4. Show them sides of you they don’t know, give personal example, give and encourage them to try for themselves as they want in this experience.

And to close off- a short description on my 16 years old son of his life as a traveler (I didn’t touch anything…).
“What’s it like to travel? Well, it’s freedom. To me, it’s mostly social freedom. I’m not stuck in a closed environment with only a set number of people and told to pick my friends from among them. While traveling, I Meet a lot of people, all kinds of people, from kids my age or younger, to pensioners and everything in between. People that do everything, from every culture and place. I get to choose my social circle. And if I choose to avoid people for a week for some reason, well I can easily do that too without any judgment from anyone. But it’s not just the social aspects of travelling that I find so appealing, it’s the different sights, and smells, and flavors. There’s nothing I like more than going to a new country and trying out all of its street food. I can’t imagine ever living differently”.


Before a trip to Europe with kids there are no fears. Even before a trip to America you have a clear head. But most other places make us, the parents, to hesitate, rethink.

How can I decide if I’ve never been there? Is it safe enough to travel with the kids in India?

That doesn’t have just one answer. The decision has to depend first and foremost on your personality, your limits, and your style of education. The fact that your neighbors just returned from a family vacation in India and had no problems at all shouldn’t matter to you in the least. All you need to do in order to make your decision is to go over the different issues involved in a trip like that and see where you stand in comparison to them:

Low sanitation conditions- in most places in India the sanitation conditions are much lower than what they are in western countries. And there’s nothing to be done about it. Filthy toilets. Filthy kitchens. Stained sheets. Rats. Mice. Monkeys. Cows. And of course Cow shit… that’s India and that’s a part of the experience. If you’re going to try to travel in India without seeing the dirt you shouldn’t even bother going… on the other hand- you can take steps that help in dealing with it.

∴ Bring sheets from home.

∴ Sanitize the toilets and showers yourself.

∴ Apply hand-sanitizer before eating.

∴ Take your shoes off before going in the room.

If you find it hard to deal with filth, and you don’t think you’ll be able to enjoy a trip where it’s not always pleasant going to the bathroom or seeing the kitchen where your food was cooked, don’t go.

Exposure to diseases– especially stomach illnesses and Mosquito transferred diseases. If your children’s health is a sore point for you, think hard before going to India with kids. It’ll be a shame if you’ll be constantly scared throughout the whole trip. And yet, once again, you can take measures to (mostly) help you relax.

∴ keep to the rules of safe eating in Southeast Asia. No half-assing it.

∴ Protect yourselves from Mosquitoes- put on Mosquito repellents, wear long clothes (even of thin material), spray your room.

∴ Mosquito transferred diseases aren’t common in all of India. You can limit your trip only to ‘safe’ places. Basically, you can say that in the north there’ll be less Mosquitoes, starting from Manali and higher. (North India is the perfect destination for a summer vacation).

Driving and transportation– in India they drive differently. In my opinion, the truth is, their way is much better and more considerate than other places, but westerners that land right inside the mess of India will take a while to see the logic behind it. In addition- the roads themselves are sometimes extremely frightening. The drives in India take hours and sometimes days. In most vehicles you won’t find a seat belt…

Beggars and homeless children– the sights of India leave you speechless. People missing limbs, thrown in the street, stinking and covered with flies. Wild haired, rag wearing street children running wild. Tin shacks. Skinny mothers of soft babies sleeping in the temple door.

Chaos and masses– in some cities there are huge masses, noise, honks, and chaos. When you’re travelling with kids, and especially with little kids, that is something that anyone might be scared of, and rightly so. Too many people in one place, that requires maximum attention on the kids. Take that under consideration.

Faraway isolated places– in the other side of the scales stand the isolated spots, the little villages you sometimes find yourself in during a trip to India. You should think about those too, and prepare yourselves to the challenges that places like that might set.

To travel in India without letting it go really deep into you is a waste. True, it doesn’t make it easy. It overflows the senses in every possible way. But if, after you take everything under consideration you’ll decide to go- go with all your heart. And let the kids be there with everything it means.

Need help planning your trip? Send me an email and we’ll coordinate a call where I’ll answer all your questions, fears, and queries. And tell you all the little things you need to know before setting out.

Rishikesh is one of the best known places in India. It’s hard to miss when travelling in India with kids and families from all over the world go there.

She’s a pleasant and quiet city. For India, that is. I personally really liked the atmosphere at the city itself. It might be packed with people but it has something that makes it much more calm than other Indian cities.

It’s likely you won’t actually stay in the city itself but near the Ganga River in one of the touristic neighborhoods- Laxmanjhula or Ramjhula. They say that Laxmanjhula is the quieter. They’re wrong. It’s more touristic in nature, bigger and noisier and full of Israelis. Ramjhula is laidback, more ‘spiritual’ and has mostly European tourist.

If you go a bit further from the bunk you can find sweet, clean rooms with a kitchen and a garden. You can even find a guesthouse where you can rent a whole apartment with a kitchen and a living-room and everything.

∴ In Rishikesh we met the nicest Cows in India. They’re friendly and enjoy being petted and we really knew some of them personally.

People mostly come to Rishilesh for the courses on offer there- yoga and spirituality and Ashrams plenty. With kids it’s a bit different but plenty of courses let kids in for free.

If its your first time in India, look at the food and drinks safety rules page.

In my opinion, the biggest attraction Rishikesh holds is the Ganga. Soft white sandy beaches and cold water. You can swim every day and pass a month without even feeling it…

♦ And of course the Puja ceremonies that are done in all different ways both right on the Ganga and in temples. Within a week the kids turn to experts.

♦ And the Monkeys! Two kinds rule Rishikesh, and especially the bridges, with an iron fist. The yellow monkeys, wild, full of mischief and pretty aggressive. And the grey-black Monkeys that are very friendly and much less aggressive. So as long as you aren’t holding food in your hand you’ll be fine.

♦ I found the guesthouses in the tourist centers to be run-down and for the most part more dirty than guesthouses in other parts in India. That doesn’t mean you can’t find something good or newly opened. The prices, by the way, are very low. If they tell you there’s hot water 24/7 take it with a pinch of salt.

♦ The food in the local restaurants is spicy and thickly seasoned. The Chai is excellent. The restaurants that serve western food are good but the prices are above average. They have great shakes (even Oreo shake) and cold coffee. And Chocolates Pralines. Yum.

see also our special route for food-loving families traveling to India

♦ There’s also a selection of Ayuverdic restaurants and lodges.

♦ As well as a great selection of organic products and supermarkets, that even sell some home-made healthy and all-natural, vegan foods.

♦ Many go to the waterfalls around. I didn’t go but my son did and he says they’re really nice. it’s a nice hike just out side the urban area.

♦ There’s also a Waterpark nearby. They say it’s also very nice. and a Bungy jumping site.

we also have a full list of activities specifically for crazy, Adrenalin seeking families :-). 

♦ In general you can say that Rishikesh is a real touristic marvel. It has all the luxuries and comforts you need. But it takes time to get used to it. Don’t run away too quickly, give it the time it needs to charm you.

♦ From Rishikesh leave a few beautiful treks. Check with a travel agency.

♦ There’s also wonderful rafting trips in the season.

♦ If you rent a scooter you’ll be a lot more mobile and could jump for visits in nearby villages and rivers.

♦ You could also visit the city daily and go to one of the true pearls of the area- Papu Lassi. Cold, sweet, and delicious. Entirely addictive. In addition, in the city there are a few restaurants that pride themselves in a beautiful and very tasty collection of traditional Indian sweets.

♦ It’s also recommended to visit the colorful fruits and vegetables market.

♦ And to go to the cinema at least once. We’re talking about a real India Cinema, where the crowd is an active participant in the movie and kids with trays of Chai and snacks go between the rows selling throughout the entire movie. A highly enjoyable experience.

♦ As a city located near the Ganga, the sale of meat, Alcohol and Eggs is banned (in the inner burrows of the city you could find all these things if you’re really persistent). To fill up the protein needs eat lots of legumes. It’s recommended to use the Chole stands (cooked Chickpeas, served with spiced vegetables, Salt and Lemon) in the area. 10 Rupees per plate.

♦ In Ramjhula there is a small restaurant called ‘The Office’. It serves very good Chai but its crowning glory are the famous dessert Samosas filled with Cinnamon Apple or Banana and Chocolate. Don’t miss!

Warning: dear girls. Never walk in Rishikesh alone after dark. The streets look safe and innocent but a few very violent cases have happened. Don’t walk alone and definitely not with a revealing outfit.
Please: the Ganga is an extremely holy place to the Indians. Respect that. Don’t swim in a Bikini and keep to the respectful guidelines of the place.

Here is a nice family-friendly route in south India

Prices for example:
A decent room– 350-500 Rupees a night.
Papu Lassi– 20 Rupees.
Thali– 50-80 Rupees.
Scooter per day– 250 Rupees.
Rickshaw bus to the city– 5 Rupees per person (and don’t let them fool you!), kids go for free.
Chai– 10-20 Rupees.
Cold Coffee– 50 Rupees.

*** 7 years of continuous travel with my kids are gathered into my ebook. you are welcome to download and join me.

Christmas/ hanuka and Easter/passover vacations are the best times to take the kids and go on an amazing vacation in the Philippines.
Granted, there is summer vacation, but it’s actually the summer that isn’t a very good season in the Philippines, and if you go there during summer vacation there’s the chance you’ll get some rains and storms. Nothing terrible, but it’s something to consider.
What else, I heard from many families recently that they are looking for an interesting and different destination, something to refresh the annual vacation in Europe.
And hence the Philippines are the perfect destination 🙂

First of all- check out our best tips for family travel in the Philippines.

And now- Here are four places that are simply wonderful for a vacation in the Philippines with kids:

1. This hotel in Mactan, on the island Cebu. An awesome start to a vacation. It’s not cheap, at around 200$ a night, but it’s well worth it. Everything you need in a vacation without moving too much :-). A huge swimming pool, complete with slides and bridges, SUP (stand up pedal surfing) and sea Kayaking, and if you ever leave the swimming pool you’ll find a climbing wall and a kid’s playroom, a private beach, free bicycles to move freely inside the hotel grounds and more…

There are many things to do in Cebu, here are few of the lesser known attractions for families.

2. After few days in this hotel, book a (very) short flight to an amazing island called Camiguin. It’s a tiny island with a few interesting attractions. It has beautiful black-sand beaches. And hot springs, and giant Clams that are definitely worth a visit. You can go snorkel-diving around the island, or even tour around it on a bicycle on the friendly island surrounding road.
You should quietly spend a few days on that island. Enjoy the hot springs, the massages, and sleeping in your favorite guest-house right next to them. That way you could go on a tight romantic dip after the kids went to bed…❤
Staying there is very cheap. Staying in a family room in the guest-house will cost no more than 50$ a night. And it includes free entrance to the hot springs 24/7

3. From there continue to the marvellous island Bohol. Recommended hotels you can find here . OR – you can stay at a private beach house. In Bohol you can enjoy all sorts of attractions like the Chocolate hills, the Extreme park, sailing on the Loboc river, and most importantly- Dolphin watching. Don’t miss  it! It’s an amazing experience.
Estimated costs per day will be around 150$-180$, including accommodation, meals, and attractions.
By the way, in Bohol’s biggest city, Tagbilaran, there are a few nice malls that have cinemas (with 3D) restaurants and shops. One of my children’s biggest enjoyments was the arcade in ICM (island city mall), that they always left with some nice prizes.
To divers, that’s also the place from which you can go on breathtaking dives in the area. In Bohol there are also several interesting underwater reserves. I’ll never forget the sea Turtles we saw while snorkeling around Bohol. It was one of the most exciting experiences of my life.
If you don’t dive and want to take a course, in Bohol you can find a few good options for that.
There are also sea-Kayaking tours that you simply must check out.
To more adventurous families I warmly suggest going on an independent tour around the island. Bohol allows for a fascinating view into the life of the locals, with the tiny fishing villages, fragrant markets, jungles, and virgin beaches. Tourist free gems are hidden around every corner if you only go in deep enough.

Bohol also offers few Adrenalin-rush activities. check them out here.

4. From Bohol you can move on to the enchanted island Siquijor, with its white beaches, snorkelling, night sailing and watching thousands of fireflies, kayaking, and quiet. The hotels here are good and don’t cost much, only about 60$a day all expenses included. I wrote about it here.

-From there the move is pretty simple back to south Cebu, where the bravest can swim with Whale Sharks. The experience is not cheap (I haven’t done it, my youngest wouldn’t let her mom swim freely like that with sharks. I am waiting for her to grow up…), and costs about 150$ per person.

-Finish the trip in Manila, the shopping city.

It’s fun to travel with kids in Nepal. It’s cleaner and cheaper than India. The Nepali people love kids so prepare them to an almost royal treatment. The views are stunning and (almost) everyone speaks English. And the biggest advantage over all the other southeast Asian countries is that there are almost no mosquito transferred diseases (other than in the south, on the Indian border).

I’ll write here a few tips for those planning a visit in Nepal in the hope they’ll help.

Landing there:

If you’ve never been to Nepal before- their airport looks like it’s taken from an old low budget film. After a long tiring flight, you stand in the very long line for visa. The Nepalese are very friendly and will take the younger kids (under 10 years old) to a shorter line for their free visas. the older ones will have to stand in line. Prepare a place for the kids to sit comfortably (maybe a small blanket to spread on the ground or something similar) because they’ll be very tired. If you have a cart- try to get it the minute you get off the plane, or if you have a Yuka use it.

Kathmandu is not an easy city to process. Make the trip from the airport to the hotel quickly, and stay in the Thamel area to begin with. I would recommend you leave Kathmandu and save it till the end of your visit, after you’ve had some time to get used to Nepal. It’s better to get to Pokhara as soon as possible, and start the trip there.

Make the way from Kathmandu to Pokhara in a hired minivan. It’s a long bumpy twisty road with high throw-up potential (7/10 by our measuring) so it’s best if the vehicle is hired by you, that way you could ask the driver to stop as needed. Invite other travelers to join you, they’ll pay their part and the kids could make a few friends.

Other option is the tourist bus, which is nowadays very comfortable and relatively safe. Few of them even have wifi that is actually working.

Food, water, showers…:

The water quality in the taps in Kathmandu is very low. In Pokhara it’s relatively fine. I wouldn’t drink it but they do go through some purification process.

Hot water- most places have hot water. Some only have a solar heater, which means there’ll only be hot water if there was sun.
Western food there is everywhere. Its quality- good. Pasta and pizza you can get anywhere. The local food in delicious and very nutritious, but don’t forget to ask not spicy if that might be a problem for you.

Here’s a Video showing the best breakfast in Nepal. and one about the well known local snack :-).

Electricity, weather:

In my opinion the best time to travel to Nepal with kids is in October-November-early December. The weather is amazing; it doesn’t rain the skies are crystal clear. March-April-May is also a good time, but less so as visibility is less good.

In Nepal there is a hydroelectric system, but for political reasons, the Nepali people don’t really get to enjoy it. Power cuts are a part of everyday life. The more water flows in the rivers, the more power there is. Hence, in the monsoon and a few weeks after (July-November), there’s power almost all day long. The further away from the monsoon you are, the longer the power cuts become. In March for example there’s no power for 14 hours a day(!). during the day it doesn’t really bother but at night it could be unpleasant. Most good hotels, restaurants, and shops have generators, but they turn them off at around 11pm.

Safety, health, transportation:

There are decent hospitals and ambulances. And pharmacies everywhere.
There are some (few) taxis with sit belts. Make sure to choose only those and insist they take them out of the trunk.
Sidewalks- there are more in Pokhara than in Kathmandu.
I would recommend putting very young kids in a Yuka so you won’t have to worry about them crossing roads or disappearing in an ocean of humanity. Hold hands with older kids when walking in busy streets.
Keep the kids away from the stray dogs and Monkeys (yes, you’re reading it right, Monkeys). In the event something happens- go to a private hospital they’re experienced in giving rabies shots.
A local bus can be an interesting experience…
There are bicycles for rent everywhere, and it’s fun to paddle, but it’s nearly impossible to find bicycles for the kids.


In the Thamel in Kathmandu you can find anything. But it’s not as cheap as you’d think.

That’s why it’s better to shop in Pokhara where it’s cheaper.

Or if you are looking for brands etc- there is a nice variety in kathmandu to choose from.

Books: in most book stores you can find a small but high quality selection of books in many languages. If your bags are already heavy, don’t bother taking books with you you’ll find some here. The deal is that you buy the book, read it, then return it to the store to get half your money back. few children’s book are also possible, as well as books for young kids and teens.


Have no fear. In Pokhara and Kathmandu there is everything you need. Diapers (not of a great quality), wet wipes, soaps, hand sanitizers (a large, high quality selection), cornflakes, mosquito repellents, bandages and wound disinfectants, sunscreen (a large selection, including naturals and international brands), tooth paste and brush, pacifiers, vitamins.

You should bring baby food and medicines with you from home. Even though now, slowly, is gets easier to find formula in the big cities.

Here’s an article with all you need to know about traveling to Nepal 

Things you can do that won’t be mentioned in the travel guides:

∴ A yoga course in Pokhara with the kids- warmly recommended.

∴ Go on a short easy trek to the village Astham. There is an amazing, friendly guesthouse there.

∴ You can visit Tara’s shop in front of Be happy restaurant in lakeside. It’s an organization that supports working women. See how they spin the strings, dye them, make them into fabric to use later in all sorts of bags, gloves, stunning hats, etc…

∴ Do a family Rafting.

∴ Taste organic Honey from wild flowers that grow only in high altitudes, or Butternut, or Mustard flowers in the organic shop in lakeside.

∴ Buy colorful Tikas in a stand just outside of Thamel in Kathmandu.

∴ Go to watch a movie at “movie garden” (pokhara) its awesome. On saturdays they show a children’s movie and kids can come for free.

∴ Go sit at “silkroad” in the evening. they have some local and international live bans on a low-volume levels, perfect for family bonding. they also have sweet momo and a pool table. the grownups can enjoy nice refreshing cocktails for a reasonable price.

here is a full article about how to explore the Nepali culture with your kids. 


Nepal is one of the destinations that i cover in my new ebook “How to travel with kids for 1400$ a month (or less)”. download and see for yourself how simple and easy it is.

A good high quality hotel in kathmandu 40$-80$ a night. In Pokhara 15$-35$.
Guesthouse (definitely good enough)- 5$-10$ a night.

A meal for five– Kathmandu- 2000 rupees (1$= about 100 rupees). Pokhara- 1000 rupees.
indian pants– 300-600 rupees.
Family pizza– 250 rupees.
Small hand sanitizer– 100 rupees.
Fresh squeezed juice– 100-150 rupees.
Coffee– regular- 50 rupees, High quality espresso- 250 rupees.
Laundry– 80 rupees per kg (about 2 pounds)