Leave: The great guide to your travel leave is written by Mikkel Bechshøft.
Give yourself a break and take leave
Have you ever toyed with the idea of taking a real respite from the job and the hamster wheel? Not just extending the summer holidays from three to four weeks, but really tearing months off the calendar.
Pack the southern fruits, the kids, the swimming trunks and pretty much nothing else and then live from day to day for a longer period. So take leave from work? Then you are not alone.
But it's just that, taking the plunge and actually getting it done. This writer succeeded. Here you get an introduction to how you and your family can realize an experience of a lifetime.
This makes it possible to travel for a longer period of time
In January and February 2018, my little family and I were with a child of five on our life travel experience in South Africa. My better half and I had very generously been given the opportunity to take unpaid leave from our respective jobs.
This made it possible - together with a larger savings and a small inheritance advance - that we could take two months off the calendar. Now we could realize an old dream of a long, continuous journey with our son.
The idea was formed already in 2011, when we traveled without a child on a similar trip for four months. We had to do everything to experience it again. Therefore, we started saving a few years before we planned to travel.
We started discussing the destination in earnest a year earlier. Actually, we had planned the leave for 2017 when our son was 4 years old. But an internal job change made it less appropriate, and therefore the trip was postponed by a year.
This turned out to be pure luck, as five years of reflection seems to be the perfect travel age. Our son had all the senses open, absorbed, could understand and relate to many more things and was far more self-reliant. So here's the first advice for travel leave with children: If you can, wait until they are five years old.
The art of adding travel budget to your vacation
The biggest barrier to taking leave for the trip is for most probably the economy. But you must also have the opportunity to do so in relation to your work or study. I do not think there is much other good advice than to mark after how it will be received.
And then really just get asked in really good time. We both aired the idea of travel leave one year before, so there was plenty of time for planning at work, and then it went through.
The economy, on the other hand, is a more difficult size. What does it cost to travel? Can you rent out your house or apartment? What about lost wage income and less earned vacation? Can any holiday be postponed?
We are not for completely primitive backpacking, appreciate good food and have the attitude that if you go first, then you must be able to afford the adventure opportunities that present themselves.
We ended up spending about 150.000 kroner on the trip itself and then there was a lack of income for two. So yes, it is not free to take travel leave. But now hold up, where is it all worth the money.
Choice of destination and form of travel
Then there is the choice of destination and form of travel. It is closely related. We probably had pretty much all of Lonely Planet's travel guides at home over the winter to notice, sense, discuss, consider, get to know - and eventually totally confused about - where we wanted to go. So it all ended with us taking as our starting point how we wanted to travel.
1) Travel in a motorhome so we could have the house with us, unpack once and get a safe base
2) Could experience pretty much the entire destination during the two months, so we could say that now we have really seen that place
And then it also did not matter if the country was not too expensive to travel in, the weather was good and the travel time fairly manageable. Those parameters left us with South Africa, which we had also previously visited on a shorter trip. It turned out to be the perfect country for us.
Is it really worth the money?
Why is such a leave worth all the effort and money? What does it do to one? First and foremost, it moves one as a human being, parent and family.
In addition, we have had the incredible experience of spending two months close together 24 hours a day. Before the trip, we wondered if it could work at all. Would we go crazy so close together for so long? Would we be able to 'hold kindergarten' every day for two months?
If we could! For suddenly all - and I mean all - commitments are gone. There is no mobile, no Facebook, no family birthdays, no shopping trips in Netto, no duties, no housework, nothing. Only quality togetherness, Uno, reading aloud, ice sticks, magnificent nature and being.
But South Africa is also a dilemma-filled travel country - and thus perhaps different than if the trip had been to Thailand for two months.
Leave in South Africa
In South Africa, people are forced to deal with race, climate, economic conditions, living standards, materialism, corruption, animal extermination, nature conservation, security, freedom of speech - yes, I could go on.
And it's not really a bad thing as a traveler and as a family with children. That the destination also forces one to difficult conversations and to reflection on one's own life and society.
We talked about poverty, the eradication of rhinos, the water crisis, apartheid, war, tolerance, helpfulness and everything else. Both in adult and child height.
And that has really moved us after returning home: It is on a climate-friendly train journey this summer. The mobile is allowed to lie untouched a little longer. We do more of what makes us happy. We play more board games, we read more, we watch less Netflix. We remind each other how privileged we are and we try to balance working time and leisure a little better.
I can only encourage you and your family to jump in to take leave to travel. And maybe even plan it several times in his career. We will definitely get to that.
Our most important tips for travel leave with a child
- Examine thoroughly whether you can expect to meet other families with children at the destination. We assumed that, but only met pensioners and backpackers outside the cities. Children sometimes also need to play with other children.
- Practice words and phrases in English from home so that the child can say, for example, "hello, my name is" and "do you want to play".
- Your child can definitely do more than you think. We ended up being able to walk over 10km on day trips. Without hernia. On the other hand, with lots of small guessing games and number games, eg add numbers together, practice tables, guess an animal, etc.
- Give the child a 'travel package' for birthday or Christmas before the trip. With own diary, binoculars, animal stickers, a book or similar. We had the great pleasure of writing / drawing a diary every day - and now it is a memory for life.
- Introduce a rule about 'family time', 'child time', 'adult time' and 'alone time' on the trip. So it is clear to the child that not all time is playtime with mom and / or dad. If necessary, set a clock during alone time and help the child get started with an activity.
- Download audiobooks on mobile / iPad from home, so there is something to listen to on the rides. Father and mother can handle a game of Brødrene Løvehjerte. It is actually quite nice to have Ellen Hillingsø in the speakers on such a trip.
- Remember to reconcile the communication expectations with the grandparents. Do you skype home every week? Every second week? Or less often? Remember that you are on leave, and the whole point is that you are gone. Also from the little things.
- Talk about the trip with your child about two months before departure. Then there is a manageable time - and then the trip does not overshadow everything else for the child for too long.
- Squeeze your arm frequently and say, "Wow, we did it damn!"