Author Topic: Should I travel SE Asia with my 13 months son for a gap year?  (Read 2576 times)

altoid

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Should I travel SE Asia with my 13 months son for a gap year?
« on: November 08, 2017, 09:47:05 AM »
Hi everyone, I am torn between a decision recently about whether to take a gap year and travel SE Asia with my 13 months son.  We have aggressively saved for 10 years and can budget for $2000 a month for our travel.

What we were thinking is to do slow travel, like 2 weeks in one city, so the baby doesn't have to rushed. I opened up this idea to some of friends last night, and 4 of the 5 voted no. Some even went to the point to call us selfish.

Please share some your thoughts. I felt it's more harder to get a big plot of time for something like this, If we wait our son gets older.

Thank you.


ahoy

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Re: Should I travel SE Asia with my 13 months son for a gap year?
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2017, 11:03:56 AM »
If you can afford it, just do it.  I have not been to Asia, but I believe $2,000 per month will go a long way there.  Your friends that are calling you selfish is just plain rude.  Maybe they are jealous, I don't know.  Maybe they just don't care to travel and that is okay too.  I have learn't over the years to not take advice from people that don't know anything about what you are talking about.   

I traveled with my family 4 yrs ago when my kids were 10 and 6yrs.  We were gone just under two years.  The BEST two years of my life.  We are thinking about going again for 6 to 12 months.  My kids are growing so fast (wish I could stop time).

At least with a 13 month old you don't have to worry about schooling. 

dreams_and_discoveries

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Re: Should I travel SE Asia with my 13 months son for a gap year?
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2017, 11:46:07 AM »
Babies are portable, toddlers less so. I'd do it when still small.

Catbert

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Re: Should I travel SE Asia with my 13 months son for a gap year?
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2017, 11:50:57 AM »
You could check out Go Curry Cracker.  They are FIRE and travel extensively with their son, I think since his birth.  They have spent significant time in Asia. 

ixtap

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Re: Should I travel SE Asia with my 13 months son for a gap year?
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2017, 11:52:10 AM »
The most important thing for toddlers is routine. Before you even leave home, start a daily routine that can be carried out while travelling. Have meal rituals, for example and be sure to always have any ritual props in your day pack (ie, a bib). Have a library of kids books on an e device and be prepared to read the favorite every day for months on end. Carry a back up food that you know the kid likes and you can restock on your travels. Have a toy and blanket that mark any space as "bed."

You will probably want to plan even more than two weeks per city. For one thing, in many places you can get a better deal by the month.

People often use the term "selfish" when they see someone take a path that they never even considered. How is it selfish? Who are you neglecting or taking away from by doing this?

Personally, I would wait another year if I were willing to put the kid in preschool and move around less, even longer if I wanted the kid to have memories of the trip. But I still don't think there is anything inherently wrong with doing it now.

sequoia

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Re: Should I travel SE Asia with my 13 months son for a gap year?
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2017, 04:13:23 PM »
Do it. Don't worry about your friends. I can see friends not agree with you, but calling you selfish is over the top... Only you can decide what is good for you and your son.

Traveling with 13 months kid maybe cheaper - I think airline give 50% discount up to 2 yr old? The only cons that I can think of, is your son may not remember a lot of these places. You can go later in a few years, when he is older, which means he may remember more of the places that he visited, but then you are older too - not sure if that matter? Maybe want to have another kid?

Good luck, and update us what you decide :)

arebelspy

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Re: Should I travel SE Asia with my 13 months son for a gap year?
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2017, 04:34:14 PM »
We were in the Australia/SE Asia (Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines)/New Zealand/Japan area from when our daughter was ~5 months old to ~15 mo. old (she is now 21 months old, we've been in an RV the last 6 months).

Yours will be a little older, but I don't see why it's not doable. Kids are flexible. Spend lots of time outside, exploring and learning.

You've got

Slow travel is the way to go. Two weeks sounds too fast, to me, but do what makes you guys happy.  Enjoy the next 11 months where he still is cheap/free for plane flights as a lap infant without his own ticket (just taxes and fees sometimes).  :)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
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altoid

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Re: Should I travel SE Asia with my 13 months son for a gap year?
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2017, 04:48:57 PM »
Thank you for your advice, everyone! It is hard to find people with similar mindset in real life and it gets discouraging..

One of the reasons we wanted to do it now is that he basically travels for free as infant on lap. This applied to AirBnB too. When I ran estimate on AirBnB, a child older than 2  counts as one more paying person. we intended to take a blender and make his baby food since we will no longer go to work.

Alternative is to stay here, and paying the $1800 month child care when someone else is raising my son. I will see my bank account grow, but then I have delayed gratification for 10 years, how many 10 years do we have in a lifetime?








arebelspy

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Re: Should I travel SE Asia with my 13 months son for a gap year?
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2017, 04:53:08 PM »
I encourage you to check out baby led weaning--no blender needed!  :)

(Our kid has literally never had "baby food" or anything blended for her. If that's what works for you, go for it! Just offering an alternate idea as well.)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
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ixtap

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Re: Should I travel SE Asia with my 13 months son for a gap year?
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2017, 05:04:35 PM »
At 13 months, no blender should be needed.

mm1970

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Re: Should I travel SE Asia with my 13 months son for a gap year?
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2017, 05:27:29 PM »
Sounds like hell to me, but I have friends who love to travel.  They met traveling the world, dated traveling the world.  Took a couple of LOA's from work for months to travel the world.  Settled down, bought a condo, had two kids.

Then...4 years into that, quit work again for a year to travel the world with their 4 and 2 year olds.  Started in Africa but spent most of that time in SE Asia.  A little bit in South America.  They love SE Asia.

They just got back a few months ago, in fact.  I loved reading their blog about it.


Also, ahem, daycares don't raise children.


lbmustache

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Re: Should I travel SE Asia with my 13 months son for a gap year?
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2017, 06:18:29 PM »
Do it, 100%. You can travel with a baby with very few issues :) And great point about the free airfare and AirBnBs.

GuitarBrian

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Re: Should I travel SE Asia with my 13 months son for a gap year?
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2017, 07:17:43 PM »
I just spent a couple weeks in Taiwan. Met a lot of travelers, and a couple with a very young son. I didn't ask exact age, but he was crawling and trying to walk... They had been all through Vietnam and Thailand, and were going to the Philippines next. Seemed to be having a great time.

BTW Taiwan is amazing, the people are so friendly and helpful. It's also easy and cheap to get to anywhere in SE Asia. It isn't as cheap as some places, but it isn't expensive either and the infrastructure is great. It's incredibly safe. The food is amazing :)

I'd go.

YoungInvestor

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Re: Should I travel SE Asia with my 13 months son for a gap year?
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2017, 06:15:53 AM »
Maybe. Organizing all of this seems like a nightmare to me, but if you really want to, maybe you could.

I wouldn't, but then I might just be too risk-averse.

arebelspy

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Re: Should I travel SE Asia with my 13 months son for a gap year?
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2017, 06:25:57 AM »
You can organize as much or as little as you want.

A lot of times we'd go "where do we want to go next week" and then pick a a place, buy some cheap transportation (bus or plane or whatever), find a place on Airbnb to rent for a month, then head over there.

Repeat a few weeks later.

You don't have to organize a year's worth of travel, lodging, etc. all ahead of time. Do it to your comfort level.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
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FLBiker

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Re: Should I travel SE Asia with my 13 months son for a gap year?
« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2017, 06:42:53 AM »
I think it depends on both the parents and the baby.  For us, even though we like travelling, we've stayed relatively put during the early years.  Frankly, it just seemed a lot easier.  So, in that sense, we were being selfish.  Plus, our daughter is not a great sleeper (currently 2.5 years old) and the idea of being in lots of new places / not being able to keep a schedule is pretty daunting.  If we'd been traveling the whole time, though, maybe she'd be used to it.  It also worked out for us in other ways -- I'm in the middle of a 5 year dharma study class, so extended travel wouldn't be supportive of that.

At the same time, I spent my twenties living in Taiwan and China, travelling throughout Asia, so I've scratched that itch.  And my wife isn't particularly driven to that sort of life.  If we both REALLY wanted to travel, though, it might be different.  I also think it's probably very hard to know what it's going to be like until you do it.

slappy

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Re: Should I travel SE Asia with my 13 months son for a gap year?
« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2017, 06:47:31 AM »
I don't think I would do something like that, but I have to say, hanging out in the MMM forums make me at least willing to consider it.  If you are inclined to do it, YES! Absolutely do it! Personally, my 14 month old does not sleep, so that makes everything a bit more miserable, and there is no way that I could orchestrate any type of travel.

Zola.

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Re: Should I travel SE Asia with my 13 months son for a gap year?
« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2017, 08:57:41 AM »
Do what you like, and like what you do!

If you can afford it, go for it. The kid is very young though, so you will need to be very careful, and really aware of things like vaccination requirements etc.

I'd find it stressful personally, but it could be epic at the same time.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2017, 08:59:25 AM by Zola. »

damyst

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Re: Should I travel SE Asia with my 13 months son for a gap year?
« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2017, 07:25:03 PM »
Do it.
The good memories will last a lifetime, while the bad moments (and there will be some) fade away quickly. And if your friends aren't jealous now, they sure will be afterwards!
As arebelspy explains well in his blog, traveling with young children is hard, but it's hard because of the children, not because of the travel. Given the choice, I'd spend a day bouncing around a foreign city with a toddler, rather than trying to keep them entertained at home!

Keeping a schedule while traveling is an interesting point. Our policy (at home and abroad) has been that, for the most part, the parents set the schedule, and we try to accommodate the little one as much as possible within that schedule. Our son responds well to this: his nap time and bedtime often moves two hours forward or back from day to day, and he handles it with no trouble at all. But I don't know whether this capacity of his is adaptation or innate. If he started having fatigue-induced meltdowns four times a week, I'm pretty sure we would change the policy.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2017, 07:27:44 PM by damyst »

Mrbeardedbigbucks

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Re: Should I travel SE Asia with my 13 months son for a gap year?
« Reply #19 on: November 10, 2017, 04:26:13 AM »
If you've figured out your finances and the logistics of traveling with a young child then yes, you should leave tomorrow. We met a nice Canadian couple traveling with their 2 and 4 year old in Cuba a few years ago. They were already in their third month of travel and were off to Guatemala next.

My wife and I have chosen to not have kids and we were once called selfish for making that decision. I think if you do something that's not mainstream or your decision goes against someone's beliefs, certain people will be quick to judge and call you selfish. In reality, they're really judging themselves for not having the courage or financial means to do something like extended travel with kids. They're also suffering from a classic case of FOMO.

Please go and maybe start a blog of your travels and we'll follow your adventure.

Abe

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Re: Should I travel SE Asia with my 13 months son for a gap year?
« Reply #20 on: November 11, 2017, 10:37:53 PM »
Make sure he's vaccinated and keep up with the schedule. Don't let him drink anything that isn't made with recently boiled water, regardless of what "filter" was used for the water or if it was "bottled". Food safety standards vary wildly throughout, and even "tourist" areas may not have the quality needed for a young child, who have weaker immune systems than adults (hence the high death child illness rates relative to the US/Canada/Europe).

MayDay

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Re: Should I travel SE Asia with my 13 months son for a gap year?
« Reply #21 on: November 12, 2017, 06:49:59 AM »
My kids weren't sleeping all night at that age. The one trip we took with my son, he was like "nah. This isn't home. I'mma hold off on sleeping til we get home".

It also would have been hell with either kid to be in non babyproofed Airbnbs with no fneced yard, etc. Call me lazy but I want to sit on the couch and read and not be pulling electrical cords out of mouths all day long.

But obviously from the responses in this thread plenty of people love it.

arebelspy

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Re: Should I travel SE Asia with my 13 months son for a gap year?
« Reply #22 on: November 12, 2017, 10:27:23 AM »
My kids weren't sleeping all night at that age. The one trip we took with my son, he was like "nah. This isn't home. I'mma hold off on sleeping til we get home".

Hard to picture a kid holding that stance for a year.  ;)

It also would have been hell with either kid to be in non babyproofed Airbnbs with no fneced yard, etc. Call me lazy but I want to sit on the couch and read and not be pulling electrical cords out of mouths all day long.

We never had an issue. Lucky, I guess. :)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.