Expert's Advice: Non-Stop Travelling Interview With Bender Family

23 Feb 2016 by Olga Brighton

Travel Information

Meet our February travel experts: the creators of Travel with Bender blog – Erin, Josh and their two lovely kids on an open-ended, unplanned, round-the-world trip discovering amazing places for families! They have stayed in hostels and 5 star luxury resorts, travelled on scooters and cruise liners, danced with leprechauns and cuddled tigers. Nothing is out of bounds or out of reach for this remarkable Australian family. We've asked Erin and Josh to share their insight on their exciting travel adventures with kids.

We’d like to say your travel blog is truly inspiring. You seem to travel easily and happily. Have you found your calling in becoming full-time travellers?

It’s funny where life takes you. I wanted to be a writer from a very young age. I just never knew I would write about travel. I wouldn’t say I’ve found my calling in becoming a full-time traveller, but I would say I found a calling because of travel.

Bender Family

Where did that travel bug come from?

Josh and I travelled a lot before kids. The bug really got us when we were sitting in a hotel in Kuala Lumpur. We hadn’t cooked in a week, we had laundry service and we were having a lot of fun. We were relaxed and happy. Then we looked at a budget and realised we were saving money being on vacation more then when we were at home. That would be the defining moment when we thought: this could be our life.

Did you wait for your kids to grow up to some age or did you start it all right from the point you were at?

It was never about the age of the kids. Josh had the idea in 2010 when my son was just born. It was only my failure to agree that kept us in Australia. Finally in 2012 I was ready. The kids were 2 and 3. I should have started sooner.

What is your personal travel style?

I use to be organised to the hilt. But these days we are much more relaxed. We have an idea of where we want to go and what we want to do, but that is usually as far as plans go. I love to be active and see everything. Josh is more relaxed and prefers a day on the beach. We work great together.

Bender kids

Erin and Josh, has travelling with kids changed your attitude towards travelling?

Definitely. We use to be all hotels and tourist attractions. Now we enjoy a slower paced existence. We like to hire an apartment for a month, wander around on foot, and bump into moments.

As the Australian citizens, what foreign cultures did you find to be the most complex and different from what you are used to?

Mexico was the biggest culture shock for us. We don’t have a strong Spanish influence in Australia so Central America was so different from everything we had ever experienced. I also felt a certain pressure where most people expected us to be from the US and know even a little of Spanish, when in fact we were from the other side of the world and had no idea.

What is the greatest lesson travelling has taught you?

A smile is universal. Here is a list of other lessons we learned in just 6 months. I should write a new one after 3 years on the road.

Bender Travel

What are the things kids remember the most after visiting a foreign country?

The playgrounds. Seriously given a choice they always choose to visit a playground. We love the simplicity and innocence of children.

From your experience, is it better to travel gradually or to sell it all and head towards fulfilling the dream?

Where we lived in Australia it was costly and far to continue to travel to and from. For us the decision to travel one way continuously was more cost effective and time efficient. I have not regretted any one-way ticket we ever purchased. This is a very personal decision that will be different for everyone based on location, means and desires.

Do you have a travel motto?

No. But my favourite saying is “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” Saint Augustine.

Mia Bender

Do you take out travel insurance before going abroad?

Definitely. We have needed to claim several times for broken arms, stolen iPhones and missed flights so well worth it.

In the end, what would you say to dispel common stereotypes about travelling with children?

Kids travel great on planes. I rarely sleep, but my kids sleep and eat and watch movies better then a lot of adults I know. There are things you can’t do with kids. We rarely go out at night, but we do get to do a lot more cool things with kids too. More theme parks and adventure. Moments to sit and smell the roses (while they play at the playground).

Travel with kids can be more exhausting, but it’s also more rewarding.

We thank Bender Family for sharing their unique travel experience and some incredible tips on exploring the world with kids. We wish them to continue their non-stop adventure and inspire other families to follow their dreams and raise their children in the atmosphere of constant learning and discovering this big exciting world.

Read also: Expert's Advice: Curious Travelling Interview with Daniel Noll & Audrey Scott

We accept