An open letter to the Daily Telegraph – Why you SHOULD take your children on foreign holidays

An open letter to the Daily Telegraph – Why you SHOULD take your children on foreign holidays

Last week I read this article – the science why you shouldn’t take your children on foreign holidays! It really irked me on the first read but the more I have thought about it and on second read it has annoyed me even more! So I wanted to pen a response to why I think you should take your children on foreign holidays. But first I’m going to dissect why this article really irritated me. 

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The title! The title states – the science behind why you shouldn’t take your child on foreign holidays! So what scientific research has been conducted to generate this article. NONE! This piece admittedly was written by Oliver James, a UK based child psychologist! However the evidence put forth in this article seems purely anecdotal with little empirical basis beyond his own family who took nine years of holidays to Cornwall before going to France! It seems his children hated France and therein lies the science why you shouldn’t take your children on foreign holidays! This is not science! I am sure there are many factors why this was the holiday his children didn’t like, not simply because it was the one foreign holiday they took! How can an trained, professional psychologist make such an outrageous claim with no empirical evidence to support it! 

For James, what children need is familiar and unadventurous holidays! This to him means repetition, reasonably warm and ice cream nearby! Why – because apparently until children hit near teens they are completely unequipped to deal with foreign travel! From my limited experience of travelling with my one year old and from experiences of people around me, I have only seen positive effects of travel! 

Admittedly not all of our travel experiences have been successful but without doubt our worst experience was a UK based holiday! Not because it was a ‘home’ holiday but because he accommodation was not what it billed to be! Does this mean I should tell people not to do uk travel – of course not that would be as absurd as James claim that foreign travel is bad for children! 

Now, surprisingly given the title of my article I am not advocating for only foreign travel. I actually thing that any travel, be it a day out with the family to a country park, or a 2 week holiday in the sun is beneficial to children and even more importantly the quality time families spend together! 

But for me, and I think many others, foreign travel with children is something they cherish! 

I recently wrote about why we have and we will continue to travel with our baby ! And I stand by them! I love travelling with out baby – in fact the whole ethos of our blog is inspiring other parents to travel with babies! Now do I believe travelling stays the same when you have babies – absolutely not! And it would be selfish to think it could but it can be adapted. We travel at a much slower pace! And in fact we love this new slower pace. 

We also as I am sure James will be happy to know, keep a structure to our travel days to make sure baby enjoys our travel too! We also make sure we plan activities and meals that we know our baby will love. It takes a bit more research but is well worth it! Also I want my daughter to grow up with a curious, accepting and flexible soul! Foreign travel can certaintly encourage this! 

If you are an expat like us, travel is the only way in which we can connect with and let our baby bond with family! 

I think all these reasons show why – if you want to, you should take foreign holidays with children and not feel guilty about it! 

So in future Daily Telegraph – if you are going to publish “scientific” articles make sure there is empirical, peer reviewed science actually in them! And perhaps accept that holidays, whether day trips at home, holidays in the U.K. and/or foreign travel can all be beneficial to children if you do them right! 

 Part of #marvmondays 


  1. May 22, 2017 / 9:03 am

    Totally agree and although holidays with kids are very different, life is about making memories and I love travelling with our kids! Thanks for joining us for #marvmondays

  2. May 22, 2017 / 6:22 pm

    Children should absolutely travel. You make a good point in that, how else are they going to see family? Family is not always going to be able to visit you, you must make the effort to go to them. And that means packing up and taking the children traveling. You mentioned of course that it is not always easy but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be taken along. When they get a little older, the experiences will be remembered forever. Nice letter.

  3. May 22, 2017 / 6:23 pm

    It’s always been important for us to have our daughters experience different parts of the world so they can see what type of opportunities they have. So if you could start traveling with your little ones, go and do it as often as you can.

  4. May 22, 2017 / 7:08 pm

    Totally agree. There is so much you can teach children through travel. Great post

  5. May 23, 2017 / 5:45 pm

    Such an insight and I totally agree. Can proudly say, just back from a 2 weeks long foreign trip with my little daughter and she enjoyed every bit of it. As well as learnt a lot of new things

    • May 23, 2017 / 6:10 pm

      Good for you – I’m sure she had a fantastic time ?

  6. May 24, 2017 / 3:45 am

    That was a tough article, yes, agreeing with the wandermusts, I must say that, yes travelling with the baby evokes a change for them and you too. With the family it is always different and better. Hope you keep enjoying the slower pace, jus till you need you! All the best for your future endeavors.

  7. May 24, 2017 / 7:12 am

    Totally agree. Travel is a great way to teach children (and adults) so much! #familyfun

  8. May 24, 2017 / 9:49 am

    Great post and I totallly agree. We emigrated to NZ 9 years ago and before that we took out two babies all over the world. It’s the best ever!

  9. May 24, 2017 / 8:56 pm

    Well obviously I think everyone should bring their child on holiday to Cornwall and more specifically Coombe Mill! If I park that idea for a moment then hell yes foreign travel is great. We took our eldest a couple of times in his first year and it was perfect. The logistics all got too much with 6 under 6 but not many have that problem. #BloggerclubUK

    • May 25, 2017 / 11:50 am

      6 under 6 – wow super mum! I think any travel Cornwall or Kathmandu is great for children especially when it’s filled with family time

  10. May 25, 2017 / 1:53 am

    What an absurd statement for them to make. I’m not going to click on their article and give them the page view, but I think everybody would agree that travel and seeing new places and cultures is great for kids. Sometimes I think these articles are purposefully trying to antagonize #familyfun

  11. May 25, 2017 / 6:52 am

    Completely agree. We’ve always taken our children on foreign holidays from 6 months old and they have both loved every single one.

  12. May 25, 2017 / 8:18 pm

    How rediculous. How can exposing little ones to the many cultures, tradions, foods and lauguages of the world be a bad thing???

  13. May 25, 2017 / 9:26 pm

    Totally agree with you. This is the typical nonsense you get from the Mail. We’re big fans of traveling and Little Bear is fine with it, but it’s also great for us, and that’s something the Mail neglected. Parents count too, and unless your kid is traumatised by being too far from an ice-cream van, what’s the problem?

    Ironically we also have three regular holiday places we go to every year to see family. All are outside the UK and Little Bear loves them all.

  14. May 25, 2017 / 9:29 pm

    I completely agree. I think travel teaches our children lessons that they cant possibly learn in the classroom. #bloggerclubuk

  15. May 26, 2017 / 1:19 pm

    Of course children should travel. Not only is it great family time, but they can learn so much.

  16. May 26, 2017 / 1:34 pm

    Well I’m glad I didn’t read that article. I am, obviously, completely with yoh on this one. I have a nearly 3 year old and an early 2 year old and they have been on more foreign holidays in their short lives then some have ever I expect. They know no different and I wholeheartedly believe they enjoy it and love it. I think it does them nothing but good for so many reasons and I could advocate foreign travel until I am blue in the face. Thanks for joining us at #familyfun

  17. May 27, 2017 / 2:16 pm

    What a completely stupid original article by Oliver James. I couldn’t agree with him less and you more. I feel my children’s lives are so enriched but they travel experiences and am proud they are global citizens #familyfun

  18. May 27, 2017 / 9:25 pm

    Classic misleading headline and ridiculous statement – kids love holidays full stop. Here or abroad. #familyfun xx

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