Overseas travel with a child in primary school

JohnK

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Please don't judge me but looking for some thoughts.

Travel has opened up again but finances are not what they used to be so need to restrict travel to 2 trips to Thailand a year. The plan is the trips will be 3-4 weeks duration to maximise time spent holidaying but for the next 3-4 years that will come at a cost.

I was going to plan the trips for April and October school holidays but checking airfares for April next year and apart from SQ they are nothing short of ridiculous. So I've been looking at January and they are actually reasonable so we'll travel January and July.

My daughter started prep this year and went to school for 4-5 weeks and will not be back until the last term this year. So she will miss quite a bit of school. Not a huge inconvenience but she will be quite a way behind her classmates when she returns. She still can't read.

Plans going forward will be each trip will start 1 week before school holidays start and return 1 week after school holidays have ended.

Is this likely to have a huge effect on daughter missing a couple weeks of school twice a year? We will ask teacher for homework if possible and daughter can catch up overseas.

The way it's looking for first trip next year is daughter will miss first 2 weeks, possibly 3 weeks.

On the other hand she'll continue to have experiences that other kids only dream about. At nearly 6 years old she has taken more flights than most adults take in a lifetime and she has stayed in more hotels than most adults will stay in a lifetime.

Daughter loves flying. Daughter loves hotels. She will be doing something she enjoys.

Please don't judge me but I still want to travel but don't want to travel without my family. Obviously when she goes to high school we need to rethink the strategy but it's so difficult to get around the expensive airfares during school holidays.
 

Princess Fiona

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Basic strategy sounds good but I wouldn’t personally have my kid missing the first one to two or three. weeks of the first term every year in primary or secondary.
Not so important mid year but at the start, they have new teacher, routine, some new class mates likely and it’s ok to miss that once or twice but it would be hard regularly for her to settle in doing this every year.
It’s not the effect on academic stuff it’s the social / belonging side of things and it’s so important when you are a little girl.
 
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The first few weeks of any school year are almost the most important so as a teacher in a previous life, though secondary students, if you can avoid this I would if possible. I also had an idea that in some states it was becoming more difficult for parents to take students out of term time. That may have gone now as it was a while ago. The experiences that travel provides can outweigh any missed school time. Are you thinking that daughter may attend school in Thailand while there or you won’t be there long enough fit that. I know someone whose kids would go to school in Italy when they were there for a month or so.
 

robinsparkles

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I think the first couple of weeks of school in any grade are so important from a settling in/forming friendship groups/getting comfortable perspective especially as a younger child, I wouldn't do it.
 

kpc

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I think my kids missed maybe 1 day of school in their schooling life because of travelling OS (had to leave last day of school to get to NYC via HK), and they have been OS a lot. It is better to miss time at the end of term as opposed to the beginning as already mentioned above if it is a must. The trick with school holiday travel is to book as soon as the booking window opens to get the best prices / award flights. It is already too late for April school hols next year as the cheapest fares /awards have already been snapped up....everyone with kids wants to travel in school hols and the airlines / hotels etc know this.
 

jb747

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I guess you’ll have to come back and pick them up when they finish primary school.
 

NoName

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To me this is a decision only you can make as the parent. People can give opinions on what they would do but ultimately up to you what you think is best. Personally I have always been a stickler for not missing any school time except for illness. Probably because that’s what my parents were like with me. To me, school holidays are the times for family travel. Yes, it’s much more expensive but that’s the way it is.
 

JohnK

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Thanks all some very good suggestions worth reading.

@Princess Fiona and @love_the_life I hadn't considered the beginning of the year is very important for a child at school. I'm not too concerned about the beginning of later terms.

I'm not planning too far ahead and I need to see how everything goes and take things from there.

Trips will be 4 weeks long with 2 weeks in Pattaya (or 1 week Pattaya and 1 week somewhere else) and 2 weeks Chiang Mai. Not enough time for daughter to go to school but I'm certainly not against the idea of taking homework with us.

Again at this stage I'm not looking at 4 trips x 2 week duration per trip as airfares are not cheap especially at school holidays. Sure I can book ~12 months in advance but 2 week trips are just not feasible.

I hadn't considered if there are going to be any obstacles from teachers or education department department about daughter missing some time at school. I can worry about that one later if necessary.

Once daughter gets older and obviously school is more important then need to consider leaving daughter with her uncle and grandparents but that's quite a few years away.

I've checked again and can see cheap airfares for 25 March - 25 April so daughter will more than likely miss1 week either side. Too early to consider planning September/October.

I'm not being selfish but I want/need a holiday as well as a lot of work needs to be done after our house is built. Also need to ensure that wife goes back home often otherwise she will get homesick as has been the case the past couple of years.
 

Matt_01

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I have been travelling with our daughter for quite a few years during school holidays, if required for longer trips we will take her out of school around 1-2 weeks at the end on term rather than the start.
 

jase05

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We regularly took our lad out of school for up to 3-4 weeks at a time but usually in T2 or T3 as that suited our schedule better. The teachers were great with giving him work to do whilst away and we would try to set aside a little bit of time each day for homework. We would also try to squeeze in plenty of museum and exhibitions where he could learn some pretty cool stuff. He was lucky enough to have 4 visits to Disneyland HK and 2 to Disneyland Paris before his first visit to the Gold Coast theme parks 🤣
 

snabbu

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Personally I would put my kids education above a cheaper airfare a couple of times a year, especially if as you say she will be/is behind her classmates.
 

kpc

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Yeah schools can be a bit antsy when it comes to leaving term early or starting late because of OS travel. My kids' schools required a letter in advance to the principal outlining the reasons etc for permission which was never guaranteed. I also was payng school fees so wanted to get my money's worth! The only time they missed school (one day which was the last day of term) I told a white lie and said they were sick :(
 

JohnK

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I have been travelling with our daughter for quite a few years during school holidays, if required for longer trips we will take her out of school around 1-2 weeks at the end on term rather than the start.
Is there a huge difference between beginning of year or beginning of each term?

I'll need to rethink my strategy but short of not going on holidays I cannot see how I can make this work.

Interesting statement from Queensland Education

"In Queensland, the department states that holidays during term time should be "actively discouraged". Any absences of more than 10 consecutive school days require require an exemption."

Family reasons is listed as one of the acceptable reasons but I'm not planning on taking her out of school too long.

So looks like 11 days in March/April next year may be a small issue (but should be ok). It's necessary that I plan around the 10 days of Songkran in April as holiday can be wasted during this time. The 10 days in September/October should be OK.
 

offshore171

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Thanks all some very good suggestions worth reading.

@Princess Fiona and @love_the_life I hadn't considered the beginning of the year is very important for a child at school. I'm not too concerned about the beginning of later terms.

I agree with the others about not missing the start of the school year. That's when the children form friendship groups for the year and bond with the new teacher.

I'm not planning too far ahead and I need to see how everything goes and take things from there.

Trips will be 4 weeks long with 2 weeks in Pattaya (or 1 week Pattaya and 1 week somewhere else) and 2

Holy cow, definitely go with the "somewhere else" option!

Pattaya is literally the worst place I have ever visited. Went once on a Europe stopover deal. It was one of those places where you couldn't wait to get the hell out, and I wouldn't dream of taking a young child there. That's just my experience though, YMMV.
 
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daft009

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my son started kindy in Jan 22.
we didn't send him till around wk5 of term 1
wanted him to turn 5 so he could get vaxed and we have a another little bubba who we were waiting for him to get his 6 month jabs.

first 2 weeks were hard but then he settled right in.

if school is okay, then go for it.

if your daughter can't read yet. get her started on the paid version of the "reading eggs" app on a tablet/ipad.
my son is reading us simple books every night, its so awesome to see them developing

we will be missing the last week of term 3 as we wanted to escape before my wife finishes maternity leave so we see how we go with school
 

JohnK

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I agree with the others about not missing the start of the school year. That's when the children form friendship groups for the year and bond with the new teacher.



Holy cow, definitely go with the "somewhere else" option!

Pattaya is literally the worst place I have ever visited. Went once on a Europe stopover deal. It was one of those places where you couldn't wait to get the hell out, and I wouldn't dream of taking a young child there. That's just my experience though, YMMV.
I totally agree now that daughter has to be there at beginning of each year.

I'm not yet convinced that she needs to be there for the beginning of each term.

My biggest issue with Songkran next year is it's smack bang right around Easter at the end of school holidays. My preference at this stage is to try and avoid travel at that stage.

There's also Anzac Day on 25 April and next year it's a Tuesday. I want to come back from overseas on that day not be back here on the weekend and have a day off here on the Tuesday. Lose 2-3 days holidays for nothing.

What's wrong with Pattaya? The sex scene? The sex scene is not visible to anyone as it's behind closes doors? Agogos? Bar girls? Massage girls? Im comfortable with all of those. My wife is comfortable with them too. In fact she loves Pattaya. More choice of food. We cant stand Bangkok. Pattaya is much cheaper than coughet and way cheaper than Hua Hin. coughet has a sex scene but thats acceptable? Plus Hua Hin is boring but there's a sex scene there too. And Chiang Mai also has a sex scene. All of the other places are OK for a visit but not regularly.
 

offshore171

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What's wrong with Pattaya?

Since you asked, it's tacky, polluted, crowded and full of creepy sex tourists.

In fairness, my visit was pre-covid, it may have changed?

I personally found it awful and wouldn't dream of taking my young kids there. There are so many nicer places in this world to visit. If the only drawcard is food, there's plenty of places with fantastic food. Singapore hawker markets, nearly any Izakaya in Japan, Korea, Taiwan...

Pattaya is much cheaper than coughet and way cheaper than Hua Hin.

There are reasons a place is cheaper.
 
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Since you asked, it's tacky, polluted, crowded and full of creepy sex tourists.

In fairness, my visit was pre-covid, it may have changed?

I personally found it awful and wouldn't dream of taking my young kids there. There are so many nicer places in this world to visit. If the only drawcard is food, there's plenty of places with fantastic food. Singapore hawker markets, nearly any Izakaya in Japan, Korea, Taiwan...



There are reasons a place is cheaper.
JohnK understands Thai culture very well - they often go there for a break so I wouldn't have any worries about him not knowing how to manage with their daughter as she goes with them as well. Thailand is where they visit as they are raising their daughter in their 2 cultures.
 

offshore171

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JohnK understands Thai culture very well - they often go there for a break so I wouldn't have any worries about him not knowing how to manage with their daughter as she goes with them as well. Thailand is where they visit as they are raising their daughter in their 2 cultures.

Ok fair enough. That wasn't clear at all in the first post, it reads more like they are going on holiday rather than visiting relatives etc. There was also the mention that they were open to going "somewhere else".
 
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