The trend is growingly becoming popular with families who want to have a vacation but also know the truth behind going on any vacation with kids – jet lags, kid fights, and kids getting tired with all the adventures.
“It’s not fun for the adults unless the kids are having fun,” says Nina Sadjadpour a mother of kids aged 4 and 8.
To help, now more parents can find like minded parents as travel playdates while they are on a vacation thanks to websites like Tripping.com, Courchsurfing.org, BeWelcome.org, Servas.org, PassPorter.com and CruiseMates.com.
Families are also searching for playmates at popular family forums and even twitter.
Kyle McCarthy, CEO of FamilyTravelForum.com says, “Younger parents are more open to it and more interested in it, we see even more of it with single parents.”
The choices too are unlimited depending on the family’s preferences. Some wish to stay over with a local family while on a trip. Others make arrangements online and meet for a afternoon lunch or dinner. Still others prefer to collaborate with other travelling families and spend time together while their kids play.
Different travelers though have a different opinion about this growing trend.
Amber Johnson a mom who blogs at CrazyBlogginCanuck.com says, “We’re inundated with playdates and friends in our everyday lives, so when we do a family vacation, I want it to be just about our family. I am not closed off to meeting locals, but I want it to be more natural.”
But Colleen Lanin, editor of the blog TravelMamas.com feels these playdates can be a good break from the trip.
“It winds up being one of the highlights of my trips,” said Lanin, who has two children, ages 3 and 6. “The kids love it; they’re social, too.”
Julia Popcowa, a Russian mother living in Poland has taken the concept further and has been organizing annual weekend events for travelling families. Families from France, Germany, Ireland and China have already enjoyed the weekend events like hiking, yoga, kayaking and campfire together.
She also feels it is a great way to make friends from different parts of the world.
“Children can find their way easily,” added Popcowa “It’s really very nice. The children are playing, and you can have some time to yourself.”
The mother of two has already hosted 25 families in her home in Warsaw and stayed with families she met online when they traveled to Armenia, Algeria, Italy and Germany.
Jen O’Neal, CEO and founder of Tripping.com never though he would get response from so many families.
“We didn’t go after families at all,” O’Neal said. “We assumed it would be mostly backpackers and students, but a lot of families are very open to the world.”
To ensure the security aspect, the website encourages members to rate other local families and write about their experience. The company also verifies proof of identity and has an emergency call number for travelers who may run into a problem.
Other websites too have their stringent rules before a family is added to the list of local families a traveler may visit.
But many travelers also have their own way of getting acquainted with other families initially online or meeting once or twice.
Sadjadpour believes, it is a great way to introduce kids to different cultures.
“This is a terrific way to infuse our kids at a young age with the culture bug,” she said. “Maybe they will grow up and they will take off on their own.”