Voyaging with Kids

An incredible new resource for parents with kids on board and for all those families thinking about taking their children voyaging who want their questions answered.

Published 9 years ago, updated 5 years ago

By Behan Gifford, Sara Dawn Johnson & Michael Robertson 

From $25-$27.00

Buy this book here.


I have read this book cover to cover and I want to jump on a boat and sail away with my kids NOW!

If you are even remotely considering moving “off-grid” with your children and exploring the world of adventure, whether it be by boat, by RV or simply by travel, this is the book for you (and you can still get it for Christmas!).

Co-authored by three long-term cruising families, from different backgrounds, cruising different parts of the world with different aged children, this is the only book of its type that balances three different points of view with those of over sixty other sailing families who have also contributed to each section. These families have worked out, through trial and error, what works and what doesn’t, and have shared those golden nuggets of information in this great book.

No more scouring the internet for family adventure blogs to glean useful titbits that might help you in your planning. No more nights of doubting the impulse that makes you want to “break out”. This book is direct and packed with advice and suggestions that really work and continue to work for countless cruising families still out there on the high seas who are doing it.

It’s wonderful to be able to read so many opinions and experiences about all the different facets that make up a traveling family, from making that first step to break away from the norm, to living in a confined space together, to socializing in today’s digital age, different approaches to home-schooling and how to re-integrate once a return to “normality” is called for.

I was particularly surprised how much useful information there was in the book that I hadn’t even considered, such as how to deal with the naysayers, how to kid-proof your boat effectively (for all ages!), , getting medical care “out there” and dealing on board with all sorts of medical emergencies, how to find other kids in the hood (and so the list goes on….). The wonderful photographs that illustrate each section broken up with first-person reports in the page side-bar, make this book a joy to read.

My only criticism would be that the book is very much from a North American angle (the authors being from that part of the world). As a European myself, it would have been nice to have seen some input from European cruising families, particularly in the homeschooling section. However, I appreciate that the wildly different regulations outside North America make it impossible to really do any justice to the topic on a general level, and it probably needs a whole book just devoted to the homeschooling subject for liveaboard cruisers.

When I talked to Behan about this, as she took the lead on the homeschooling chapter, she told me that “a surprising number of EU countries make it quite difficult to homeschool and travel. I actually spent a couple of hours on interviews with an attorney that specializes in advocating for homeschoolers in Europe learning about it, which hammered home that it was too much for our scope of work/target audience to include. But I appreciate that you recognized this was a gap. I wish it was easier for EU families to take their kids traveling. I guess that’s why we only infrequently meet EU kids “out there” as cruisers, perhaps?”.

The book ends on a great note with a chapter devoted to former cruising kids. It is fascinating to read about adults who had spent their formative years on boats and how they felt it had shaped their lives. Interestingly, a great many are cruising now with their own families! A very useful bonus to give to family members to read that perhaps aren’t quite so confident in your plans.

Whilst this book is aimed as a guide to family life afloat, it covers a lot of topics that are of interest and useful to any parents considering going long-term traveling with their children. This book will not only help you decide if life on board is for you and your family but will also help you manage that transition and act as a very useful reference on board for ideas and guidance as the children grow up in this unique environment.

A book like this is long overdue and will undoubtedly encourage and help a great many families discover the joy and rewards of voyaging with their children.

Well done Behan, Sara, and Michael.

Perhaps there is a follow up in the making written by the cruising kids themselves?

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