July 17, 2024

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Jessica Gee, ‘Bucket List Family,’ Talks About Travel With Kids

4 min read

Jessica and Garrett Gee, the parents known as “The Bucket List Family” to their millions of followers on social media, have visited more than 90 countries with their children over the years.

The family started their journey together in August 2015. Since then, Jessica tells TODAY.com that “as soon as there’s a school break, we’re normally on the road.”

Jessica recently released her first book, “Bucket List Family Travel,” on Feb. 6, which chronicles the family’s adventures and gives advice for family-friendly traveling.

Gee Family Travels
The cover of Jessica Gee’s new book, “Bucket List Family Travel.”Courtesy Garrett Gee

Along with the amazing moments, Gee has her share of travel horror stories.

She recalls a time when the family was in Miami heading to the Caribbean, and they didn’t make it to the gate in time for the flight. She says her son, Manilla, fell and split his lip open, and everything turned into “just chaos.”

“I remember thinking to myself, ‘I want to go home,'” Gee tells TODAY.com.

“Then I had a realization where I was like, ‘I don’t have a home.’ A couple of seconds later, it sounds cheesy, I was like, ‘This is my home, these people are my home.’ It doesn’t matter where I am, right?”

The hard part of travel, she notes, “also kind of sweetens the good times.”

Gee Family Travels
The family has been traveling since August 2015.Courtesy Garrett Gee

Another time, the whole family got sick in Fiji when Jessica and the kids had to leave, while Garett stayed back. She says the whole flight turned into a disaster while everyone was sick.

“You got to be prepared enough for when things to go wrong,” she tells TODAY.com. “Being prepared in a way that when things do go wrong, that you have the financial means and the ability to miss a day, stuff like that. Just be ready to roll with the punches.”

On the same trip in Fiji where the whole family got sick, Gee says she and the family had one of their best moments traveling when they all went out to surf.

“Everybody was surfing, everybody was catching waves,” Gee says. “Every kid is smiling, and the rest of the day, everyone was just like, ‘That was the best.’ Those are some of the best moments as a family, when you all get to participate together and you all find joy in the same thing. That’s what you hope for, I think, as a parent, finding joy together.”

Gee Family Travels
When things don’t go to plan, Gee says it’s always important to go with the flow.Courtesy Garrett Gee

Even when plans change, Gee says being prepared to go with the flow allows the family to turn unplanned problems into spontaneous fun. She recalls a time when the family were flying from Chile to the Falkland Islands, when the plane was hit with too much wind and had to turn around.

“So we turn around and we go back to Chile, we end up in just the most random hotel in southern Chile in this random town,” Gee tells TODAY.com. “It was St. Patrick’s Day, and I remember still doing all the things for the leprechaun to come to our house..”

“Even in the jankiest hotel room you could think of, it still just makes for really special moments,” she continues.

Gee Family Travels
The family moved into their permanent home in 2018 after three years of consistent travel.Courtesy Garrett Gee

The Gee family spent three years on the road before finding a permanent home in Hawaii in 2018.

Gee says travelling has actually been more difficult now that the trips are shorter.

“To me, it’s actually harder, the one-off trips,” Gee says. “They’re exhausting, I pack the exact same for those trips that I do for like three months’ summer vacation. … On a shorter trips, I feel like I just miss my bed, I miss my routine.”

Making a permanent home in Hawaii has allowed her kids to attend school regularly and do activities their parents didn’t want them to miss, like sports and dance. Gee says that she’d love to homeschool, but it’s “not for me.” It took the kids some time to get used to sleeping in the same bed for an extended period, Gee says.

“Our second son Manila, he was on the road from 11 months until 4 years old. He would go to bed in a different bed every night,” Gee says. “He was so used to sleeping wherever … it was an adjustment for him.”

Her kids have settled into a comfortable routine now that they have a home base, Gee says. But they’ll always keep travelling.

“I would love people to understand that there is more out there … It actually can be affordable if you save for it,” she says. “And I didn’t ever have a plan to travel around the world. But I’m super grateful to know what’s out there. And the more you see, the more you want to add to your bucket list.”


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