Experts have found out that travel can expand a kid’s world, making them more empathetic toward cultural differences and helping them adapt to changing situations. Travel can be an enlightening and eye opening experience for children of all ages: from trying out new foods to amazing experiences and sights, not to mention quality family time. Traveling with children makes them open to try new things and less cautious of people and scenarios that are not familiar to them.
The thought and act of traveling with your children for the first time can be overwhelming. What most parents do not know is that you can go on vacation with children and actually relax.
Traveling with your children and giving them the best experience could vary from child to child and from age to age.
What might seem fun to a toddler would obviously not be fun for a teenager.
Here are few tips to make your travel easier and fun for any child.
Children in the newborn to age 2 range are the easiest to travel with in many respects, Children this age are quite portable, you can take them anywhere and keep them happy as long as you create a relaxed atmosphere for them and keep them on their routine.”
Ensure you bring along your infant’s favorite toys and books while on your vacation, and don’t keep him or her strapped in a baby carrier or stroller for too long— give your baby some space to walk and get some exercise; if your infant isn’t walking yet, he or she can still stretch on a mat or crawl around.
Toddlers are a fun age because they will start to fit into place in the different sights around them. The more open space your toddler has to run around, the happier he or she will be.
The major key to keeping children 5 and older engaged on a family trip is to get them involved in the planning, even in a small way, when you get them to pick what they would love to do during the vacation, the more engaged and interested they’d be.
Give your children an opportunity to choose between several activities, let them pick the one or two that appeal to them the most.
Having teenagers around can be overwhelming at some point. Nevertheless, one of the ways to keep teenagers engaged is to have them take ownership in planning a part of your trip. Let them choose a couple of things in the planning process, be it sights for exploring, places to lodge or meals to choose from. Whatever it may be, get them involved in the planning process.
When you get to your destination, squeeze out an alone time for them, allow them explore places on their own. As long as they are safe, they’d forever treasure this moment.
A little preparation before and while travelling will go a long way to give you that vacation you desire with your children.
Here are few tips to help you enjoy your vacation with your children:
- Do everything ahead of time
When traveling with your children, everything will take longer than expected including:
- Checking in at the airport
- Buying snacks and drinks
- Boarding the plane
Ensure you get to the airport early just in case things want to go wrong, you’d have time to fix it.
- Don’t Over pack
Traveling with children might get you thinking that you need to pack everything they use at home, but that’s a terribly bad idea. Some of the stress of traveling with children is thinking about everything you need to carry along to keep them content and happy at your destination.
Instead of packing everything they use at home, pack as little as possible. Pack only what you need. The less you bring, the easier it is to pack, the less you have to carry, and the more room you have for souvenirs.
- Pre-Book Everything before you hit the road
Your pre-booking should not just end in booking a flight, you don’t show up at a destination with children and start picking a place to stay! You might be used to it though but this doesn’t work with children
You should know where you’re staying before you arrive. When you arrive in a new place, you’ll want to go straight to your lodging, drop your bags, and give your children a chance to rest, especially after a long journey.
However, pre-booking doesn’t end with flights and lodging, either. In addition to lodging and flights, items you can book ahead of time include private and public transportation, sightseeing tours, tickets for museums or Cinema. Book as many as you’re sure you will need ahead of time and you will have more time to relax and enjoy your destination when you get there.
- Choosing the location.
If your children love to swim, rent a house with a pool or go to the beach, where you can spend your days splashing water and laughing. If they love camping, have fun exploring a new campsite. If everyone is happy, there will be less whining and dissatisfaction, and more time spent truly making memories and enjoying being together.
When you travel with children, its more comfortable to stay in a rented home or suite instead of a single hotel room whenever possible.
- Explain the Trip
If there are too many new things going on, children tend to get uncomfortable and when they are uncomfortable, they are not just happy.
Decide before you get on the highway what the ride will look like for your children, and communicate it to them. Everything from maps to stops along the way.
Going over an outline of the trip and what will be happening can help children understand their situation at each point in the trip. They will know what to expect next, and as a result, will be more comfortable with what’s going on around them.
Explaining the trip can include telling them what they can expect at the airport, on the plane, and once they arrive at your destination.
- Accept Things Will Go Wrong
Whenever you travel with children, THINGS WILL GO WRONG AT SOME POINT!
Maybe your little one has to go to the bathroom and you end up missing a bus, or your child running into someone carrying a meal and pours the food all over the floor.
There is really nothing you can do to avoid these situations. The sooner you accept the unavoidable, the less constant worry you will feel when it happens.
Remember, travel is an adventure and a time to bond with your children. Even if it has a few speed bumps, the experience you’re giving your children is irreplaceable.
- Ensure Adequate Safety and Security
It is easy to be engrossed in logistical problems, but you always need to make sure you have an eye on your children. You never know when they wander off to check out a cool view or buy a candy and then can’t find his way back to you.
No matter what you’re doing, whether things are going smoothly or not always make sure you know where your children are.
If you’re traveling alone with the children, be sure that they stay in view at all times. If necessary, hold their hands or have them sit within reach.
- Travel With Basic Medicines
Whether your child has an upset stomach from the bumpy bus ride to your destination, or a splitting headache or you find a new kind of tree pollen you are allergic to, you want to be prepared to make everyone feel better as quickly as possible.
Prepare for the unavoidable messes and motion sickness as well. If you’re prepared, you can clean up quickly and go about your way. Keep a bag within arm’s reach (not in the trunk under your suitcase)
It’s always a good idea to take a few medications your family might need while traveling. This may include:
- Headache medicines
- Allergy medicines
- Medicine for upset stomachs
- Motion sickness prevention medication
- Travel with Electronic Devices
One way to keep children entertained while traveling is to let them use personal electronics. If your children are engrossed in a game on your iPad, you may get some peace to enjoy on your own.
Nothing opens children’s minds like new experiences, and you’ll get plenty of new experiences no matter where you travel. From food to transportation, architecture, and landscape, everything you do will be exciting and new for your little ones.
Next time you want to travel with your children, don’t get scared! Take them along and enjoy every moment.