This month I’ve joined some of my fellow family travel bloggers on a blog hop. Each blogger has provided their top family travel tips, so you can jump from blog to blog and read all of our expert advice.
Family Travel Tips:
Let’s face it. Traveling with kids is not easy. These tiny people run on their own schedules. They need a mid-morning or afternoon nap, regular feedings, constant supervision & a suitcase full of diapers, toys or books.
But even with kids, the world can still be your playground. It’s just different, slower, and far more rewarding. It’s an amazing feeling to see your child’s face light up while gazing at the twinkling lights of the Eiffel Tower, to watch them scarf down fresh conch salad on a Caribbean island, or to hear them say “hello” in a foreign language.
All you need is a bit of extra planning and a whole lot of patience, and you too can travel with kids.
1. Set a treat & souvenir budget. Prior to departing on your trip, discuss with your kids how much money Mom and Dad will spend on treats and souvenirs. $25 for the week? $5 per day? Let kids know in advance that anything over that amount will be on their own dime. This is a great lesson in money management, helps cut down on the “I wants” and forces kids to choose their trinkets more carefully.
2. Bring Wet Ones. When was the last time the tray table on the airplane was REALLY cleaned? Have you seen your child’s face after eating ice cream? I carry Wet Ones packets in my purse and in our travel backpack, so they are always on hand.
3. Try local foods, but keep kid favorites on hand. Let kids experience local foods. My kids always try a bite of local cuisine whenever we travel. Nine times out of ten, they like it. For those times that nothing is available they will eat, keep favorite granola bars, animal crackers or other easy to pack snacks in your travel bag. This is also helpful if you get stuck on a bus longer than expected and need to keep the hunger monster at bay.
A stash of lollipops or other treats can also be a life saver to head off a meltdown or allow for a few more minutes of peaceful dining.
4. Agree to have one parent activity and one kid activity per day. Before you jet off, research the areas you plan to visit as a family. Discuss with the kids all the things you want to do, and help them pick out places they want to see. Each day, plan one parent activity and one child activity. If the kids know in advance that after visiting a museum they get to go to the cool park with the dragon, the museum is usually more bearable. They know what to expect, and might even enjoy looking at all the those paintings.
5. Teach older kids history, but make it cool. Make the places you visit come alive with fun facts. Play up the battles for boys or explain to girls how other kids dressed “back in the day.” Ask if they would want to wear those types of clothes. Make history interesting and avoid the drone like tone of your high school history teacher.
Family travelers may have more luggage and may see less at each destination than a solo traveler, but the memories made together as a family are priceless. Who knows – the love of travel you help instill in your child at an early age, could open new educational and career doors for them in the future.
Don’t forget to visit these blogs for more great tips: