How to Travel With Kids and Make Everyone Happy

One of the best experiences you can give your kids is traveling to new, different places. They will grow as people creating unforgettable memories with you. Here’s how you can level up your next family trip.

Involve them in the planning process

Children of all ages will be more interested in the trip if you involve them in the planning process. For younger children, ask them about one or two things they want to do and have some realistic options they can choose from. Use Minitime , Out to Eat with Kids , Best Kid Friendly Travel, and friends and family recommendations to find kids-friendly spots. If you have older children, they can help with planning details such as booking tickets, finding out the hours of your destination, and helping you plan what you want to do on which day. Involving the children in planning, or at least explaining the details of the trip before they leave, gives them an idea of ​​what will happen and also outlines your expectations.

Depending on the age of your kids, you can use travel planning as a chance to teach them skills such as budgeting , travel time tracking, and staying healthy away from routine. You should also set a souvenir spending limit at the start of your trip. This will help contain requests for toys or gifts wherever you go. For a cheap souvenir, ask them to select postcards from different locations while on vacation, and then frame them when you get home. You can also talk to them about the importance of social skills, such as compromise, to make sure everyone on the trip is happy.

If you have one child who still needs sleep and the other is older, take turns observing them with your partner . One of you may be staying with the napping child, while the other may take the older children to a special event of their choice. You have the opportunity to spend time alone with each of your children and take a break from each other.

If your family travels during the school year , you may also need to work with your students and their teachers to figure out how they can stay on top of their school assignments – for example, make a special project about your trip and then present it to students. class upon return. I once did a report on how cruise ships operate while cruising and the team did the galley and bridge tours as a result, which was a lot of fun.

Prepare for your trip

When preparing to travel with children, you should consider the following main points :

  • Bring snacks and entertainment with you to keep you busy both on the plane / train / car and when you need time to relax. By paying attention to both of these factors, you are reducing the main sources of bad transport behavior: low blood sugar and boredom.
  • Whenever possible, plan your trip to and from your destination during periods when you know your children are likely to sleep, and avoid periods when they tend to be energetic.
  • Take time to explore the culture and history of the places you visit in advance. This will give you the opportunity to make the information available to your children so that they have a context for what they are experiencing. Rick Steves recommends that children read books (both fiction and non-fiction) that take place at your destination.
  • Remember that travel (especially long plane flights) makes everyone feel uncomfortable – bring refreshing items (such as wipes or moisturizing sprays ) and are ready to help your kids enjoy the trip.

You can use travel time as an opportunity for your children to learn more about your destination. If they helped with the planning process, focus on what they suggested and tell them more about the place or activity.

Keep them involved when you get there

Keeping them interested is your key to an unforgettable and fun trip with your kids. For example, when I was a child, my mother always asked me to tell her three things that were different between where we were and our hometown. It made me look up from the phone and interest me in such a way that I became critical of my life compared to where we were.

Help your child document their point of view and keep a diary during the holidays. You can ask them a question every day to stimulate their thinking and writing – this is not a travel journal, it is an opportunity for them to draw or write about what they feel, hear and see. Rough Guides offers to give your youngest kids a rugged or disposable photography camera.

Our very own Melanie Pinola invites you to use this new experience as a time to introduce your child to new habits as well. If they are picky about their food, explain that trying new foods is part of the adventure. If you want them to walk more (instead of pushing them in the stroller), try getting them to walk in between classes.

It can be difficult to keep the attention of your children (and yourself) when everyone is tired, hungry, or stressed. In tense moments, take a step back and see if any of this could be the cause. If so, you have an easy way to improve everyone’s mood, since you know what that source is. If they act for another reason, be prepared to discipline them using the same consequences as at home . For example, if they have a tantrum in a restaurant or museum, take them outside.

Remember the benefits (for you and for them)

Traveling with kids can be exhausting and expensive, but in the end, you give them an amazing life experience. You offer them the opportunity to develop empathy for other people by teaching them about other cultures and lifestyles. This is an experience that they can use in later life. For me, sharing travel stories with other people is one of the most common ways to transform small talk into memorable conversations that fostered closer friendships. You can potentially rekindle a love of exploration for a lifetime, experience different things because they are different (like other cultural practices), and appreciate those whose lifestyles are very different from your own.

As YTravel points out , kids make you experience completely different travel experiences (slower travel, visiting sites you wouldn’t otherwise see, making you experience things from a child’s perspective). Plus, you share your life experiences with locals and other travelers. My Little Nomads sums it up well:

You are sharing something with the locals that other travelers do not know. Even the most jaded and suspicious taxi driver or speculator will let their guard down when they see your children. He will talk about his children, where he lives, and how last year his whole family traveled north by train to the mountains, to a small village where his mother still lives.

Children learn so much from the world around them and you can give them an unforgettable educational experience by introducing them to life outside of their own backyard.

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