Before you had children, were you someone who loved an adventure? Lived to travel? Did you stop travelling just because the kids had arrived in your life? Well you can’t use that as an excuse anymore. Children love to travel overseas as much as any adult, and probably more so, because they don’t have to organize or pay for it.
Kids get very excited when meeting new and exotic people and discovering new destinations. Plane travel is another exiting event for children. The only difference between you and your children is that they have a shorter attention span and will tire more easily.
Here are eight tips that will help you achieve an amazing holiday where your kids will be a joy to travel with.
Keep them warm (or cool) and dry.
As an adult, you know how uncomfortable it can be if you are too hot or too cold. Children are more susceptible to these temperature extremes and they can get very angry, distressed or even quite ill. If you are going to a cold climate, make sure they have thermals, hats and warm socks as well as waterproof gear. If it is hot, try not to be in the sun too much and make sure that they drink plenty of water.
Balance out each day with a play in a park.
Kids need to run around and stretch their muscles. If you don’t allocate active time each day, they will become very fidgety and annoyed. I suggest that you schedule grown up activities in the morning and then find a place to play either after lunch or later in the afternoon.
Let them decide on one of the day’s activities.
Children are intelligent and should be treated with respect when planning activities. Their faces will light up with pride if you encourage them to be the decision maker for a daily activity. These activities might range from buying a gelato in Italy to watching the camels race in Dubai.
Give them a cheap camera to document their holiday.
Cameras are a great way for kids to capture the essence of their holiday. They have no concept of photographic rules when taking their pictures, so you’ll find that they will take very different photos to what adults do. Their photos will often be full of colour, movement and relaxed smiles.
Show them how to travel light.
Exhaustion can happen easily with children on a holiday. To minimise this problem, ensure that their backpacks are only carrying the bare minimum. A drink bottle, a camera, a jacket and a colouring or reading books should be more than enough.
Balance out the art galleries with fun parks.
Adults can only put up with so many hours of galleries and churches, and children have even less tolerance. It is important to show them the culture and heritage of a country but if you want them to be patient and enjoy this, you must schedule in fun time. Many cities around the world have fun parks, from Euro Disney to Sentosa Island. If you tell the kids that the holiday will be a mixture of culture and fun, they will happily go along with you.
Ask them to choose cafés and restaurants.
Kids love responsibility and enjoy making decisions. When looking for a place to eat, ask them what they would like to eat and whether they see any cafés or restaurants that appeal to them.
Don’t rush, just take your time.
The appreciation of any new location often comes by taking it slow. Your children will absorb more of the history and culture of a city if they are not rushed from venue to venue. For example, one slow trip through the Louvre will have far more impact and be much more enjoyable than trying to see three different galleries in a day.
So it’s time to stop shying away from travelling with your kids. The entire family will have an amazing time, as long as you are mindful of how your children are feeling along the way.