Welcoming a new family member into the world can be equally overwhelming as much as an exciting event. New parents often worry about how will this substantial change affect and mold their everyday lives, particularly vacations. Traveling around the world is already a challenging and demanding feat, but when you add a couple of stressed-out or bored kids to the mix, it may even seem impossible.
While many people remain skeptical, traveling around the world with kids doesn’t have to be as difficult as it may seem at first glance. Not unlike the grown-ups, children love all the new experiences which traveling always brings. As long as you plan your journey carefully, keep your kids’ interests in mind, and go slowly, your family will enjoy the exciting thrill of traveling as much as you do.
Picking a perfect destination for the entire family
The first step of the journey is probably the most crucial one. Not all destinations are equally exciting for kids, so it’s of utmost importance to research the place you want to visit before you book a hotel. While you may see the grandiose Uffizi Gallery of Florence as an essential highlight of your trip, a seven-year-old probably won’t share the sentiment. Try to keep the vacation balanced and enjoyable for the whole family and pick a destination that offers activities suitable for different age groups. Zoos, amusement parks, and water resorts are some attractions that kids always adore.
As your kids get older, they will probably want to participate more in the decision-making and preplanning of the trip. Let them propose their ideas and allow them to pick the potential landmarks they find interesting.
Different hotels also provide all kinds of activities and extras that can make a family trip less stressful. Nowadays, many hotels cater specifically to children, providing all kinds of built-in distractions, such as playgrounds, family pools, water slides, and games. Do your research and think about the details: it will pay off in the long run and make your vacation much more enjoyable.
Surviving the long trip when traveling around the world with kids
Most parents are well-familiar with the dreadful phrase “Are we there yet?”. Often impatient and easily bored, kids rarely appreciate the joys of a long journey. Flights and long car rides can be equally stressful to both parents and children. To avoid all the difficulties of this part of your trip, it’s good to prepare a whole repertoire of distractions.
Pack some toys, books, and snacks. Let them play a game or watch a movie on your phone or tablet. As long as you come up with enough activities to keep them busy, kids will stay happy and quiet for long periods. If you think your child will be a bit anxious about the trip, be sure to bring along something comforting and familiar to help them relax. A favorite stuffed animal or a blanket can do wonders for toddlers.
On your destination
When you’re traveling alone, you may want to pack as many activities and happenings in a single day. The satisfaction of experiencing every important landmark in your destination is, without a doubt, tempting. Unfortunately, when you’re traveling with your whole family, it’s best to go slowly and take your time. Children get tired of walking quickly; forcing them to endure too many new experiences will only make them nervous and irritated. Make a lot of breaks and always bring food with you in case they get hungry or frustrated.
Long queues are another bane of every family vacation. Waiting for hours in front of that one popular landmark that you can’t miss will, admittedly, make everyone irritated. A good way to minimize waiting in lines is pe-booking everything you can.
Many places offer special discounts for families or even grant them free tickets for certain locations. Ask for discounts for transportations, private guides, tours, and attraction entrance fees. Even some restaurants have kids eat free promotions. Quite often, there’s no mention of a discount, so be sure to ask even when there’s nothing explicitly written.
It’s important to note that travel can often bring lots of perils and unforeseen challenges. Even the most vigilant parent can lose track of children. Try to share duties if you’re traveling with another parent or adult. It’s good to let kids have the most important contact information with them, such as name, phone number, email address, and the local address where you’re staying at the time. For younger children, the best way to share contact information is with a note in one of their pockets. Older kids can memorize all the necessary information themselves, although it’s still smart to write the local address down, in case they forget it.
At the end of the day, it’s important to stay flexible and adaptable. No matter how much time and effort you put into planning, some things will probably go awry when traveling around the world with kids. Don’t get too stressed or try to push everyone to rush to see one more landmark. A fun family vacation doesn’t have to be flawless. After all, keeping your family happy and safe is an essential part of any trip.