Traveling with children is often a challenge, whether domestic or international. First, there is the “getting there.” Then, there is the task of ensuring that there are plenty of family-friendly activities that both parents and kids will love.
This post will be divided into three sections: getting there, domestic travel, and international travel. Each section will provide great suggestions.
Fortunately, our digital age has made traveling to destinations much easier for parents and kids. Whether in a car or on a plane, kids’ devices are a must. But there are other activities as well. Here are a few suggestions:
- Movies on their tablets or phones – earbuds, please.
- Their favorite music playlists – again, earbuds, please.
- Group movie watching: Many newer model cars have DVD players built-in. If kids are close in age, putting in a movie or two will keep them occupied, along with snacks, of course.
- Travel Bingo for road trips: Most large retailers sell travel bingo cards. Kids get to mark off spots on their cards as they discover them along the way. Maybe the winner gets to pick the next place to eat?
- Madlibs: This is a great activity for kids who are readers. They are given short stories with blanks that they must fill in to make them complete.
- Pipe Cleaners: Clean is the operative word here. Challenge your kids to make a variety of objects. Worst-case scenario? There are pipe cleaners on the car or airplane floor.
If you travel within your own country, you will not have to worry about finding a translation service online to ensure that all of your travel documents are ready for entry into a destination country. It’s a matter of deciding on destinations, making reservations, and then heading out by car, train, or plane.
What are ideal destinations that are family-friendly? Here are a few options:
- Theme Parks:
These are obvious choices, and there are so many of them now. It’s not just traditional Disney World. There is also Epcot, Universal Studios, and more, all within short distances of one another. And staying at one of the specific resorts provides respite activities for parents and kids alike.
Getting kids out of the glitz and glamour of theme parks and into a camping experience can be a renewing respite for everyone. And the “downtime” from screens and malls allows for true quality family time. Fishing, hiking, telling ghost stories, or singing around a campfire at night, while roasting hot dogs and marshmallows, are experiences that kids will not forget. For families that still want all the amenities, RV rentals can provide the solution.
Have you checked out your locale for day trips? What zoos are nearby? How about planetariums, aquariums, sports events, science centers, etc.? Even if such places are as much as 100 miles or so away from home, they will provide quality budget-friendly family time.
Giving children the experience of travel abroad results in lifelong memories. But you do want to make sure that those experiences include activities they will enjoy. They can only take so many museums. Here are some suggestions.
If you choose a cruise, you are in luck. Most major cruise lines offer plenty of kids’ activities that will keep them occupied and happy, while you can get some adult time in. Such lines offer mini-golf, arcades, movies, and other kid-oriented activities, while you still have family time for meals, swimming, etc.
- International Destinations
If you choose to expose your children to foreign lands, again, you will be giving them lifelong memories. The key is to find the balance between exposing them to major landmarks of a country (e.g., Eiffel Tower, the Roman Coliseum or the Vatican, castles on the Rhine River, etc.) and the historical significance of such treasures, and more kid-friendly activities. Major cities in all foreign countries do have venues for children. Be certain to build these into your trip schedule. Your hotel will be a great resource.
Family Time – It’s Critical
We live in a busy, fast-paced world. Parents have careers; children have school, sports, and other activities, and we can find ourselves overwhelmed and exhausted from the pace. Part of the solution lies in planning family travel. Finding 7 hobbies you can do as a family as well as using our tips can be your first step. Such preparation will support the need to re-connect and enjoy unique experiences together.
Author Bio: Melony Hart is a former educator turned travel blogger. Having taught school in many foreign countries, as well as her own, she has a handle on what kid-friendly travel experiences should look like.