Planning a trip with young kids? Here are 6 things you may want to consider when planning your next family travels.
Whether you need your passport renewed or a specific set of vaccines before you travel, these things can take months to complete. It's a good idea to give yourself plenty of time to plan.
Staying in one place for at least a few weeks to a month at a time allows more of an opportunity to adjust to the new environment. It gives you the chance to get familiar with the local culture, find out where the local kids play and discover the best places to grab a bite or go shopping.
Staying put for weeks at a time allows you to develop a routine. Most kids function better with structure in their lives. For example, trying to maintain a regular sleep and wake routine as much as possible can make a huge difference. For us, travel days include some learning and exploring in the mornings and some quiet time in the afternoons for naps and reading. What doesn't stay the same is the quick pace of our usual morning routine or the after work rush to get everything ready for the following day, and I don’t think anyone will misses it.
As much as possible try to keep the kids involved when making plans. Whether it is deciding to go for a swim in the pool or in the ocean, walking or taking a bike ride to the market, present options whenever possible and let the kids decide. The more time you give yourself to explore the area, the more relaxed you can be about the plans on any given day.
Familiarize them with what they will see, do and hear when travelling. Read them books, show them pictures and watch videos of the places you will visit. Before going, ask the kids what they think it will be like and what excites them the most about a place. Before leaving one place, ask them to talk about what they saw, heard and felt when they were there and what they liked most and least. If applicable, start introducing them to the language that will be spoken in the country where you plan to travel. At the very least, practice with them how to say “hello”, “goodbye” and “thank you”.
In part because you love them and want them to live the experience with you, but also because they can help with the kids. The truth is, travelling with kids is not easy. There will be moments that will have you pulling your hair out and thinking why you ever thought taking kids on such and ambitious trip was a good idea. Having someone around who can watch the kids while you enjoy some adult time can be a game changer.
Many people will say that travelling with kids is not a “vacation”. The important thing, when travelling with young kids, is to not have too many expectations and to stay flexible as much as possible with plans. Take in the good moments and try to let go of the less fun moments. When you look back you will be thankful you did it.