Some say traveling with kids is the greatest joy, but it can easily become a nightmare if your child isn’t having as much fun as you are. A grumpy, bored or overwhelmed child in a foreign land is a recipe for disaster. But a happy, excited and inspired child will be positively life-changing. Keeping your kids engaged when sightseeing is essential for a successful trip. Below are five tips to have a joyful vacation with your kids.
1. Make a scavenger hunt
One of the most engaging game for any kid is a scavenger hunt. This used to be my favorite activity growing up because it required me to run around and actively search for hidden mysteries. A scavenger hunt is perfect in a travel setting because it will expose kids to new sights in an interactive way. Before venturing out to a new destination, sketch out a scavenger hunt based on famous attractions in that area or local spots. Then when you arrive, walk around according to the scavenger hunt, possibly culminating at the most exciting location.
© Visit Flanders
2. Have a picnic
It’s no secret that kids love picnics – food, family and fun all in one! So why not enjoy a refreshing picnic where you and your kids are going? This tip is especially useful for destinations known for stunning natural attractions. Lush green grass, cool colorful rocks and warm sandy beaches are all great picnic spots. Even just seeking out a park where other local children play can be a good idea because it will allow your little ones to interact with other kids where they can all just let out some steam. A creative tip is to bring sidewalk chalk to color with in places that allow it.
© Mark McQuitty
3. Eat fun foods
Kids and food are a match made in heaven. That’s why hungry kids are basically monsters. Before setting out for a long day of sightseeing, be sure to pack some nutritious snacks that will energize a tired child. If it’s time for a meal, let your kids choose where to go, or expand their palates by trying out new local cuisine. And finally an extremely fun and interactive way to get your kids engaged is to go to cooking classes to learn how to make authentic foods where ever you are. It’s a delicious and educational activity when traveling.
© Donnie Ray Jones
4. Plan a detailed itinerary
The key for success is to make sure you have a detailed plan. If you are frazzled and disorganized, your kids will also get confused and overwhelmed. Having a very detailed itinerary of where to go, at what time and how to get there is very important to ensure a day goes smoothly. Of course, exploring impulsively can also be fun, but too much improvisation will just wear your kids out. One surefire way to have a full day is to book a tour. A lot of tours are kid-friendly, so it will be fun for the whole family.
© Roman Königshofer
5. Teach a meaningful lesson
Traveling is fun, of course. But every experience can be a teachable moment for your kids. Think of your destination as the most exciting classroom your kids will ever take – and you’re the teacher! This is the time to teach them valuable life lessons, such as cultural sensitivity, empathy and open-mindedness. One interesting way to get involved at your destination is to volunteer at a local charity. Or, you could even design your trip as an educational excursion where your kids will learn firsthand something they enjoy. For example, you could go to the Amazon and learn about jungle life, or volunteer in Africa and help other schoolchildren with their lives.
© Prabhu B. Doss
Traveling can be the most rewarding experience of your life, and that feeling can bloom at a young age. Set your kids on the right foot by providing them a vacation they will never forget.