Travelling with children can be an incredible experience both for family togetherness and growth of the children, however, parents know that sometimes just getting out the door can be a chore on its own. We have created what we hope is a beneficial guide to making travel fun for kids, whether you are heading to a cruise, a resort or on to greater adventure.
Kids don’t move at the same pace as adults and they see things from a much different (and usually much lower) perspective. Make sure to give yourself twice as much time for site seeing as is the norm so that you have a chance to see most of the sites and your children get a chance to explore without being rushed through all the sites. Remember that it’s not always possible to see everything.
Let Them Be A Photographer
Don’t be afraid to let your kids take the reins on some of the photos. You may be amazed at what they can come up with. Even better, find a camera that can withstand the bumps and lumps of little kid hands so that you don’t have to replace it every trip. Letting your children take photos helps to give them confidence and reviewing them when you get back will allow them re-live all the excitement of the journey!
Prepare For The Weather
Weather can change in an instant wherever you are. Make sure you have the right clothes. It is crucial to enjoying yourself, and this goes doubly for kids, who can be affected more by the weather due to their underdeveloped bodies. Check the typical temperatures for the location you are going and be sure to take into consideration the highest and lowest possible temperatures along with rain, wind and humidity. Also, don’t forget about the trip home. Getting off the plane and shuffling to your car in -10 degree whether while wearing your flip-flops in the snow because you forgot your boots is a bad way to end a wonderful trip.
Think About their Health
Having proper preventative and reactionary medications is important when travelling. Check out our list of things to help keep your kids healthy when travelling. Healthy kids are happy kids!
Make Sure Your Documents Are Up-to-date
Travel planning is a lot of work. Making travel plans and having to turn back when you get to the border because you forgot to renew your passports is awful. Make sure you know what travel documents you need for your destination, whether it be Visas, vaccinations or new passports. Visas can often be purchased at the point of origin, but you will likely have to wait in line and are sometimes subject to additional fees. For passports, there are ways to get those renewed with a few days notice, but you will be under a lot of stress so better to renew it when you still have some leeway. For emergency passport applications in Canada, click here.
Always Have Food
Hungry kids and hungry adults don’t get along. Reason is thrown out the window and insanity reigns supreme. Don’t let this happen to you when you are travelling. Keeping healthy, portable snacks handy will help maintain the happy loving family that you know and keep the temper tantrums at bay.
Don’t Pack Too Many Toys
Kids love their toys but they also have a small issue with understanding priorities. Travelling with a ton of toys may seem like a good way to keep your kids occupied when you are travelling, but they are also cumbersome to carry around and can cause distress if they’re lost. They also can take up lots of room in your luggage. While I won’t say what to allow your kids to bring, that choice is personal, I will say that we let our boys take one stuffy and a blanket with them when they travel. When we are abroad the boys are too busy running around and exploring for them to play with anything anyway.
Make Sure to Plan Some Activities Around Them
When planning your trip, don’t forget to take the kids into consideration and plan some activities or sites that are centred around what they like. This is important for every kind of trip, including resorts and cruises. Does your location have a kid’s club? If they do, what are the age ranges? If you are out on excursions, make sure that there activities that will keep them busy and give them a chance to safely burn off some of that childhood energy.
Let Them Experience the Local Culture
Sometimes when people travel, the instinct is to shield their children from new experiences with the fear that they might not enjoy it or they might be afraid. Children are resilient, intelligent and built to learn. In my experience they embrace new things (well, maybe not so much the food) and I have never been anywhere where the people haven’t been overjoyed at the presence of kids. This gives the children a chance to be the centre of attention for a while and the confidence they will gain will stay with them longer than any souvenirs.
The most important thing about travelling with kids is to simply remember that they are kids. Give them an opportunity to experience their new surroundings and learn something that may stick with them for the rest of their lives, then when you return home you will all have memories that you can share with each other!
With the birth of their two boys, Kevin and Christina have made it their mission to show others that travelling with children isn't as scary as it sounds and that kids can benefit from experiencing the world outside of their front door and beyond.