Once the kids come along, our days of travelling and seeing the world are behind us, right? Not necessarily. What if you could take the kids with you? It isn’t as difficult as it seems, whether it is a 2-week trip or a round-the-world journey. To help you make it the adventure of a lifetime and not a nightmare, here are 7 tips for travelling with children.
Rather than being a burden, kids can be a delight. Travelling with children will help you see the world through the eyes of their innocence and wonder. Kids are energetic and tough, and will love the adventure. Imagine the world that is opened up for them when they can see exotic places and the richness of experience found in a myriad of cultures. There’s no better education!
While children have seemingly boundless energy, they can tire quickly during long periods of travel. This is especially true when things get tedious or unsettling for them, such a long train journey, or when you are constantly moving from place to place. When travelling with kids, it’s important to set a pace that will work for their age. Build in plenty of times to stop and be settled in one place for a while. That’s also the best way to really experience the place you are visiting.
Like with any travel, taking out insurance is important. Educating yourself on the health guidelines of the places you are visiting and getting proper vaccinations and medications before you go is sensible for travelling with children, as it is for any travel. However, you don’t need to be fearful. Use common sense to take care of your family, and you may even find they are healthier and more vital than when they were at home.
It’s inevitable – somewhere in your travels you are probably going to have to endure some sort of long trip on a bus. Some of these will involve crazy traffic, pot-holed roads, dubious safety standards or overly air-conditioned temperatures, just to name a few. Be prepared for these, and you will all come out the other side a lot happier. Have spare clothes in your hand luggage, as well as travel sickness tablets and bags, and plenty of little travel games or activities to keep the kids entertained. If you have options, think about whether hiring a car, or taking a train or plane would work better for you. Whatever transport you take, be prepared.
You’ve probably thought constantly about the health and well-being of your kids and no matter how well prepared you are, taking care of kids 24/7 while travelling can be wearing. Make sure that you find time to take care of yourself. After all, it is your trip too. If you can stay with friends or relatives, rope them in for a night of baby-sitting duty. You could also hire a baby-sitting service. Then you can take a date night or have a go at an activity the kids are too young for, like scuba diving or abseiling. Some places you visit will have programmed kids’ activities, so take full advantage of these.
Utilise the technology that is everywhere these days to help travelling with children to be more practical. Taking a laptop is not only great for keeping in touch with people at home and for keeping kids entertained with movies and games, but if you are away for a long period of time, it can be an invaluable tool for home-educating your kids on the road.
If you want to go on long term trips with kids, which you often need to if you want time to see the world, that doesn’t mean that their education has to lapse. Sometimes it can be a challenge; on an exotic trip, the kids aren’t likely to be thrilled with the idea of doing school work, and neither are you, but it is necessary. Sometimes you will just need to discipline yourselves to put in some designated hours. The great thing about home schooling, however, is that it is flexible and adaptable. When the boys would rather be off mucking around in the dirt looking for bugs, why not incorporate that into a science lesson? Travelling really can be the best education. Imagine the lessons they can learn when the world is their classroom!
Travelling with children can be challenging, but it can also be infinitely rewarding and exciting. The key is to be prepared. The more organised you are, the more adventurous you can be, because you’ll be ready for anything. If you’ve been considering it, it’s time to start planning and go for it! Where are you thinking of taking your family first?
Top Photo Credit: R.bean