Visiting new places can be one of life’s greatest pleasures. From the joy of meeting new people to experiencing different cultures and eating unusual foods, traveling is a wonderful way to enrich both your mind and your spirit.
But don’t be fooled into thinking that you have to be young and carefree or older and wealthy to take advantage of everything the world has to offer. Even those with kids can have exciting and meaningful trips that involve more than the Disney Vacation Club (contact Step Zero to learn how to get out of that deal!)
The following are our top three tips for traveling like a pro even with your small kids in tow.
Travel Like a Pro, Even with Kids in Tow!
Take It Slow
Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Keep your expectations in check and don’t schedule more than one or two activities each day. It’s hard for little ones to match either your physical or mental stamina, and they’ll likely end up tired and cranky at the end of a full day.
There might be 35 “Musts” on your list of things to do, but this trip isn’t the one to complete them all. Pick a few things you’d like to do and let the kids give input on the rest.
This might mean putting off touring that cool contemporary art museum, but it could also mean seeing something you never would have considered without the help of a new perspective.
Stick To a Routine
It’s not always ideal, but keeping some semblance of your usual routine can help keep your kids well-rested and, thus, well-behaved.
If you know someone needs a two-hour nap in the middle of the day, try to accommodate that by staying in or arranging for car and/or stroller rides during that time so your child can rest.
Try to have snacks and meals at similar times, and keep nighttime routines consistent as well. Although you may be able to manage a change in schedule with no problem, children can quickly become over-stressed and over-tired when plans change too much.
Keeping a schedule doesn’t have to mean always sticking with what’s comfortable, and this is one of our favorite tips for traveling with kids. Cultivate curiosity by offering new foods and stopping to chat with vendors and other tourists.
Leave time to explore and see the world through your kids’ eyes. In short, allow more freedom. Traveling should be a time to try new things. It’s an escape from everyday life with fewer rules and more fun.
Kids can understand that what you allow on vacation might become more restricted when everyone returns home if you just explain it to them.
Exposing all members of your family to different people and customs is one of the best ways to foster compassion and instill a love of learning in them.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that kids can’t handle an overseas flight or a five-hour drive or being away from their friends. Or that you can’t handle the effort it takes to convince them otherwise.
Traveling with kids will make all of you better people.
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