If you have ever attempted to travel with young kids and were totally put off by the experience, listen up….there is hope! All you need are a few simple tips from seasoned travellers who have successfully navigated the mine field which is attempting to travel with young children in tow.
1. Load Up With Many Puzzles Books
School-aged children love solving puzzles. For most, the harder the puzzles are, the longer they will stay occupied.
Sudokus are absolutely fantastic for long car trips and for passing the time in restaurants and long queues. Kids also love the Lonely Planet for Kids series and the Usborne Travel Activity books but there are many different varieties around depending what part of the world you live in.
2. Try Taking Audio Tours
More than likely, your school aged kids will love walking a tourist site with the audio tour recording talking to them. They will be more than interested in the stories and tales of the attraction and will no doubt learn a lot (them learning something is off course a by product of them being occupied and happy). Most guided tours these days have kid’s variations to the recordings. Kids are far better at paying attention to tour guides once they have something else to listen to when there are parts that don’t interest them.
3. Try to Include Them in the Research and Preparation
I have always tried to involve the kids in any preparations I have made for day trips or longer trips away. Even before they struck school age, I asked them what they wanted to do and see but I always gave them options out of books, travel guides and brochures of the places I wanted to go visit. Once they are school age, they’re a lot more independent and are able to make sensible decisions, but off course I wouldn’t trust them in knowing how to buy shoes online however (and indulgent fetish of mine I’m afraid to admit).
Allow them to take their time in investigating and looking through the printed or web materials you supply them. Kids love to look at every page and picture. Let them read books, watch movies, search internet sites for other stuff to do in those locations. I sometimes even gave my kids the very complex choice of deciding what womens shoes mum should wear to certain destinations (some choices I regretted such as thongs to a five star restaurant in Melbourne one time).
Always remember to include your kids interests as well. There’s nothing more frustrating than looking at your kids sour faces when you are trying to enjoy an exhibit of Mayan culture at a museum or modern impressionists paintings at a gallery. Kids love doing kids stuff and even though it might be boring for you to go to a shop where they can finger paint till the cows come home or make their own teddy bears, its a compromise. An activity of their choice, then one of yours. I found that works like a treat every time.
So, next time you undertake some time away, try these simple ideas and you will be amazed how well they work. After all, kids are kids. If they worked for mine, they will almost certainly work for yours.