Travel season is rolling in again with spring and Easter breaks coming up. Here are a few more tips for traveling with your kids to help make all your adventures and travels smoother and better.
Brand your kids
Writing your cell number on your kid’s arm is one way to make finding them easier should you become accidentally separated at a crowded train station, a busy airport, or a massive theme park. You could also stick a business card for your hotel in their pockets with your number on it as well.
Take a break
Traveling with another adult can hugely relieve the stress in a lot of big and small ways if you do it right. Instead of both of you being “on” all the time, take small breaks along the way. If you’re waiting for a flight, for example, one of you could stay with the kids and the other could go sit somewhere else and read your book or look through a magazine for 15 minutes, just to get a breather from all the busy-ness of traveling with kids.
Be ready for your kids to be seen or treated differently in other cultures
“Stranger danger” isn’t a thing in all of the rest of the world. In some places, it won’t be out of the ordinary for a complete stranger to come up to your kid and start cooing over or talking to them (perhaps ignoring you completely), offering them food or candy without asking your permission, pat their head, etc. Knowing the culture you are going to and being prepared for this will make it less alarming.
Give your kids a journal
A journal is a great way to help your kids reflect on and connect with their journeys and travels, as well as keep them engaged and busy. The journal itself can be a fun souvenir for them if you buy it somewhere special along the way, like at the gift shop at Disneyland or the beach shop across the road after you’ve spent the day frolicking in the waves. Teach your kids to observe and experience more than just a timestamped log book and have them talk about their feelings, reactions to different experiences and cultures, people they met, etc. Pasting in ticket stubs and receipts and drawing pictures also makes the journal more fun and interesting.
Mind your Ps and Thank Yous
Teach your kids the basic phrases if you are traveling abroad. Hello, goodbye, please, thank you, and excuse me are great starters for kids to learn and try out with the people they encounter and the locals will be very impressed and appreciative of their efforts and interest to engage.
Get them stoked on the details adults take for granted
Kids love traveling when they can appreciate it. Get them excited about the plane or train ride instead of just viewing it as a way to get from Point A to Point B. Tell them about all the sounds they’ll hear – the choo-choo noise, the jet engines – and what they mean and what is happening. Teach them about the anatomy of a plane or a ship and try to get them a tour of it if possible. For kids, the journey really can be the destination when it’s all so new and exciting.
Getting your kids involved and engaged is one of the best and most rewarding ways of making your trip go smoothly. Between finding ways to do that as well as finding ways to take a break when you need it – or, ideally, before you need it! – your travels should be fun and enriching for you and your kids this spring traveling season.