Being a good traveler is something best learned early in life, and parents can help ensure that children enjoy their family trips to the utmost with a little planning. Along the way, parents also make their own time spent in the airplane or in the car more enjoyable and less stressful. If you are traveling with young ones, here are a few tips that will make the experience less of a trial and more of a treat.
Choosing the right Travel Agent
Choosing an appropriate travel agent is the first important step to plan a perfect family trip. Ask your travel agent for travel plans that are highly recommended for children and families. Not all destinations and themes are age appropriate. But dude ranches, bird watching, hiking and almost any other activity can be enjoyed by children in measured doses and with adequate preparation. Many tour operators specialize in the family element and are better equipped to deal with the attention spans and skill levels of your children. But even family oriented tour operators have age limits, so make sure that your travel agent is informed on the age of your children early in the planning process. Likewise, family travel involves special budgetary considerations that your travel agent will be adept in handling for you. Many airlines and tour operators provide infant discounts that your agent can acquire for you.
Prepare a Travel Strategy
Once you know where you're going and how you'll get there, take a little time to develop a travel strategy that includes the good and the bad: appropriate diversions, activities, expectations, consequences, and, most of all, opportunities for memory-making... discuss and review it with your family so everyone is on the same page - and truly excited about the trip. A good activity to plan for on the way home is a conversation to recap the trip, day-by-day. Everyone talks about what you did, what they liked, what they want to do again - and you can record it all for posterity.
Allow your kids to make Memories
Many kids love to collect things, so give the children a special box or pouch to place found objects like shells, stones or feathers. Along with pictures, these keepsakes are great ways to remember the trip. Speaking of pictures, older children can be given their own disposable camera for the trip. The additional responsibility is good for the child and will provide a new way for them to participate. Remember, too, that your interests will not always coincide with the kids': give a few extra moments at a play-ground, a waterfall or a "gem mine" that you might not otherwise have stopped to visit. Older children can be encouraged to keep a journal of their trip, recording their impressions and memories of the adventure.
Great memories are made on family vacations, so travel should not be reserved only for the adults of the world!
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