Traveling with kids can be a nightmare – but it really doesn’t have to be. Of course you get those who dread seeing a baby on the plane, and oftentimes you yourself wonder how well your kid will do with being stuck in a giant metal tube while their ears are popping. Heck, even being an adult an traveling can be difficult with you constantly asking yourself, did I bring that book? All my medications? What did I forget? Will I get bored where I am going?
We’ve compiled a list of 10 location suggestions, themes and activities to be sure that your travel experience with your kiddo is nothing but fond memories. Here are some ideas to make sure everyone gets the relaxing, fun vacation they deserve – without over planning and over extending your activity calendar.
1. Go see the sea!
A beach holiday is a great relaxing way to spend a holiday – people young and old alike will be hard-pressed not to enjoy their time on a sandy shore with waves lapping at their toes. Sand, sun and surf is a great way to get exciting and busy outdoor time while still experiencing the relaxing, rejuvenating and recharging sensation. Build sand castles, go swimming or snorkeling, or play frisbee to satisfy everyone’s needs!
2. Embrace your wild side!
Get up close and personal with animals! Kids love furry (and not so furry) creatures – so much so that most kids who are interviewed about family holidays speak about incorporating animals into their vacations. Maybe an African safari is out of the question, but why not go to a farm stay, go to the local zoo, or even just try to catch frogs or insects in a backyard pond. Incorporating kids love for animals and quest for exploring the unknown bug species is a great way to spend family time.
3. Explore the possibilities at a Science Museum!
Okay so in theory yes, museums and galleries are a great way to expand your child’s creative mind, but often times these options are accompanied by complaints. The interactivity of science museums on the other hand are usually the perfect remedy for both harnessing creative thought as well as their desire to touch, play, and experiment. Save this activity for a rainy day – or an extra hot one!
4. Go to the theater or listen to music!
Children’s theater performances are everywhere – if you search for them. Even in a foreign country, your kid can engage happily in a puppet show, which is a great way to acclimate and expose your child to new cultures. If there isn’t a child-geared performance, try finding something with kids in it, such as a children’s choirs. Even an activity with dancing, singing or acrobatics can be entertaining – and much cheaper than other touristy activities, generally speaking.
5. Be the good guy – get your kid ice cream!
Sure it’s a short lived and kind of ‘lazy’ parenting technique, but not if it’s an infrequent treat. Even in cold weather, creating this warm memory is as simple as a one scoop cone. Try a local flavor, some gelato, or search for street food selling local sweet treats. Not only will you be loved (however briefly it may be), but you’ll be helping in expanding your child’s palate.
6. Head over to a local park or playground!
Not only is this a great way to promote healthy social skills, it’s also helpful in meeting local families. Even older children can enjoy hanging from the monkey bars. Even if there isn’t any equipment, you can always buy a ball or bring a frisbee to the park and create your own entertainment.
7. Take it to the street and get in some street art!
If you’re walking around you’d be surprised at the amount of artwork you can find. Commissioned work, statues, and even graffiti can be an interesting way to start a discussion and show your kids the beauty of the locals artistic talents. This activity can really give your family an insight into the real culture that touristy stuff just can’t. Make a game out of posing for fun photo’s with the works or finding similar works by the same artist. it’s a great way to get your kid to exercise and engage with the culture around them without them realizing it.
8. Work on your back stroke at the swimming pool!
Water play is a cheap, great way to interact with the locals or even other families at the hotel while giving your kid a day of fun in the sun. If pools aren’t open yet, or there isn’t one in sight on a hot day, have them run through some sprinklers, find a fountain, or go to a park or public area that has an area your kids can run and get wet in. Please note to be sure that some locals are also doing this to avoid any awkward etiquette issues.
9. Hop onboard some transport!
Planes, trains and automobiles – things that move are always a big hit. A hit across all age groups take some local transport like a ferry sailing to an island, a ride on a tuk tuk, get on the bullet train, or hop on a double decker. You’ll see a whole new city by public transport.
10. Take them to a theme park!
This one is a no-brainer. No matter how big, small, tacky, wacky, or commercialized they are – kids LOVE them. The only rule here is to make sure the rides are age and height appropriate. Let your kids run a bit wild – this is an easy way to entertain for the day.