“Europe with little kids? Don’t dream about it!” “You are going where with the kids?? Are you mad??” For us, travel addicts with little children, choosing an unconventional destination is an invitation for everyone to give us their “qualified” (?) opinion and discourage us from our dream vacation. If they were the ones to choose we will always end up at an all-inclusive resort or at Disneyland. Don’t get me wrong, I love both destinations but as a globetrotter I really like to explore the globe. That’s why I would like to give you some tips I practice with my own children when I travel to not so “kids friendly” destinations.
Choose your flights wisely
When the flying duration is longer than 7 hours I always buy night flights and, preferably, without stops. I’d rather spend some extra cash than suffer a 10 hour flight with a bored and irritated infant. You’ll see the flight seems shorter both for them and you.
Talk to your children about your vacation plans
Very often we tend to underestimate our kids and we believe there’s no point in including them in the trip planification. Once I have issued the tickets, I start telling them about the places we’re going to visit, which activities we’re going to do, fun facts and pictures they might be interested in. I’ve found this is a way to awake their interest and to generate huge expectations that will make them enjoy the trip a lot. I’ve practiced this since they were 3 years old and they absolutely love it!
Plan activities just for them
Another boring and false phrase I’ve heard is: There are no kids where you’re going… Not true at all! Every corner of the world has children, therefore you’ll find something to do for them. Search in blogs, forums or just ask a friend! I recommend to plan at least 2 kids friendly activities per day, including: a walk in the park where they can run & play, visits to science museums, shopping, kids restaurants, theatre plays, etc.
You know your kids better than anyone, don’t leave them exhausted
If you are a tireless traveler who likes to do a thousand activities, remember that you’re bringing children along with you. As I stated before, you know your kids better than anyone and you’ll know how much they are willing to walk or go around before ending up in a tantrum. Don’t ever get to that point! It’s better to leave some things unseen (and have a reason to come back) than ruin your vacations for wanting to take your kids to an adult rhythm. This includes respecting their meal and resting routines.
Leave the cherry on the pie for the last days of the trip
If there’s one activity you know your kids will adore, if possible, leave it for the final days of your vacation. For example: when I made my first trip to Europe with kids, they were 3 and 6 years at the time, my last destination was Paris. Two days before going back home we went to Disneyland and that expectation lasted the entire trip.
My next unconventional destination with kids is Machu Picchu, Peru, in two weeks. I’ll tell you how it went when I get back.
Do you have any tip when traveling with children? Share it with us!