Prepare for a Physically Demanding Vacation

Family vacation means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Some think the perfect vacation is sticking their toes in the sand on a beach for a week. Others think hiking and camping offer perfection for relaxation. Still others want to stay in a comfortable hotel with room service. You can take the kids on your family vacation no matter the type – the trick is to prepare them!

Prepare the Kids for a Physically Demanding Vacation

Exercise: Prepare for hiking

Once upon a time the kids spent a lot of time running around and climbing trees. Now, PE is a dying subject in school and kids spend a lot of time on electronic devices. If you take kids on a demanding trip where you are walking hours a day or hiking for hours a day –  you’ll get tired feet and whiney kids. Prepare ahead of time so everyone is ready!

*Get moving.

Most years we take the kids for walks a mile or so at first and then work up to two miles. This gets them in good shape for most types of sight seeing walking. In bad weather we put them on the treadmill! One kid was really interested in the buttons on the treadmill so I had to stand between them and put rules on how fast they could go.

The adventure to Peru would require more hiking than walking so the preparation needs to be different. We are starting with one mile and including the hills in the neighborhood and will work up to 3 miles at a time.

*Get the kids interested!

Each year we make a chart to keep track of how many miles the kids are walking/hiking. The chart is made with pictures and illustrations based on each kids interest.

With each mile, the child earns one $ of whatever the destination currency is….Euro, Turkish Lira, and in this case – Nuevo Sol. A picture of the currency is glued on the chart. When the trip time arrives, the chart pictures are exchanged for real money. The kids have this for spending money. Learn more about using money for traveling education here.

*Teach the kids about money.

Learning about money is an important life skill and one that the schools teach, but nothing is like real world application. When the kids earn some spending money, they get to handle the money, learn what it looks like and count it. When the it comes time to spending it, they practice real world skills like seeing a price and deciding whether or not they have enough money for the purchase, which bill should they give, how much change should they get, talking to the shop keeper or cashier, waiting for change, looking people in the eye and thanking them.

*Wear good shoes!

Good shoes and good socks are a must for little feet.Cobblestones and rough surfaces are harder on fee than you think. Buy good gear even though it seems pricey as it makes all the difference in the world between happy travelers and misery. You can get a good deal on last season’s colors from these sites Campmor and Sierra Trading Post.

Exercise: Prepare for cobblestones

*Mentally prepare the kids.

While you are walking, discuss what you’ll be seeing. Discuss that you might have to walk a long way. Practice carrying a backpack or water.

Exercise: Prepare for carrying backpacks

Kids are strong and resilient and capable. Prepare them and then watch with a smile when they handle a physically demanding family vacation with ease!

Happy Family Vacations,

Natalie, The Educational Tourist

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22 Responses

  1. Brenda says:

    very good tips!
    I am not a mother, but I have always think that kids will enjoy any trip if you get them interested on what the trip is all about.

  2. Looks like a helpful advice, especially I like wear good shoes.

  3. Chris says:

    Some great planning there!

    Not to mention the general health benefits for everybody just from being more active! 🙂

  4. Karla says:

    As a teacher, if we don’t prepare the kids ahead of time it will be chaotic and a headache but if we do, the kids surprise us by following. Of course nothing is perfect but it helps a lot. Plus other kids help police the others… Makes it a lot easier

  5. So much respect for you and what you do, Natalie! Such an inspiration to any parent and future parents alike!
    Children are naturally curious. It’s great that you make it a point to make sure you entertain yours and not suppress their spirit of inquiry. It’s good to take the necessary precautions too so they would not be too overwhelmed by what lies ahead.
    Really clever idea about keeping the charts and giving them incentives! They’re learning the value of earning money. In this case, they know they’ve ‘walked’ and exerted a substantial amount of effort in getting their money so they won’t be reckless with spending it. Now they have a clue on the value of money in the world.

    • NatalieTanner says:

      Thanks for the compliment!! I appreciate you stopping by. My kids have always amazed me! In the classroom I found that students want to learn more and more! My own kids have grown to love travel and adventure and rolling with the punches!! Kids really are amazing.

  6. I always bring my family to the beach. Once my little sister grow a bit older. Ill bring them to the mountain. 🙂

  7. Jessica Ayun says:

    Just the right time! In some days, I will finally have my vacation from my class. I need to get more moving soon.

  8. Joeography says:

    I second, third, and fourth good shoes! It can make and break your trip. Great list!

  9. These are great tips! Yes, good shoes are a must! People have no idea just how important this is and how much difference it can make! I never thought about having the kids practice hiking, that is a good idea. I think its great that kids get involved with nature and actually go out and explore rather than just watching tv and playing video games. If I ever have kids, I will definitely be taking them out as much as I can and explore everywhere

    • NatalieTanner says:

      Good point about getting outside! It is also such a great time to talk and listen to each other! Thanks for your comment.

  10. Lauren says:

    Good shoes are definitely key. You don’t want to get blisters on day 1 of your trip…yikes! I love walking on a daily basis so trips that involve lots of walking are awesome 🙂

    • NatalieTanner says:

      NO doubt! Actually that reminds me of a story. On a very early trip a friend of mine chose shoes that seemed comfortable at the time, but had no support and within days she was using bandaids all over her feet. We ended up in a very small town in France using our limited language skills looking for insoles for her shoes! In the end she bought a very ugly and expensive pair of shoes just so the entire trip wasn’t ruined by her pain. From then on….and geez… that has been almost 20 years!! We have all worn REALLY good shoes and socks!! LOL! It is funny now but not then!! Thanks for stopping by!

  1. February 17, 2016

    […] on your list then be sure to use good shoes! Read more about shoes and socks here and think about getting physically ready for more walking than you do in your regular day to day […]

  2. December 15, 2016

    […] tips on packing light? I’ve got you covered. Want to avoid having kids whine about their feet being too tired for walking? Been there and done that and I can teach you what to […]

  3. February 13, 2017

    […] We like to let the kids earn their vacation spending money. Read here about combining earning money with getting them physically in shape for vacation walking. […]

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