Perfect trip: You can bring the kids
How to plan the perfect trip
Bring the kids!
Some people think the words ‘perfect trip’ and ‘bring the kids’ do not go in the same sentence. Parents tend to think their are two types of vacations: 1) “our vacation” meaning trips to relaxing beachside resorts and cultural experiences at museums and festivals and 2) ‘the family vacation’ meaning petting zoos and children’s museums. But, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Think about exposing your kids to the cultures of the world and different experiences. Those experiences that are good for growing and expanding minds can be almost anything…so why not choose something that you really want to see or do? You will still be creating memories together, showing them new and wonderful things, AND seeing something you’ve always wanted to see. Sounds like win/win/win, right?
Family trips do NOT have to be all about McDonald’s and the zoo.
The Perfect Trip: Top things parents want out of vacations
Time to relax
Time to bond as a family
Time to create memories
Time to experience new things
Time to explore
It’s OK to be selfish and plan the adventure you would like. Being selfish is the best kept secret for fun family adventure planning. Your vacation time from work is limited…money is limited… so don’t feel badly about choosing an adventure for you! I’ll help you make it kid friendly!
WHAT?!?…… Yes, you CAN be selfish when it comes to a trip. You have my permission.
What do I mean by that? I mean… You should plan a trip around what you want to see.
Plan the Perfect Trip: Share your passion.
Does art make your heart sing? Go to the Louvre or the MET. The passion you have for the art will rub off on your kids! What better way to learn about art than in person with someone you love? Share your passion.
Parenting magazine agrees that sharing your interest is beneficial for the kids:
“Sharing our passion not only connects the family, but it helps the child in these critical areas:
Enhances self-esteem (they feel more competent)
Offers more social opportunities (they gain a new circle of friends)
Increases leadership (they can show others how to do it)
Activates their imagination (less boredom, more creativity)
Greater educational value (learning increases in new domains)
They learn important life skills (i.e. self-discipline, hard work and patience)”
Have you dreamt of seeing the Great Wall of China or the Eiffel Tower your entire life? Pack your bags and go. On the way there tell your kids about how you have dreamt of this moment and why this spot holds such significance for you. Let them have that peak into your soul. It will be a moment they always remember.
Plan the Perfect Trip: Share yourself with your kids.
The Parenting Skill agrees sharing yourself and your interests with the kids is valuable!
“along with getting them to school and making sure they’re safe, we also get to also show our children how to be human and live in a world full of possibility…When we share with our kids our favorite movies growing up or our favorite outside games… that we played with the neighborhood kids…we show them a world that is exciting and fun! When we open up to our kids about what excites us about life we open up a door for them into worlds and ideas that don’t have to be link to schedules, to-do lists, and clean rooms!”
I found this lovely example of how wonderful it is to share yourself with the kids from The Importance of Listening to Kids...
“For 18 years my own mother managed, scolded, imposed manners, dragged us kids off to Sunday school, arranged lessons in necessary social graces, chaperoned parties and supervised homework. And yet, for all that gray blur of duty, the one day I truly remember from my childhood was the day she simply gathered up her beloved oil paints and marched us off to a local arboretum. As my brother and I explored the gardens, I watched her a short distance away, poised before her easel, golden sunlight streaming down her face, completely entranced in what she was doing. How I loved her in that moment! And the unspoken lesson on following your bliss has remained with me for nearly six decades.”
Let’s all give our kids that warm and fuzzy moment to look back upon. What a true gift. Follow your bliss!
Do the ruins of Machu Picchu call to you? Lace up those hiking shoes! Tell the kids the mystical story of how Machu Picchu was discovered and how it is one of the wonders of the world. Share the joy you have at seeing the ruins in person and see if a llama photo bombs your pictures!
The Perfect Trip: Avoid excuses for not planning the trip of our dream
The kids are too young. They won’t remember.
I’ll spend all my time saying, “Quit that! Stop that! Be QUIET!”
The kids will be bored. They are too young to understand or appreciate things like art.
The Perfect Trip: Excuses DEBUNKED
Excuse number one: The kids are too young. They won’t remember. NOT TRUE: Memories are formed as early as 2 years old.
Excuse number two: I’ll spend all my time saying “Quit that! Stop that! Be QUIET!”
Any care giver/teacher will tell you the trick to keeping kids on track is to give them something to think about! Bored kids are the ones that pick at each other. Do the research so kids know what they are seeing and exploring!
Excuse number three: The kids will be bored. They are too young to understand or appreciate things like art and history.
It just isn’t true. You CAN have the trip of a lifetime – a trip YOU want. The kids WILL remember (though maybe not what you think they will). They kids can be so interested they’ll leave each other alone! Kids CAN understand and appreciate things like art and history. My kids have been all over with us and have enjoyed learning about art, history, culture and everything else that goes with travel.
Now that you are all set with where you want to go….now we move on to...how will you travel with the kids? When you google traveling with kids you often get a list of things like this:
Yes, we go to all those things. Yes, children enjoy them. Yes, they are valuable experiences for children, but at HOME. When you go on a far away vacation like to Paris, Rome, London…the very last place I want to be is the zoo. Seriously? I can see the zoo at HOME.
You CAN see ‘grown up’ places like the Amalfi coast and Pompeii with your children in tow AND you can enjoy it. I can show you how.
Plan the Perfect Trip: Choose your destination.
What is at the very top of your bucket list? Consider that destination first! Why not? What you want is important, too. Share your passion and interest and fascination with the kids. Your excitement will rub off!! Research shows that experiences shared are better!
A Psychological Science study found
“sharing experiences—even with a complete stranger—makes people rate those experiences as more intense than people who underwent them alone. In that experiment, students reported liking a square of 70-percent dark chocolate more when they ate it at the same time as another study participant. They said the chocolate was more “flavorful” than those who ate it alone.”
Plan the Perfect Trip: Prepare to visit with the kids – research
DIY research: There are lots of tips right here. You can go to the websites of each place you want to visit, such as the Vatican and the Louvre. Look up the art you will see. Study the artist. Study each painting. Research the history of the city, the food, the local religion. Find books that are set in your destination. Watch movies about your adventure location.
Does it sound like a lot of work? It can be, but….I’ve done it for you!
Need a reading list for your child? Go here for reading lists for these destinations: Paris, Hawaii, London, New York, and Italy.
My ebooks for kids are geared for them in every way! They include information on their reading level and activities to increase their understanding and enjoyment of a vacation! Download my travel guides for kids on these destinations: London, Austin, New York, Nassau, Canada, Spain, the Louvre, Vatican City, Prado, France
Plan the Perfect Trip: Prepare to for the logistics of traveling with the kids
Being prepared is the way to happily travel with the kids. Keep the kids busy on the road which helps pass the time and keeps everyone happy. Get tips on road trips with kids!
If you are going to a destination that I haven’t written about yet, you can hire me to do the research. Yes, I do custom planning.
Need help? Just let me where you want to go and I can make it kid friendly WITHOUT a trip to the zoo. 😉
See the parts of the world YOU want to see AND take the kids!
Natalie, The Educational Tourist
You have convinced me!!!
Ha! Ha! So glad! Where will you go on your dream trip?
I feel, travelling with kids, is one of the best things parents can do. Even if the kids are young, the memories of the trip do leave a mark, in bits and pieces maybe.
I was lucky enough to be raised in an environment, where travelling to a new place every 2 years was the norm. I have distinct and vivid memories of some of the places I visited when I was as young as 6 years.
Thanks for stopping by! It is so nice to have ‘proof’ like yours that kids really do remember! The science is very strong that experiences even very early help shape the brain!
I definitely know a couple of friends that could really benefit from this advice. You sometimes get the impression from parents that their vacation time is essentially over until the kids finally leave and start their own lives. What you have said is so true and parents need to think that it really can be that win/win situation you spoke of.
I’d love to dispel that myth! The fun – and the traveling fun doesn’t stop when you have kids. To be truthful it just gets better…different but better!
I am a huge fan of planning my trips and planning them around kid friendly things to do. Those little bits of knowledge can save big dramas!
We often think about how having children will affect our travels. It’s encouraging to know that kids can travel on your itinerary. Teaching them new things and encouraging them to develop new interests by showing them your interests is a great way to bond as a family.
It is better and more fun than I can begin to tell you. The memories we make and the educational opportunities we are giving them are beyond words. Thanks so much for stopping by!
My husband and I love traveling and we thought that having kids would hinder us from pursuing this passion. After reading your post, it made me realize that it shouldn’t be the case. I love that we could be ‘selfish’ and share whatever we love to our future kids. Great tips, thank you so much!
Kids just make traveling even more fun and meaningful! Thanks for stopping by!
We have been traveling with toddler with more than 2 years now and its all about toys, fun activities, breaks and feeds. This post is going to be the next stage when we will have to make every destination its museum and attraction we visit interesting and compelling. These tips are definitely going to help.
It will be just more and more fun!! Enjoy!! Thanks for stopping by.
Totally agree with you. Though I do not have kids I think a perfect – even with kids- is possible. Things are probably getting more complicated but you can still do your own things, as you mentioned. So keep planning your perfect trip – and bring the kids 🙂
Natalie, I always enjoy reading your tips when it comes to family travel. While I do not have kids of my own, I understand the frustrations that parents could have when traveling with kids (I’ve seen it first-hand in my travels too). And it’s nice that you get to do more than just visit the zoo!
How sweet, thank you! Yes, too much ‘kids only’ stuff will rot a parent’s brain! LOL!
Such a detailed post! Traveling with kids is totally exhausted I think, but having a good plan will help a lot! I’m planning a trip with my little brother and will show mom this post 🙂