One of the questions I get asked the most is about how to get kids ready for a trip abroad. The truth is that it’s not easy! If you remember back to your first time far from home, the whole experience surely felt a bit daunting. Whether you are going to a neighboring country or the other side of the globe, getting that first passport stamp is a brave step.
For those of us in the throes of endless wanderlust, showing our kids the world is a truly essential milestone. But, how do you make them really feel ready and able to soak it all in?
Here are a few crucial steps to get kids ready for a trip abroad.
How Young Is Too Young to Travel?
Travel-loving parents often spend a lot of time and energy trying to pinpoint the perfect moment to go abroad with their kids for the first time. Especially if this is your first time traveling with kids, it can be daunting to decide the best adventure plan.
The truth is that it’s all about matching the child with the destination. Some spots can be perfect for little ones as young as two while other destinations can’t be fully appreciated until they’re in their teens.
If you are debating if now is the right time, you need to read How Young Is Too Young to Travel for expert advice to settle the matter once and for all.
What Does Your Family Love?
After a YouTube binge and hours of pouring over travel blogs, it’s easy to get carried away. You might feel ready to scale Mount Everest and cross South America on a motorbike. While these can certainly be bucket list experiences, they might not be the right picks for your family.
If your family loves nothing more than a lazy Sunday afternoon on the sofa, embrace it. Pick a laid back destination where you can relax and simply enjoy downtime together. Lazy travel is definitely a thing (just check out these amazing destinations) and there is no shame in it. Travel doesn’t have to push you out of your comfort zone. You deserve a vacation where you can enjoy every moment so you’re able to fully appreciate the beauty around you.
That said, if you’ve got non-stop kids, you need a non-stop destination. Look for theme parks that have something for the entire family. If your kids are old enough to walk around solo, go for a place that has nice restaurants, spas, a golf course, and other parent-friendly amenities.
Engage the Kids
No matter how young your kids are, there are ways to get them involved in the trip planning process. This is especially important when you want to get kids ready for a trip abroad for the first time. Narrow it down to a few destinations that stand out to you then show them videos of the different options. Empower them to pick and choose what looks like fun.
Going somewhere new and exotic is a perfect educational opportunity as well. Embrace every chance to engage them more by digging deeper. Learn about sea life and shells before a beach trip. Practice cooking the local recipes at home. It is too easy for younger kids to miss out on the significance of foreign travel so find ways to engage them on the right level.
Stay Comfortable Get Kids Ready for a Trip Abroad: The Packing Part
As any regular traveler knows, packing is an underrated art form. Ensuring you have all of the essentials without overdoing is much easier said than done and it’s particularly important when you are traveling with kids.
Bringing those few key comfort items for kids is crucial. Whether it is a teddy bear or a Switch, kids need to have the little things that allow them to unwind solo. That said, avoid packing everything but the kitchen sink. Any and every travel situation becomes more stressful when you have an unmanageable sum of luggage. Things will constantly be lost in the heap and getting around can quickly turn into a nightmare
Do some research on the local amenities and stores before you go. Whether you are exploring the Amazon or the street of Shanghai, there is a pretty good chance that you will be able to stock up on pretty much anything that you might need. When you’re packing, stay focused on key items like documents, medications, and irreplaceable things.
One thing that is more important than you might realize is must-haves like comfortable shoes and whether-appreciate clothing. Make sure that you are physically prepared for long days out and extreme weather. Start checking the weather reports at least a couple of weeks before you go to get a picture of the average temps.
If you’re not sure about the kids loving the local cuisine, get to know the local grocery stores. Everywhere in the world has kid-friendly options. Do some research to see what local parents are serving up then hit the market to find easy basics like bread and fruits.
Choose Your Hotel Very Carefully
Get to know exactly what amenities your hotel has available for families. If you are traveling with toddlers and babies, this is especially important. Look for options like kids’ clubs where the little ones can have a blast while you get some adult time. Be sure to note the hours, as well, you will find that some places have near 24/7 service while other kids’ clubs have very limited options.
Above all, don’t be shy to call. Any good business should be keen to sell you on what they’ve got to offer so fire away with the questions.
Need advice on choosing the best hotel for your next family trip? Check out our guide on Best Hotel Booking Sites.
Worried about the flight? You need to check out our tips on How to Keep Children Happy on Flights.