Pulling off an incredible family vacation is tough, even at the best of times. But when you’re darting from one location to another, it can be a nightmare. Remember, kids aren’t like adults: they don’t have the ability to focus in on long-term objectives, conduct whistlestop tours and dart between countries at a moment's’ notice. Traveling with children requires some careful planning and a lot of effort on your part. Here are some of the lessons parents have learned over the years.
Lesson #1: Put Enough Stuff In Your Carry On Bags To Last You A Couple Of Days
Everybody should be following this advice, especially parents traveling with children. Airlines have an uncanny knack for losing your luggage or sending it to the wrong airport. Often you can be waiting for days to get your luggage back, so it’s worth taking some essential supplies, like a spare pair of underwear or diapers, in your hand luggage, just in case.
Lesson #2: Get Somebody Else To Organize Your Activities
Organizing your own activities can be a little hit and miss. It’s hard to gauge exactly what kids will like, and it’s difficult to know what is age-appropriate, without having tried something before. The last thing you want to happen is to get stuck out in the frozen cold somewhere or to get stranded on whitewater rapid, all because you didn’t know how harsh conditions would be. Find a family activity tour operator who can tailor experiences to your family’s needs, and don’t take any chances.
Lesson #3: Put One Parent In Charge Of Packing
Most couples like to share responsibilities when it comes to taking the kids on holiday. But that might not be such a good idea - at least when it comes to packing. The problem, according to My Little Nomads, is that when both parents do the packing, neither really knows for sure where everything is and whether everything has been packed. It’s best for one parent to take responsibility for the packing and for the other to do something else - like booking the airline tickets. This way, you won’t end up in a foreign country missing something essential, like your hair dryer or your kid’s favorite toy.
Lesson #4: Hire A Car And Driver If Going To A Remote Location
Have you ever noticed that when westerners travel to a poor country, they always have a tour guide? There’s a reason for this. In poor countries, Western people are often a target for crime, thanks to the amount of wealth they have and the cash they carry. Tour guides serve as both protection and facilitators, taking your family from one location to another, navigating their way along unpaved roads and chaotic city streets.
Lesson #5: Beat Jet Lag
Family holidays can quickly descend into a series of extended lie-ins if you don’t take on jet lag immediately. It’s a good idea to stay up late the first night so that you can get into the local time-zone. Then be rigorous with when to get up and when to go to sleep. Make sure that the kids are informed of your plans in advance.