Travel is one of the most precious gifts which a parent can give to a child. The chance to see new parts of the world and experience different and exciting cultures, cuisine and languages is something which will stay with a child for the rest of their life. In educational terms, a week or two immersed in a foreign culture will allow a child to learn about it in a way which months spent reading or watching documentaries simply couldn’t hope to match. Nobody is pretending that travelling with young children is easy, however, so here are a few tips designed to take a little stress out of the experience and perhaps give you a few ideas of where to take your kids next.
Whilst kids love the excitement of a stay in a hotel, and parents relish the pampering they might get if it’s at the luxury end of the scale, there are times when the comforts of home make a journey much more practical. For a longer stay in a city, for example, renting an actual home which has a kitchen, a selection of bedrooms and signs of family life such as toys, books and board games, can be the ideal choice. For the duration of your stay you’ll actually feel like you’re just another local family, exploring and making the most of whatever city you’re in. various companies offer this option, with houses all over the world ranging from the small and cosy to the grand and palatial.
Get to Know each Other
The pace of modern life, and in particular the long and strenuous working hours which most people now have to cope with, can sometimes make it difficult for parents and kids to spend a lot of quality time together. A trip is the perfect time to combat this problem, particularly if you plan activities, days out and sightseeing tours which you know will appeal to them.
For a short while you can forget work, they can forget school and you can just be two friends having fun together.
Camping with a Difference
Lots of kids love the idea of spending some time under the canvas of a tent, even to the point where they’ll beg to be allowed to camp in their own back garden, whilst many parents prefer travel with a few luxury touches thrown in. the modern trend known as ‘glamping’ offers the best of both worlds: you’re staying in a tent, yes, but it’s a large scale, luxury tent. Rather than squeezing into a sleeping bag you’ll be spending the night in a king sized bed, whilst being kept warm by a wood burning stove, and although the wonders of nature will be only a few footsteps away, parents will be relieved to know that they still have access to an en-suite bathroom with a plumbed in toilet.
Tents are outfitted with king-sized beds, wood-burning stoves, and (yes!) en-suite bathrooms with proper plumbing. The company’s original camp is in Yellowstone and makes a great base for exploring the park. Later this year, they’ll also be opening locations just outside Glacier National Park and Arches and Canyonlands national parks in Moab, Utah.
Farther Afield in Familiar Territory
Mexico has become a regular destination for my family. It’s easy to reach and has great food, beautiful beaches, and wonderful history and culture. This year, however, I’m hoping to explore beyond the coast, starting with a trip to Tepoztlán, nestled in the mountains about 50 miles from Mexico City.
Purportedly the birthplace of Quetzalcoatl, one of the major deities of the ancient Mexican pantheon, this Pueblos Mágico boasts a stunning setting, spectacular ruins, and a groovy New-Age vibe that’s bound to feel eons away from the sun-and-sand good times of Cabo. Bonus points: we were able to easily combine this trip with time on the coast (because who wants to miss a chance at margaritas by the pool?).
That’s right–my wish list includes a trip without the kids, and I’m not ashamed to say it. In fact, I think traveling without your children, be it for an in-town staycation or a week-long sojourn, is as necessary as regular date nights–and can reenergize you as a parent.
This year, my husband and I are celebrating our tenth anniversary, and I’ve called in backup (Grandma) and pulled out my adults-only bucket list. Mykonos, Capri, British Columbia, and Peru are all places I’m dying to visit. The only resolution for that trip: disconnect, reconnect and, of course, sleep in past 7 a.m.