I am so excited to bring you this guest post today. Kendra Thornton is a renown travel expert and the former Director of Corporate Communications at Orbitz.com, one of the nation’s largest travel agencies. Today she is sharing ideas on involving your children in travel plans and making the trip memorable for the whole family.
Kendra Thornton: Travel advocate, TV spokesperson, PR businesswoman, proud wife and mama of 3. I am a long time travel expert who has been packing my bags and traveling the world since I was 3 months old! I’ve found my utmost desire in life is right here in my own home. I have taken my excitement for travel and brought it to you with some of my favorite travel tips and tricks. Enjoy!
Creating a Memorable Vacation Starts with Involving Your Children
If you want your children to truly treasure your upcoming family vacation, get them involved in the planning process. By giving your children a role in planning their trip, they’ll not only feel excited about your upcoming vacation but gain exposure to the decision making process as well. You’ll be able to enjoy quality time together as a family if your children are truly engaged with your travel plans.
1. Ask for Destination Input
Start involving your children in your upcoming vacation by asking them to write their own list of awesome vacation attractions. Although some destinations, such as Antarctica, will not be feasible for your family, you should get some interesting responses that will help shape the trip. Pay attention to the common themes in the suggestions. For example, if your son lists several national parks, try to include outdoor recreation in your itinerary. Work together to make the final decision on your destination.
Further, make sure your destination is kid friendly. It can be a struggle to find a location that is fun for the kids and for mom and dad. If you find yourself in this situation, try exploring family friendly resorts. Resorts geared toward families are located all over and cater to a variety of interests, from skiing to swimming and even horseback riding. When my husband and I decided to take our three to Hawaii, we chose a family friendly resort that was still ranked amongst Honolulu’s top hotels. Including your kids in the decision process and keeping all of your interests in mind when booking accommodations will make for your best vacation to date.
2. Decide How to Remember Your Trip
Souvenirs are a great way to remember vacation but choosing the right kind of vacation token is key. There are a variety of crafts and interactive entertainment that will provide your whole family with a lifetime of memories in addition to your memento. Look into taking a pottery class while at the beach or designing a 2013 Smith Family Extravaganza t-shirt. These souvenirs will not only last longer but hold more meaning if you are all working together.
3. Plan Your Transport Entertainment
So you’ve decided to take a road trip. To avoid the inevitable “Are We There Yet’s” try making the ride part of your vacation. Get the kids involved before you leave and have them map out a couple places along your route they’d like to explore. In our era of GPS technology, just folding a map is a foreign concept let alone reading one. Use this opportunity as a chance to teach your kids the basics of travel and give them some say over where you go. This will get them excited for the ride and the end destination. Your options can vary from a quick picnic lunch near a beautiful lake to South Carolina’s infamous South of the Border Highway Oasis.
4. Turn History Into An Adventure
Museums are a hard sell with kids. But there are some cities like D.C., Philadelphia or Boston that you really can’t neglect the history. If you decide to visit a historically rich city, such as Williamsburg VA, your children might get bored while you visit the city’s historic attractions. To add some fun to these educational destinations, plan a scavenger hunt with your children. Urban Adventure Quest allows you to download an interactive scavenger hunt that turns your bland tour into an adventure using your smart phone. Spanning over 20 cities, this hand held guide will expose you to all of your destination’s historical landmarks with clues and hints to make the experience engaging for a large range of ages. Each time your children discover a clue, reward them with a treat or small prize.
5. Start a Vacation Blog
Setting up a vacation blog before you leave is a great way to let your children share their vacation experiences. Give each child their own profile on the blog so that they share their own voice. Work with your children to plan their entries before you leave. While on your vacation, help your children upload videos and pictures after each day of the trip. This is a great project for kids traveling during the school year who may miss a few days and also an excellent way to share their adventure with extended family. After the trip is over, you and your family will treasure the blog as a digital scrapbook.
Thanks for sharing these fantastic ideas, Kendra!