Travel with children

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Half term is here If you want to spend quality time with your children, help them learn, grow and gain a better understanding of the world and humanity, then travelling abroad is a great way to do it. So take the plunge and set off on an adventure with the family. Whether you’re new to backpacking or a seasoned globetrotter, you shouldn’t have to put away your passport just because you have started a family.

As a travelling family you’ll talk and share experiences, which these days we often struggle to find time for in our busy lives. Babies, toddlers and teenagers may surprise you with their adaptability and affability when the hold of regular routines loosens. Watching your children engage with different surroundings can change your perspective and invigorate you with a renewed sense of wonder. As your children blossom before your eyes in response to new encounters and experiences, it’s hard not to share their excitement. Their questions will reveal the depths of their intelligence and the scope of their understanding, which in turn will enrich your appreciation of your children. Their horizons quite literally expand as they realise that the world is bigger than your home town or city, and with it comes an appreciation of cultural diversity, the seeds of tolerance and empathy, which will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

Your trip will also be transformed: you will be given a warmer welcome, people will look on you more kindly, and will have more intimate encounters with locals, as parenting provides a strong common bond with people all over the world.

Anxieties may conspire to place obstacles in your path: which destination to choose and how to get there, what to pack for a change of climate, or fear of strange, ‘exotic’ diseases. Will the youngest scream all the way through a 24-hour flight? Will the eldest still be able to gorge herself on fruit and avoid a tummy bug? Will you be able to go diving if the kids are in tow? Stop worrying: nothing really stands in your way, even if dragging your brood to the other end of the world does involve a certain amount of know-how. The first part of this book will provide you with basic advice and tips to get to grips with travelling with the family while avoiding disaster.

A big part of getting the planning right comes from choosing a suitable holiday destination for your family. The second part of the book will help you make this decision by looking at a broad range of destinations. Specific activities, points of interest, comfort, health, what to watch out for and the best time to go: every country is carefully scrutinised so that you can be confident about your choice. As several days walking in Morocco is completely different to seeing dolphins in Florida or playing at explorers in the Amazon, this guide gives you a broad idea of where to start. It is then up to you to choose the country that will thrill the small boy who cannot sit still, the little girl who dreams of being a princess or the teenager who is mad about sport. Once you are there, the joy of watching them, wide-eyed in wonder, embarking on this amazing adventure will mean that any misgivings will soon be forgotten. While travelling with children might not be glamorous, relaxing or easy, what will stay with you is the joy of sharing those unforgettable experiences. Better than memories, you will pass on the taste for travel to your children. They will be eternally grateful.

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Reproduced with permission from Travel With Children: The Essential Guide To Travelling With Children, 6th edn.© 2015 Lonely Planet. To purchase a copy of the book, please visit www.lonelyplanet.com

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