Traveling

Preparing Your Family for an International Vacation

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Traveling can be a great bonding experience for the family; international trips add that extra element of the new, exciting and different. Going to a far-flung destination with a family in tow is a much different scenario than a solo backpacking trip or traveling as a couple. Exposing your children to new cultures and new sights can greatly aid their development and increase their curiosity. Here are some tips for traveling internationally with children.

Expose Them to the New Culture

Before you go, start exposing your children to information about your destination. You can accomplish this with books, movies, websites and many other mediums. Learning a bit more about the country, and the particular areas, you will be visiting will pique their interest and make them more excited to go. If you are going to Costa Rica, or another country well known for biodiversity, for example, showing them all the different animals they may see is a great idea.

Get Them Involved in the Planning

Get your kids involved in planning the trip. Ask for their input on activities and sights they are interested in. Let them pick out their luggage and assist in packing. There are many websites that offer personalized bag tags for children’s luggage—they will have a lot of fun picking out their own design. While you are not catering the whole trip to your children, it is important that they be able to choose some of the activities, activities that you will probably get some enjoyment out of as well. Happy children will make for a happier vacation.

Check Hours and Holidays Ahead of Time

Know the hours of operation for sights and activities, as well as whether any public holidays fall during your trip; failing to do so ahead of time may put a crimp in your plans, and lead to cranky kids. Imagine trekking two hours only to find you came the one day where the attraction is closed or has different hours than the rest of the week; this is particularly important if you will be visiting multiple destinations on your trip, and only have that one shot at going to that particular place your child has his heart set on.

Consider Staying in an Apartment

As a frequent international traveler, I have discovered that you can often rent an apartment or house for about the same, or even less, than a hotel. Often times, you may get similar amenities, such as daily cleaning. Generally, though, you will not get that same hotel experience, but this type of accommodation can have big benefits for families. First, you will have more space, and it will be a more comfortable environment for children. You can save some big bucks by buying your own food at least part of the time; if you have picky eaters, this can save a lot of grief. There are lots of great sites that can match you up with people renting out their homes, such as AirBNB and Roomorama.

About the Author: Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys blogging about travel.

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