Most people agree that travel is good for kids. In addition to expanding horizons, the exposure to different cultures and geographies can create memories that will last a lifetime. When thinking about ‘What should kids bring on a trip?’ writing, drawing and photographic tools for capturing memories are critical. Even toddlers can keep a travel journal filled with pictures and ticket stubs, while older kids may want cameras or smartphones. For multigenerational travel, specifically travelling with grandkids, it’s a wonderful opportunity to grow closer through shared experiences and extended time together.
Adjust travel plans to best suit your children’s ages. Infants and babies don’t really get much enjoyment out of new places - sticking to sleep routines and feeding schedules are the best way for the entire family to enjoy the trip. Toddlers will start to engage with the sights and may even remember moments of big trips. And, while travelling with a toddler on a plane is not for the faint of heart, being well-prepared makes all the difference. Make sure they have places they can stretch and run around when they arrive. Consider booking accommodations with a pool or near a playground so they can burn off energy more easily.
For kids five and older, travel gets interesting. Engage your little person in planning and choosing some of the activities. The more input they have in a trip, the more they will get out of it. Let them choose between a selection of (vetted) activities to do - think bike ride, hike or boat ride. With teenagers, allowing them even more involvement in the itinerary often pays off - and consider trying something new or unexpected. Assign each kid a day to plan and let them lead the adventure.
While the typical cuts and scrapes can be tended to with a travelling first aid kit that includes antibacterial ointment and bandages, the bigger boo-boos such as ear infections, tummy aches, a chipped tooth or a broken arm or ankle, are best left to professional care. Access to a local doctor or dentist for unexpected emergency situations such as those outlined in a travel medical insurance plan is possible for youngsters as little as 15 days old.
The best places to travel with kids really depends on what kind of vacation you are looking for. It might be an all-inclusive resort on the Mayan Riviera, or a rustic farmhouse in the Swiss Alps. The varieties for travel are endless but be realistic in the plans—not many four-year-olds are up for hiking the Inca Trail, but a trip to nearby Cusco for the Festival of the Sun could be incredibly special.
When thinking about travel with kids, remember that the key to a smooth and memorable vacation is preparation. From back up batteries for devices on the flight to surprising the kids with a bit of their own spending money in the local currency, ensuring the best possible trip for everyone comes by anticipating bumps on the road.
Travel insurance goes a long way towards ensuring peace of mind, as do travel packing lists and useful travel books and websites. Don’t waste time, book that trip with the kids because “You're off to Great Places! Today is your day!”