If traveling is an art, then Indians are artistically challenged! We like to carry our world with us, literally! We carry three bags full of warm clothes when we leave for a trip abroad, and return with a bag full of only cosmetics and chocolates. Also, if we travel as a family, we carry anything and everything we can lay our hands on – the people at the airport would charge extra for a refrigerator or an air conditioner, so we leave it at home! Thus, not many men and women are seen to reminisce fondly about their excursions with their parents, when they were children. Also, since there is very less involvement of the children – daddies are too busy looking for the morning paper and mommies looking for things to shop – they end up feeling like they have been dragged into it and do not enjoy. Family traveling has to involve the children too, which needs time and planning and will also require families to view traveling as an experience rather than as a task. Here’s what to do for better family travel or holidays.
Image: Filip Maljkovi?@flickr
How To Make Family Travel Easy
Here are some ways by which one can make traveling with family easy and fun:
Avoid Tour Groups
Most of the times, not much planning goes into these trips and many expenses are all packaged together to make these tours more appealing. Also, scheduled and specific tours do have some shortcomings. Many times when you join a specific tour group, you miss out on other sites that you might have wanted to visit. One feels the loss of flexibility with a tour group and you are rushed through the sites so that you can keep up with your itinerary. Agreed that the tour groups do offer a small amount of "free time", but most of that time is spent looking at the watch, just so that you aren’t left behind. In fact, it is advisable not to opt for a tour group when travelling with children. It is not easy for children to adhere to a strict time schedule and sometimes many other travelers who are not used to being around children can make things uncomfortable or difficult. One of the best ways to travel, is to plan your own family travel itinerary.
Bring In Kiddie Involvement
If your children are old enough, let the children help in planning your trip. You could take their help in deciding on tourist attractions that you would like to visit. More than anything else, make sure you see museums and other historical places of the area you are visiting. Use your trip as a learning experience. Designate your children as "official travel guides" and encourage them to do research about the place they will be visiting. This helps children have a better knowledge of what they will experience.
Note Down Your Travel Experience
One way that you and your children can remember your special trip is by keeping a travel journal. You could give your child an inexpensive notebook that they can make into their own travel journal. Make sure they record things that were special to them about the trip. Children see things from a different perspective, even when traveling, and this can be a way for them to express their thoughts and feelings about the trip. It will also make them feel that they are traveler's too and not just being dragged around by their parents.
Click Away To Glory
Click the pleasant moments of your trip and make them memorable. You won't be able to remember everything that you did or everything that you saw once you return home. Your pictures and videos will help you relive that special trip and can be there for your children and other generations to enjoy. Especially younger children will enjoy watching themselves on the trip and it will help them retain their special memories of that trip. A good way to encourage your children to look around and enjoy the sites is by giving them an inexpensive digital or disposable camera.