How do you engage your kids in your vacation prep?

Travel Forums General Talk How do you engage your kids in your vacation prep?

1. Posted by sarah_kp (First Time Poster 1 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

I’m looking for inspiration for how other parents are involving and engaging their kids (from reading age to tweens) in their vacation planning before going away on cultural vacations/city breaks (guidebooks, programs, discussions, something completely different)?

And how much of a difference do you feel it makes to how engaged and curious your kids are with the destination while away?

2. Posted by Peter (Admin 7101 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

I'd say mostly just discussions around what things we could see and do. Also, showing them pics of where we're planning on staying once that's booked or even letting them help choose.

Maybe eating a bit of the destination's cuisine to get them used to a bit of that.

When we went to Japan a few years ago I also spent a few months learning Japanese on DuoLingo and was trying to get them to learn a few things as well. Mixed results on that one. My youngest is really into Studio Ghibli so we were sure to book that before going. My eldest quite likes trains so obviously one of our internal trips was on the shinkansen. It's definitely important to consider what your kids enjoy doing when planning.

3. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1841 posts) 5w 1 Star this if you like it!

Our kids are grown and intrepid travelers now, but when they were little, when we were planning a trip, each person in the family was supposed to list 5 things they wanted to visit wherever we were going. Then I mapped them all out and we tried to hit at least 3 from each person. That was good because we got to visit things grownups enjoy and the kids couldn't fuss because we were visiting things they liked too.

If we took a really special trip, I had each kid (we had 2 girls and 1 boy) keep a journal. These were not diaries and anyone could read them so we didn't have fights about peeking. Some entries were quite vivid and some simply listed where we had gone that day or something they liked (or hated) to eat that day. When we got home, it was great fun reading through them. The kids also each had a camera so the journals helped them figure out where the pictures were from. A camera was a big deal then; now every kid has a phone with a camera so it's probably not a big deal. I have to add, when we visited Montreal and I ate snails at lunch, that event made all three journals with a big YUCK. They couldn't believe I did that. I suspect all of them now eat snails because we all love France.

They worked pretty hard at making lists so they could choose what they wanted to do instead of being stuck with what the rest of us might choose. Occasionally, it was a favorite ice cream parlor someplace, but that was fine with me. I love ice cream. Anything that involved a boat or train ride was a favorite. They would search for those.

Now that they are grown, when we take trips together, each person gets to plan a day and we rotate until the trip is over. That works well too.

BTW, if you enjoy museums, ask when you get your tickets because many museums have activity sheets for kids that are great fun and keep them occupied and interested.

Have a great trip.

[ Edit: Edited on 29 Jun 2022, 22:38 GMT by Beausoleil ]

4. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 2261 posts) 5w 1 Star this if you like it!

My parents took us (my sister and me) to Europe when we were 10 and 12. We were going to travel through Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Austria and Switzerland and then spend a week in Paris before we went to the UK. My mother took us to Berlitz for lessons in French - I don't remember that she did anything else. This was a work trip for my dad - he was giving scientific papers in Paris and Oxford at meetings. We did this fairly often but it was usually in the USA. We were expected to be interested without any special accommodations for us or advance preparations. My mother ran a tight ship as far as our behavior went. But while we were on the trip she engaged us in different ways. If ther was public transportation involved, we had to explain to her how we would get back to our hotel, and pick the routes that would get us to our destination. We also had to tell her how much something that was priced in francs or pounds or marks was in dollars. I'm sure she could have done this herself much more quickly than we did it. My grandmother had given us our money to spend so we were on the lookout for something to buy with what she gave us. I got a charm bracelet with little animals carved in bone when we were in Denmark.

When she traveled by herself with one of her grandchildren, I think she was more relaxed about what the children were required to eat. I think when she took my daughter to China she let her just eat white rice if nothing else appealed to her. (This was very different from when she traveled with us as a family.) She did write me once to complain that my daughter wasn't always cheerful in the morning.

When I traveled with my children and later with my grandchildren, I rarely did anything to prepare them for the trip. I tried to book things that I thought they would like to do. Sometimes I asked them, and sometimes they would suggest something. When they were little (2 years old to 6 years old) I tried to see to it that they had meals and naps on time, and that they had a time to run around and make noise in the time before dinner - and that's probably a good idea even when kids are older. All of my grandchildren (who were 12 to 14 when I took them) traveled with cameras and taking photos was a large part of our day. If you are taking photos of the architecture you don't have time to complain. Sometimes they would be in competition with me to see if they could take more photos than I did.