Travel with kids doesn’t have to mean kids clubs and children’s menus - it can involve adventure too. We’re not advocating taking your youngsters on a punishing trek up dangerous mountains, but experiencing something new as a family can be one of the greatest bonding experiences you’ll ever have. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Get Face to Face with Nature
Getting close to nature is an adventure in itself - and quite a different experience from a day at the zoo. Taking a trip to South Africa’s legendary safari parks, to Mexico to spot sea turtles or to Iceland to see migrating whales can open your eyes to the incredible world out there as a family. But it doesn’t have to be big, expensive or involve a long flight: you could take a well-planned trip to a national park nearby, with a ranger-led trek ideal for children, hike up a small mountain or spend some time bird watching by the lake. It all works.
Get Active as a Family
Getting active as a family can be a great bonding experience that'll make memories to last a lifetime. Test the waters by kayaking in the lake, biking through the forest, or swimming in the ocean. Once you know the whole brood will be into it, you can start planning a more in depth adventure - hiking the Annapurna circuit in Nepal (with porters to help carry small children), cycling through Holland’s tulip fields or river rafting in the south of France, for starters. It sure beats lying on a beach.
Be Inspired by Richard Scarry's Busytown
Little children love new forms of transport - whether that’s buses, trains, cable cars or monorails. Vancouver is a great city for transport-spotters, with seaplanes buzzing along, the SeaBus across Burrard Inlet, and the SkyTrain around the city; Lisbon is built on a series of hills and has plenty of funiculars to help you reach them, while Sydney Harbour was made for boat trips.
Take your Tastebuds on a Trip
Adventures don't always require hiking boots. Spending the day trying new foods or exploring the local markets, a treat for the senses. Barcelona’s famous Boqueria market is one of Europe’s largest, with stalls selling fresh fruit, fish, and great big legs of dried ham. The kids can taste tons of new delicacies and there are plenty of cafés for resting up after all the excitement.
Did you know that you could be exploring the underwater world from the age of four? SCUBA lessons aren’t regularly available for children under the age of 10, but SNUBA - an underwater breathing system that requires no lessons - is possible from the age of eight, with an adapted system for kids aged four and up. Enter the world of the Little Mermaid and get set for a family experience they’ll never forget. You can try it on many Caribbean islands, in Mexico, Sri Lanka, Australia, Costa Rica and multiple other destinations worldwide.
Staycations are all the rage, but to up the adventure factor - stay in someone else’s! Vacations are a time when you need somewhere comfortable to rest your head, play and relax. Family homes - like those on Kid & Coe - are ideal as a base for a family trip, providing enough space and bedrooms for all the kids, along with a kitchen to whip up meals you know they'll eat. Adventure by day, comfort by night - it’s a great combination.
Despite what you may think, far-flung corners of the globe are do-able with children. Want to visit India? Iceland? Nepal? Patagonia? People raise children in all of these locations, and you certainly won’t be the first parents to visit. The key is to be prepared and have a plan -- fully research what to do once you get there. Learning a few words of the local language can be great fun for kids, and getting to know and understand a completely different culture is a fantastic life experience.
Depending on the age of your kids, giving them a travel diary, camera or notebook to record their thoughts is a great way to preserve the memories. For younger children, asking them to draw a picture of what they did each day is a great way to futher their education, while cameras are a wonderful way to see how they have viewed their trip, and what excited them.
Packing is an essential part of trip planning. Don't forget the essentials: passports, medicine, first aid, travel documents, insurance, and leave a little room for souvenirs. Remember that in most places, it’s easy to buy diapers and baby things so you don’t need to take everything with you - and check with where you’re staying to see if they can provide anything you need. Many properties have cribs, high chairs and toys, helping you cut down on the packing when traveling with tots.
Plan the Trip Together
Grab a map, ask the kids for some ideas, and start planning. Once you break out of the confines of what a family vacation means and realize the world is your oyster, there’s no limit to where you can go. Want to tango in Argentina? Ski in Whistler? Take a boat trip around the islands or visit the world’s greatest art galleries in New York? Adventure is out there waiting for you.