Vacationing is both fun and a bonding experience for the family. You’re taking a break from stressful, everyday life at work and rewarding you and your family with an overseas trip to Rome, Venice, or Paris. Experiences like this are so much more valuable to a family than buying more toys or other material goods. A trip is something that becomes ingrained within each family member’s mind and becomes something they remember for a lifetime. For the kids, it may not seem very meaningful, but as they grow older they will begin to realize what a privilege it is to travel with the family. With kids between the years of 5 and 17, traveling abroad isn’t all fun and games, and in fact it can be a real hassle at times. Here are 7 tips to survive tour with them, especially the problematic ones.
- Neutralize Downtime – Pre-planning is of utmost importance for a long distance trip. Make sure you don’t spend too much time just sitting in a hotel waiting for a scheduled event. So have a basic guideline of pertinent events/sites you want to see and then an additional list of optional things to do in case you and your family have extra time available.
- No eating before the tour – Eating just before the tour can only cause problems. I’ve probably heard the statement, “I don’t feel good” far more times than, “Thanks, Mom” or “I love you,” and the worst time to hear this is right in the thick of a tour. A moderately hungry kid is better a sick kid, and just to hold them over promise everyone will eat after the tour is over.
- Keep them close – The presence of a parent is more powerful than you may think. Holding your child’s hand can keep them alert and ensure no one gets lost in the bustling streets.
- Grownup tours vs. Non-grownup tours – This should be researched prior to the tour, but pick an exciting tour not just for you but your kids as well. While you may be interested in learning more about ancient Roman diplomacy and government, that same tour will bore the kids and cause attention loss quickly. Try to find a tour with more hands-on activities and child interaction.
- Relax – It’s easy to forget to enjoy the tour yourself while spending so much attention micromanaging the children. Take a deep breath and make sure to drink it all in; the sights, sounds, tour guide’s information, and all else. A vacation abroad is more than
- Incentives – Prior to the tour, give you child an incentive for good behavior. This can be anything from promising to see something that they want to see after the tour or stipulating that if the child behaves properly throughout the tour, they will receive a treat afterwards.
- “It’ll all be over soon.” – If things go south for whatever reason, remember the tour will be over shortly (given you select the ‘correct’ tour). As a parent you know all too well as to making the best out of a bad situation.
You should expect to have difficulty controlling children while on a vacation abroad, it simply comes with the territory of a child being away from home and with all the distractions of a tour present. It’s all about finding a happy medium between keeping a watchful eye on your kids, not forgetting to enjoy the time yourself, and balancing between scheduling enough events/sites to see and ensuring kids don’t get burnt out. Follow these guidelines and you should come home feeling refreshed and providing a memorable experience for everyone.
Sarah Murphy has worked in Dublin for the last two years as a blogger, web content manager and marketing coordinator. A journalist by training and travel junkie by nature, she regularly travels to Italy for both business and to experience some of the Rome tours, where she mostly spends her time in search of the perfect gelato.