Deciding when and where to take your next vacation is difficult enough when you only have to consider the needs of you and your partner or friends. When children are involved, the problems can be multiplied several times over.
If your kids are under school age, you will need to consider the climate at your chosen destination; it should not be too hot and the sun so strong that they are unable to spend much time outdoors. At the other extreme, young children’s lungs are incapable of coping with sub-zero temperatures. Such issues can be easily overcome by taking vacations to tropical destinations in the off-season, when temperatures are slightly lower. As an added bonus, the cost of accommodation and flights will be lower than peak season, attractions will be less crowded and the weather should still be warm and pleasant. Winter sports vacations can be delayed until early spring, when the weather is slightly less cold. The advantage here is that the days are longer and the sun warmer.
Traveling with school age kids brings its own set of problems, because you will be restricted to the end of term breaks. This means prices will be higher than during term time, and popular destinations are likely to be crowded. Book flights and accommodation well in advance, several months if necessary. If you are taking a winter sports vacation, book ski/snowboard classes as early as possible too.
Toddlers like routine, so try not to say too much about the upcoming trip until perhaps as late as the day before. Tell them exactly what is going to happen on the journey and give them picture books and small toys to play with. Slightly older kids can be involved earlier, at the planning stage. Closer to the vacation, give them small rucksacks they can pack with toys and books to take on the trip. School age kids will want to be involved right from the start, so tell them about the destination so that they can go online and see it is like.
There are numerous child-friendly activity vacations to choose from:
- Snow sports – the merest mention of the word snow is enough to get kids from the age of two to 70 excited. All the equipment, including ski boots, can be rented in the resort, but if you decide to purchase them, be certain to select boots and bindings to match your ability and that of your child.
- National parks – special events are organized for youngsters, such as wildlife watching and nature trails. Laser guns are also handed out so that kids can check the temperature of geysers and animals. All that’s needed are suitable walking boots and appropriate clothing
- Kayaking and canoeing – there are rivers across the country where kayak rentals are available from just an hour to two or three day tours. Safety helmets and buoyancy aids are usually provided.
- Horse riding – whether you spend a week on a working ranch or a beginner’s lesson at a local riding school, most kids will love being on horseback. Sturdy shoes, jeans and a safety helmet are all that’s required.
With careful planning and a little thought, your vacation is sure to be a great adventure for the entire family.
photo credit: Alexander Hait via Flickr