There are loads of ways you can help prepare your kids for the family travel before you leave. Giving them some information that helps establish some familiarity with your destination can go a long way towards coping when they get there and it might also get them excited about the prospect in advance. Encourage your children to be involved in planning the trip and where you’ll be going as often as possible.
Books On Family Travel
A month or so before you depart get as much literature as you can on the area you will be visiting. Get tourist brochures, guidebooks, books from the library – anything with pictures. Try to find books of legends or children’s stories from the region. For a young child, even a travel brochure can be made into a story by explaining the pictures. You may be surprised at how much sticks.
Films On Family Travel
There’s nothing like a good movie to get kids excited about a place and give them a visual image of what it will be like, so hire some videos or DVDs before you go. You can also watch television family travel shows and other TV specials about places you’ll visit.
Restaurants and Outings
Take your kids out to eat in restaurants, go for weekend family trips, take them for walks – in short prepare them for the family travel. You can introduce a few different foods or flavours into your cooking and visit restaurants that offer cuisine that they will be exposed to while travelling. Although most young children will recoil on principle when anything new is offered, they will sometimes try new food in a new country when it is served up in a restaurant.
Pin up a map of the region you are travelling to and get older children to mark where they’d like to go. As you plan out your family travel you can mark your route on it.
Invite friends around to share their travel stories of destinations. You might have to choose people carefully so you get stories that will capture the children’s imagination rather than bore them to tears.
Learning The Language
Learning some of the local language can be useful as well as enjoyable. Make it a fun and relevant activity like trying to talk in the language at the dinner table or use foreign words when you’re driving in the car. It will help your children’s confidence if they can converse with a few words, even if it’s just hello, goodbye, please and thank you. Children usually pick up languages well, particularly young children. Whatever efforts they make will be appreciated by local people.
Check out a variety of family travel websites on the internet and get as much information and advice about where your family travel destination. Tourist office websites are also a good starting point for information about the country you’re visiting.