Traveling alone is one of those little conveniences you can have when single. Sometimes, couples will even take a break from each other and decide to travel alone. But when you have children, those solo travel days (outside of business travel) are long over. It’s no secret that a child changes everything, and having multiple children is that change 10 fold. There are many things you can do alone that you can’t do when you have children with you.
When traveling alone or with an adult companion, you can go to shows that wouldn’t be suitable for the little ones. For instance, you can go to resorts and play casino table games. You can go on wine-tasting tours. You can go to the amusement park and enjoy the truly frightening rides. Yes, there is a little extra something in that iced tea that you don’t have to awkwardly explain to the kids.
That is not to say that you will never get to enjoy your travels when kids are involved, though. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Things that are fun for the whole family are not just fun for kids. Rather, they are fun for everyone. You will simply trade one set of activities for another. Here are a few to consider when you need something fun for all ages.
HISTORY & SCIENCE THEMED DESTINATIONS
You don’t have to go to an expensive and overcrowded theme park replete with talking animals to have a fun, themed vacation. You can check out Sovereign Hill and relive the gold rush. You can relive a piece of history that barely makes it into movies these days. There is only so much room in grade school history books. It is up to you to keep this history alive by sharing stories with the kids. Nothing will make those stories come to life like going to a gold mine retreat and actually living out that story for a few days.
There are also fun science-themed vacations, too. If you can score time at a space camp, you should consider yourself fortunate. Another life-expanding activity would be to volunteer at a zoo as a family. Zoos don’t just have paid employees. They also utilize volunteers for a lot of the mundane chores. Then again, are any chores at a zoo really mundane? Probably not. This type of travel is not just fun, but life-expanding in a way that sitting on a beach is not. Sometimes, having kids gives you the excuse to participate in these types of events.
Have you ever seen a rainforest? They truly are spectacular. You don’t have to travel halfway around the world to find and visit temperate rainforests, either. You might even have a rainforest within a day’s drive. While there are protected forests, they are unfortunately dwindling. If you don’t see one now, you can’t count on them being here forever. They are one or two political administrations away from being no more. Take the time to visit while you can still be awed by their grandeur.
Of course, there is a lot more to nature than tall trees. Take the family scuba diving so they can not only see the wonder on the surface, but experience the wonders beneath it, as well. The coral reefs are simply breathtaking, and they are worth seeing and experiencing for yourself. Some things don’t become real until they are experienced.
Sometimes, the best reason to take the family on a trip is to give them the experience of meeting new people, seeing new things, staying in different types of houses, eating different food, and hearing a different language. As a parent, your children’s cultural development is entirely your responsibility. You want to give them a sense of the size and scope of the world. They need to understand that there is more to culture than what they see in their immediate society.
Make sure your kids understand that other parts of the world are not just fiction from a video game. Help them expand their cultural appreciation through travel. Cultural experiences is something you can’t teach kids in school, its getting out there and being amongst it, trying the food, experiencing the people and emerging yourself the experience of a foreign culture.
There are so many things to do when traveling with your family — such as reliving history, learning about nature, and experiencing culture — that you won’t miss the days of traveling alone. In fact, you’ll find traveling with the family is the best way to travel. And the experiences you give you kids are priceless.
What’s your top travel experiences with your kids? Mine are plenty including sunrise over the Taj Mahal and Angkor Wat, swimming in the plunge pool at the top of Gunlom Falls looking out over Kakadu National Park or snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef or watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on Broadway. Oh there are so many amazing experiences we have shared with our kids.
Sal, Craig & Our3kids.