Vacation activities and sightseeing with kids!
When you're on a family vacation, though--be it spring break, summer vacation, or anytime at all--it's important to plan vacation activities ahead of time. That said, I've always said that on vacation, I like to go where the wind blows me. That's my way of saying I love sightseeing without a plan. Alas, now as a mama, experience tells me it's sometimes better to have an idea of what we'll do before we go.
Let's see what all of our travel experts have to say this week.
My best advice is to incorporate some memorable, fun, and unusual-for-you modes of transportation into your sightseeing activities. Preview the area you're visiting online, including mapping distances, then decide who in your family can walk, light rail, bike, or tuk-tuk to whatever sights you're prioritizing. If your kiddos are little, they might get a thrill from an open-air bus tour, and you'll see places where you want to return and spend more time. The internet is great, but there's just no way to replace getting the lay of the land with your own eyes.
One of my favorite vacation activities of all time was a horseback ride through the rainforest of Costa Rica, surrounded by howler monkeys, before swimming in a waterfall-fed pond. Getting there was (more than) half the fun. Make the journey part of your sightseeing adventure. What a wonderful way to make sightseeing memories! Check out our must-have travel items for kids of all ages, too.
"Travelling with babies, toddlers and young children means very slow travel for us. Sight-seeing is spread out and copious amounts of time are spent in play parks and soft plays around the world. We try to factor in outdoor activities every day whether it's beach time or a short hike. Making sure that the children get plenty of time to run around, be wild and have fun is an absolute priority.
When it comes to family-friendly cultural experiences, it's all about ancient ruins and history museums for us...From the Acropolis in Athens with a baby to visiting the temples in Bagan, Myanmar with kids we've had nothing but amazing experiences visiting historic ruins. When they were younger, we carried the kids around sites in baby slings but now they run around pretending to be explorers. Likewise...we've had the pleasure of visiting some amazingly child-friendly museums worldwide. For example, visiting South Korea with kids, we found that almost every museum has a superb interactive children's museum attached. A brilliant way of combining sightseeing with play."
"Activities and sightseeing on a family vacation are very important to us...We love to be outdoors so we look for a place with a lot of hiking, camping, swimming or historical sites to see. I start by finding the website for the destination we are going to and seeing what the locals recommend. We plan our itinerary around these activities starting with the most active activity since the kids have been sitting in a car or airplane for so long. Next, we look for deals online from websites like Groupon. There is even sometimes a "City Pass" type of card that you can purchase for each family member that gets you into the most popular places..."
"...I’m sharing my top 3 lessons I’ve learned over the last several years traveling with small children.
More ideas at https://mommyandmetravels.com.
Excitement = Museums X Coffee 2 - That was our travel formula before we had teenagers. It was perfect for our little crew. It's my number one sightseeing and activity planning tip. We’d take in a museum in the morning when we were fresh, stop for a spot of lunch near somewhere that had a place to let the kids get rid of some energy while the parents grabbed a coffee (double shot, of course). Then, it was onto the next exciting activity.
We found that our kids regularly needed a time to just play - at a park, in the water, along a hiking path or out in a grassy field. Museums are fantastic! Art, history and science are all incredibly inspiring, but don’t forget to sprinkle in a bit of free play to let their little brains organize and process all that information. Now that we have teenagers, we still follow this sightseeing and activity formula. It’s worked for so many years, it's now a comforting routine for all of us."
"...Here are our top three tips:
Once we've narrowed down our wish list, we plan out each day, leaving room for relaxing, snack times, and free time to just play around. We try to plan out restaurants too, to make sure we won't need reservations and that they are kid-friendly!" - Read more at www.grabmypassport.com
"Fear of Missing Out or FOMO is real. It’s a common mistake to condense everything into how long the trip is. You're already there, might as well do it, right?
Try to not be tempted to overachieve. Enjoy and relax. Don’t drive yourself nuts as I did when we went to Walt Disney World for the first time. Have time for rest and cool spots...
Doing nothing should be in your itinerary. Take this time to rehydrate, rest your aching feet from walking, or talk to your family and reflect on what you just saw and experience." - Read about their rookie mistakes here.
"...From our experience, giving yourself lots of time, being prepared and staying flexible are key to creating great memories.
Time. Allow yourself the opportunity to ease into a place...We find that discovering sights and wildlife on our own is so much more memorable than taking an expensive tour and having someone else show us and tell us about a new place. Often tours go too fast and don’t allow time to just wander.
Being prepared. We try to do background research as a family before getting to our destination to know about the history, culture, wildlife, language and people. A story helps the kids connect to sights. Maps are fantastic visuals.
Be flexible and forgiving. Most important is balancing the kids’ and adults’ needs. Check in with everyone and learn how to compromise. Don’t be too attached to an idea of what the experience should be. You might not have time to see it all but you have an introduction to the place and can plan to return someday!"
"...We make a list of priorities that are important that we get to experience. Everyone gets to pick 1 thing that is we absolutely have to do. That way everyone gets a say in how the vacation goes. We also look at accessibility for my wheelchair. I normally Google the location to see what is interesting around the destination and also look for tours..."
"...being that we are very budget conscious, we try to participate in family-friendly, inexpensive activities that we all will enjoy. This often includes hiking and playgrounds, but can also be visiting museums and historical sites too. Having an ASTC membership has saved us tons of money and allowed us to visit some incredible museums across the country, for free. If you don't have one of these ASTC memberships, but you enjoy visiting museums when you travel, I highly recommend getting one.
...By waiting until October to visit San Diego for instance, we were able to save a ton of money because kids go free the whole month. So instead of just being able to buy tickets to Legoland, we were able to visit several attractions." - More at https://statebystate.net/6-tips-to-save-money-while-traveling-america-with-kids/