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Mark Paterson once said, “The best education you will ever get is traveling. Nothing teaches you more than exploring the world and accumulating experiences.” This is one reason why you should travel with your kids. To improve their education even further, include your kids in trip planning.
There are many reasons why you should let your kids help you plan your vacations. It can teach them practical life skills like budgeting and time management. It can get your kids excited about traveling. And it can improve your family bonding.
Here’s how to easily include your kids in trip planning so you can get started on your next vacation.
Tip #1: Let them pick your destination.
The best (and easiest) way to start letting your kids plan your vacations is to let them pick your destination. You can do this in a variety of ways, depending on your children’s ages and how much control you want to give them.
If your kids are young, pick out two or three locations and let them decide between those choices. This is also a great method to use if you don’t completely trust your kids to pick out an appropriate place to go.
If you want to give your kids complete control of the decision, then let them pick where you go next with little, if any, guidelines.
Alternatively, you can let each child suggest a destination and then have the family vote on the winner.
Tip #2: Give them a guide book and a map.
In an effort to familiarize your kids with your vacation destination, give them a guide book and a map. Have them learn about things to do there and get a general overview of the layout of the city.
This can encourage them to get excited about your trip. It can also help you discover attractions your kids are interested in that you may not have thought about.
I really like using this tip because it is a sneaky way to get your kids to practice their reading and learn new skills like map reading and navigation. My son loves studying maps of places we visit.
Tip #3: Have them research flights.
If you have older children, have them research flights to find the best option and price. This not only involves them in the trip planning, but it also frees up some of your time to do other things.
Have them search different websites to find the best prices. Be sure to remind them to look at various airlines and all nearby airports so you can get a great deal on flights.
Tip #4: Let them plan activities.
Another way to include your kids in trip planning, regardless of their age, is to let them help plan activities and attractions.
Give younger kids a list of options to choose from. Have your older kids research things to do online or in guide books.
Take it to the next level by having them research admission prices, operating hours, and distance from your hotel. Or give them a budget and have them pick out attractions that will fit within that budget.
I find that when I get my son to help plan activities, he surprises me with what he comes up with. He usually finds something that I would not have picked out on my own.
Tip #5: Get their input on where to eat.
Restaurants are another area of your trip where you can get your kids involved in trip planning. Have them look at menus online and decide where they would like to eat.
Have each of your kids make a list of eateries they want to try. Or assign each day of your vacation to a child and let them decide where to eat on their day.
Tip #6: Have them find your hotel.
You really can include your kids in trip planning by having them help with every aspect of the vacation. This includes finding a place to stay.
Either give your children a list of possible hotels and/or rental homes to choose from or let them research options and make the decision based on budget and location guidelines. Another option is to ask them what they would like in a hotel and use their list of priorities as your guidelines.
With younger kids, show them photos of places you are considering and get their opinions.
Tip #7: Put them in charge of planning a day.
Lastly, my favorite way to include your kids in trip planning is to give each kid a particular day of the trip and let them be completely in charge of planning the day.
Prior to your trip, tell your child which day they will be in charge. Try to make it towards the middle or end of your trip, so they have a few days to familiarize themselves with the location before they take the reins.
On their day, let your child decide where to eat, what to do, how to get from place to place, and every other decision that has to be made. Give them a budget. Have them figure out what time you need to leave the hotel, what time attractions open, and all other logistical decisions.
This will not only teach your children a ton of life skills, it will also get them excited about traveling and instill a huge amount of self-confidence in them. It will also show them that you trust their decision making.
I started doing this with our son when he was 6. He always looks forward to his day on each trip.
Travel is a great opportunity to teach your kids about the world and themselves. You can increase those teaching moments by including your kids in trip planning. These tips will get you started.
To make traveling with kids easier, see our tips for flying with kids, best airplane snacks for kids, best road trip snacks for kids, genius packing tips for kids, comprehensive guide to happy travel with kids, and tips for successful road trips with kids.