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Have you ever wanted to travel somewhere but hesitated because you didn’t think it was very family-friendly? Some places are easy draws for families, like Orlando, while others, like Las Vegas, are not. But, it is possible to make (almost) any destination kid-friendly. Here’s how.
Tip #1: Look for kids menus
One of the biggest challenges when you take your kids to a location that is not family-friendly is finding food that your little ones will eat. So, when researching and planning your trip, look at restaurants online.
Make note of the ones that have kids menus. And then check out those kids menus to make sure they contain something your kids will like.
Tip #2: Ask for modifications.
Another option to make any destination kid-friendly when it comes to food is to ask your server to modify a dish for your child. Many times, this is as simple as asking for one or two ingredients to be left off.
This is an easy way to make an adult restaurant more appealing to children. So, if you are dying to try a particular restaurant on your trip and it doesn’t have a kids menu, this is a good solution.
Tip #3: Visit parks & playgrounds.
One way to make a location more entertaining for your kids is to seek out parks and playgrounds. Taking time to let your kids play will allow them to have fun and enjoy the trip.
Incorporating time to play will also give your children the chance to burn off some energy. This, in turn, will make them more cooperative with you when doing things they don’t like as much, such as visiting museums or art galleries.
Tip #4: Research tourist attractions that are good for kids.
When researching your trip, look for attractions that will appeal to your kids. These may include lesser known activities or aspects of popular attractions that you don’t immediately think about.
For instance, Las Vegas is best known for its casinos, but many of these casinos include entertainment options other than just gambling. The Bellagio has dancing fountains and Treasure Island has a pirate show. Kids will love both of these.
Tip #5: Include kids in trip planning.
Another easy way to make any destination kid-friendly is to include your children in your trip planning. This will guide you to attractions and activities your kids find interesting.
Having your kids help you plan your trip lets you see your options through their eyes. They may just surprise you with what they come up with to do.
Tip #6: Look for hands-on activities.
You can also entertain your kids in a not-so-kid-friendly city by seeking out children’s museums, science museums, or other hands-on experiences.
Most cities have these, even though they may not be highly advertised or included on the city’s must do lists.
If you are going to be in a location that is not a big city, look for experiences and activities where your kids can get up close and personal with a way of life they are not used to seeing. Examples are petting zoos and working farms.
Tip #7: Spend time at the pool.
If you find yourself in a destination that is not quite as family-friendly as you would like it to be, the hotel pool can be your saving grace. While this sounds simple, never underestimate just how entertaining swimming can be for kids.
This ridiculously easy solution can completely change the way your kids look at your vacation. And, like visiting a park or playground, spending a few hours at the pool can convince your kids to be much more cooperative with you later in the trip when you’re doing things they think are boring.
Tip #8: Head to zoos, aquariums, or theme parks.
Sometimes, as parents, we overcomplicate things. We need to remember that it is usually best to just keep things simple. So, our last tip to make any destination kid-friendly is to head to a zoo, aquarium, or theme park during your trip.
Most every city will have one or more of these attractions and they are always winners with kids. It doesn’t matter that your kids have visited your home zoo or aquarium hundreds of times. Chances are, they will love visiting a new one.
The best part of zoos, aquariums, and theme parks is that they don’t require a lot of advance planning. And, visiting these attractions won’t eat up a ton of time on your vacation.
Plan to visit one of these attractions in the morning and then head to a more adult activity later in the day.
Just because you have kids doesn’t mean that you have to forego vacation spots that are geared more towards adults. It is possible to make any destination kid-friendly. You just have to get creative and put a little more thought into your trip planning.
These above tips should help you take a trip your whole family will enjoy, regardless of the place.
For more tips on traveling with kids, see how to avoid meltdowns, tips for successful road trips with kids, how to reduce child anxiety when flying, tips for flying with kids, comprehensive guide to happy travel with kids, and how to handle child car sickness. And check out how to plan an epic family vacation.