"Many international destinations are family friendly," explains Joan Ioannou , Brand Marketing Director for Vayama.com. "The challenge is often getting parents to feel comfortable including their children in these travel plans because it can require additional planning and preparation. Our hope is that with some additional guidance, more families will continue to travel abroad together."
The few trouble areas that can make people shy away from taking their little ones with them on international trips, include:
Most international flights are long, and can involve multiple legs, layovers and smaller planes depending on the route or airline. To keep children entertained and happy, make sure to have their favorite activities and personal belongings on hand. This could include anything from movies, books, blankets, snacks, toys, to a change of clothes.
Other things to consider when booking flights for a family are seat location and flight time. Window seats are often a great for younger children who can be entertained by the sights outside the airplane. Nighttime flights can also be easier for families as children may sleep for a longer duration of the flight. Booking travel in advance will allow for more options, including flight times, seating and number of connections.
The Gear to Get Around
Before you leave, check the places you're staying and plan out where you'll need gear and equipment such as a stroller, car seat, playpen or crib. All that gear may seem daunting, but working with international airlines and hotels ahead of time will help prevent any baggage surprises and families may even find help renting equipment at their destination.
Another sensitive spot for kids is constant moving. It can be stressful to change hotels or simply get around a new and unfamiliar place, especially if the modes of transportation are different than what the child is used to. Try limiting hotel stays to two or three max, and keeping travel days short. It might be tempting to visit a number of European countries, but instead, spend more time in fewer places.
For many, international travel is synonymous with history and culture. However, to young children, long days visiting museums or taking tours can be "boring" because they aren't old enough to understand everything they are experiencing. Nevertheless, this doesn't mean families should skip out on these experiences. Rather, consider mixing up the itinerary, alternating between museums, historical sites, physical activities and eating. Another idea is to engage children with questions about places and things you see together, making it into a game. Giving kids binoculars is another way to get them intrigued and excited about the new places they're seeing.
It's not uncommon for children to have sensitive palates, or default to not liking something because it's unfamiliar. This can make traveling to a foreign place seem somewhat unsettling for parents of picky eaters. One solution is to pack backup meals or non-perishable snacks to take with you in the event your child doesn't want anything on the menu. Another is to ease your child into eating foreign foods by offering them bites from your meals and showing them early on in the trip that the food is good, and not so different, so by the end they are open to ordering foreign food as well.