“Are we there yet?”
That is the question parents dread the most when travelling by car to a holiday destination. No wonder. It is uttered the first time about five minutes after the ignition key is switched on, and then repeated at an increasingly whiny tone… Flying instead of driving can be a viable alternative. However, this mode of transport brings its own set of problems, such as where to pack sun umbrellas and beach chairs and (depending on the child’s or children’s age) the stroller, indispensable toys, favourite board games and books, sports equipment… Besides, flying does not do away with the big issue: how to amuse your brood during the trip.
Whether travelling with kids by car or by plane, the name of the game is distraction. Play games such as “I spy” or “Simon says”; find shapes in the clouds or make words from letters in the passing cars’ licence plates; let the kids listen to an audio book; get out an activity book or play dough (airplane trays must’ve been made for that); even let them do your hair (especially on a plane: anything is better than having the little darlings kick the back of the seat in front of them).
Once at the destination, strive for activities and involve the whole family. Brush away occasional irritations by reminding yourself that this is a precious time. After all, parents and kids mainly talk about daily routine throughout the year, but a summer holiday is the time to break that pattern by exploring something together.
On the beach, build a sandcastle or collect seashells for a craft project. Encourage your child to have a go with a new sport this summer. Be it swimming, snorkelling, beach volleyball, tennis, football, or horseback riding, sport activities at local venues will kick-start a love of sport in your child. Don’t balk at cultural or educational activities either. Visits to museum, natural beauty spots, or heritage sites can be interesting to children too.
Whatever you do, make it a habit to involve your children in documenting the places you’ve seen and the things you did with a digital camera.
It would not do to over-schedule your holiday by planning every minute. On the other hand, you don’t want to leave important things to chance! In your brood-less and carefree days, you could have afforded to just go somewhere and look for a room once you are there. Not so if you are travelling with kids. Booking your accommodation is a must. Be sure to do it well in advance if you have school-age children and are therefore forced to go on vacation during school holidays!