Make Summertime Travel Fun for Kids

As I depart for several trips with my family this summer, I remind myself of the little tricks I’ve learned over the years to keep my children involved in the planning and logistics of a trip. These are great “boredom” busters and teaching tools for my children. Not just geography but also life skills. I’ve always been a big believer that life skills like knowing how to navigate TSA and exchanging currency are as important as knowing Einstein’s theory of relativity. I’ve been traveling with my children since they were in car seats and now that they are in the driver’s seat, I still use some of the same teaching tools to enhance our trips.

1) Tour guide for a day: I appoint each child the role of tour guide for the day. In this role, the selected child has the option to select whatever site, landmark or attraction they want to visit. However, they must research their options and educate the rest of the family. Our child tour guide is also required to point out to the rest of the family at least five fun facts about our destination. These can be names of special sites, historical events or even famous residents. As the kids have grown, they choose to surprise the rest of the clan once we arrive at our destination.

2) Transportation Navigator: Once again, this is a daily assignment for one of my children. Our selected Transportation Navigator is responsible for directing the family through train stations, subways or airports. This enhances their skills in reading maps, finding departure gates, using fare machines and time management so we don’t miss the bus, train or plane!

3) Family Banker: This child is responsible for all things money such as converting Euros to Dollars or determining the appropriate tip for cabbies or lunch. It’s a good way to get children familiar with currency issues and it also reinforces math skills.

Of course, not all learning is independent learning while we travel. As a group, we review hotel etiquette and safety, carry-on packing strategies and emergency food assembly. There’s nothing like being prepared and sometimes this can be the best lesson of all when traveling alone or in a group.

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