Adventure Travel With Kids: Planning Is Everything!
Last week we booked our plane tickets for a 3 week trip we’ll take to Switzerland this summer with our girls, Darah, 7, and Layah, 4. For two whole weeks, they will be hiking, playing and running around with their cousins.
We know they will have loads of fun, but because this will be their first experience with prolonged physical activity — at high altitudes — we know we must take intentional steps to prepare them for so much outdoor fun. Here’s our 3-pronged plan to set ourselves up for maximum fun and minimal frustration on our Swiss journey.
Practice “Adventuring” We are certainly going to be doing a lot of walking in airports, cities, and Alpine trails, but we will also be exploring and playing, too. Since kids, for the most part, aren’t big fans of sudden departures from the norm, we are “rebranding” the trip to make it sound more appealing and fun. “Hiking” has become “adventuring,” and to give the kids opportunities to practice those skills, we’ve been walking the trails in our own community so they’ll know what to expect and feel like experts by the time we arrive.
Empower Your Child to Prepare My oldest, Darah, had a field day picking out the perfect hiking backpack and bandanna for herself this fall for her Girl Scout adventures, and now she is going to get to use them in Europe, too! Give kids the opportunity on your outings to practice packing up their necessities. They will likely make a few mistakes (over-packing, NOT packing necessities like water, etc.) but by the time your vacation arrives, they will have a good idea of how to pack and independently prepare for a day outside, which is an awesome feeling for a kid!
Set a Goal As we practice adventuring, we are building up to ever longer hikes and periods of time spent in nature. The kids’ UNICEF Kid Power Bands are GREAT for this purpose since
they track all the steps we have taken, allowing us to aim for more on every outing. We have also set a goal of how many food packets we want to be able to donate before we leave. This is keeping the girls motivated to press on and push themselves just a little bit more, which is so helpful. —Tiffany Merritt
Tiffany is a blogger at Stuff Parents Need where she helps busy parents discover tips and tricks that make life with kids a little less hectic and a lot more fun.