Monthly Archives: April 2012

Traveling With Kids

Standard

traveling with kidsTraveling with kids is perhaps one of the biggest challenges that people face today. There aren’t a lot of resources out there that discuss this process in depth. I believe there could literary be thousands of niche businesses out there targeting this segment of people alone. Since having kids, I have had to learn new ways to be a smart traveler. This usually starts with being realistic on what will work not only for my spouse and I but also what will not overly stress out the kids.

Today, most people opt for the easy and typical travel destinations when bringing along their children. Think Disneyland or Sea World. There is life however beyond the theme parks we so readily visit. Even exotic locations like Bali, Africa, or India are all possible, but keep in mind some very important things before venturing out into the unknowns.

Getting There

Traveling to some destinations in third world countries isn’t usually done by taking a direct flight. Sometimes it means having to take several connecting flights just to get to your final destinations. If that means bringing small kids, keep enough things on hand to keep them busy and comfortable during the long journey. Many parents opt for the easy distractions like Nintendo DS, iPads (3/4 and Mini) or portable DVD players with the kids’ favorite movies. While these things work well, consider a couple of other learning based activities that you can do within the plane itself (such as puzzles, reading, etc.). Also, consider bringing some of their favorite snacks, they may begin to really enjoy traveling.

Where You’ll Stay

If traveling to Bali, the Conrad and Intercontinental both offer activities and features for children. This includes special meals and also things like shadow puppets. If you are like most, you’ll probably be making these reservations online, so take a good look through their website to see if any prospective hotel has additional details that will be more memorable for your kids. Also, many times the hotels have a parent company here in the United States. If so, call them and ask if there are any additional features or activities for kids that isn’t listed on the website. Some times, hotels can be a little slow to update their content, and they may have already introduced a new activity for families but still haven’t disseminated the details online.

What To Do

If you are considering a safari in Africa, it would be ideal if you went to South Africa. Cape Town is flush with things to do for kids. This includes painting ostrich eggs, rock climbing and dune surfing. The national parks are teaming with wildlife indigenous to this amazing continent. If your kids are a little older, then you might also want to take them to get dive certified so you can see some amazing underwater landscape.

Plenty of Activities For Smart Travelers

The key to pulling off this adventure of a lifetime begins by having a good initial plan and preparation stage. If you get that right, then you have already done most of the heavy lifting. Enjoy your trip and tell us how it went when you return.

Visiting The National Parks

Standard

Yosemite National ParkUntil recently, I believed that the national parks were only in the United States. The truth is national parks are part of nearly every countries strategy to preserve the natural landscape and wildlife. Here in the United States the National Park Service runs the 58 protected areas. Some of the most visited parks are Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Grand Canyon.

National Parks As Part Of Your Travel Plans

Whenever I plan on going to another country or a trip within the U.S. I always look for an opportunity to visit the national parks. The first reason why is because a smart traveler is not only looking for good deals, but they are also looking for the most scenic destinations in the world. You will definitely find that this preserved area was chosen for the beauty that it possesses.  It will bring you back to what the world was like before humans decided to take over every square inch of land to build something on it.

Entrance fees into the parks is generally very affordable. If you are a disabled vet or citizen, check into getting an America the Beautiful pass which gets you into the park for free. The key to having a successful visit is to get some of the research done early. Go to the nps.gov website to see the weather conditions and if any of the roads or trails are closed. They also have an event calendar there, usually highlighting special programs and narrated hikes.

Practice Good Stewardship

Visiting the national parks is a great opportunity for you to teach your children about being good stewards of the earth and resources that we have. We need to leave this world in pristine condition for them and their children. Nature has a huge impact on the way we interact with each other every day. It teaches us every lesson that we could possibly learn. Some tips on making the parks a better place:

  • If you find trash on the ground please pick it up
  • Remember that other people are there to enjoy peace and nature so limit the cell phone calls and don’t use the speaker phone or stereo to broadcast your music.
  • Bring water and food (it’s cheaper than buying in the park)
  • Remember to clean up your trash and put in the appropriate bins.

The national parks are a testament to the hard work that our earlier ancestors did to establish an area that we can enjoy apart from the hustle of city or industrialized lands. We have a duty to preserve this area for generations to come.