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Travel Planning with Children

How to Encourage a Lifelong Love of Travel for Kids

Posted in Tips | by

Traveling is a pretty incredible way to help your kids discover the world. But it’s no secret that taking children on a vacation is not cheap and not always easy. As parents, there are several things we can do that will allow our children to spend their college years, and beyond, traveling with ease and without denting our pocketbooks. Here are some family travel tips that will help your children enjoy a future full of adventures.

Join Frequent Flyer Programs

If you haven’t already, sign all of your children up for your favorite airlines’ frequent flyer programs. By doing this, every time you take a trip, they earn miles toward reward tickets.

My children were signed up for this program when they began traveling as babies and they have racked up a ton of miles. I know they will be thrilled to be able to cash in their miles for an unforgettable experience. My youngest child has almost 25,000 miles and he is only 7 years old.

Did you just take a trip and are kicking yourself for not signing them up sooner? Don’t worry, some airlines offer you 30 days to sign up for their frequent flyer programs and still get credit for those miles.

Save for Travel with a Dedicated Account

Open a savings account for your child that is designated solely for travel expenses. With each birthday and holiday that your children get cash gifts, allow them to pocket a portion, but then deposit the remainder into their travel savings accounts. Our kids get to choose between their college accounts or their travel accounts. It not only gives them a nice rainy day fund, but it teaches the value of saving.

You may also ask family members to contribute directly to this account. When they are ready to travel abroad, they will have a nice cushion of cash to bring along and it’s not coming directly from your pocket.

Teach Expectations

When we are traveling, we always take a moment to teach our kids what is expected of them on flights and in hotel rooms. Sure, kids will be kids, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t lessons to be learned. As an adult, you are expected to be respectful of other passengers and guests at hotels. Just because kids are kids doesn’t mean they are unable understand and empathize with the public.

Is your little one kicking the seat? Instead of reprimanding, help your child understand why doing that is wrong. Would he or she want to be kicked? The answer is most likely no. Show your child how to graciously apologize. You’ll teach an extremely valuable lesson right on the spot. How about running through the hallway at your hotel yelling? Would your children want someone to wake them up with this behavior? Not a chance! You may be surprised when kids understand completely, so give them the benefit of the doubt. They are smarter than you may think.

Lead By Example

When we are visiting new places, it can be stressful at times as well as a little scary, especially for the littlest travelers. However, by modeling patience and tolerance we can teach our children that the world is full of new and exciting things. We can show them that just because something is different, it doesn’t need to be scary. This can pertain to almost anything in our travels, from trying new food or arriving late in a new city to meeting the locals. These experiences can be intimidating, but we can teach them that stepping outside of our comfort zones can bring so many enriching and incredible experiences.

With a little planning and some forethought, we can set our children up for a lifelong love of travel.

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Michelle and her family reside in a small town outside of St. Paul. They love the quiet their little city affords them, but enjoy being just minutes…

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