When my son was 3 years and younger, we used to make travel decisions based on “convenience”. I have shared with you factors like:
1. Distance from home
2. Convenience of getting there
3. Ease of getting around
4. Baby friendly services at a hotel or resort
5. Warm and comfortable weather
6. When? We could go anytime we could take time off from our work. We didn’t have to care for school, long weekends etc.
As my son turned 4 we have come to realize that these factors don’t apply anymore. Our travel decisions are driven by our overall family interests. Factors like:
1. What is our tot curious about? Dinosaurs, specific topics like the Von Trapp Family etc.?
2. What activities does he enjoy? Beach, Skiing, Factories, Farms, Museums etc.?
3. Which resorts have day camps for him?
4. Is it possible to travel with another family with similar aged kids or with close family
5. Plan trips during school holidays, long weekends and breaks
6. Distance from home still applies but is not an over-riding factor anymore
7. Convenience of getting there – we still don’t want to have multiple layovers and hours of drive in the car. Maybe this factor will not matter in a few years
As a parent you have to be dynamic in your thoughts and actions based on your child’s developmental cycle and age. With limited time and set resources you want to get the most out of each trip. There are times when you want to visit a certain destination which might not be on your tot’s top list. In this case it helps to generate curiosity in your child. Talk about the destination, attractions, famous people from the place, unique culture and learn a bit of it’s language (if different). Once your tot has reached the 3-4 year age range you can help your tot explore the destination before getting there. This will help him/her build memories that will last forever.
Post travel invest time to create a scrap book, an eBook, a short slide-show of selected photos from the trip or an album to keep reminding your tots on things they explored and invaluable moments spent together as a family.