Travelling and sightseeing is exciting for you and your family, but can also be stressful. It’s useful to plan-ahead, so here are some tips on sightseeing and getting around, to help you to all enjoy your time together.
Kids have great ideas and they like to know what’s coming up. Get them involved in planning activities and always tell them the plan for the day. Look online with them for activities and attractions that kids will enjoy and that put families first.
Try and do only one major activity each day. If you’re overseas, remember that getting around takes longer and there will be queues.
If you can, buy your tickets to attractions online in advance. This saves time queuing for tickets when you get there.
Start your sightseeing early. Queues for attractions overseas can be very long. For example, when we were in Rome recently, we arrived at the Colosseum at about 9.30. The queue was long, but 15 minutes later, it was huge! What a difference 15 minutes can make. By making an early start, you can plan a more relaxed afternoon and evening.
Kids get tired easily. Build in some rest time each day, you’ll all need it!
If you are travelling overseas:
- check ahead to see if there will be school or public holidays, or special events, at the time you are travelling to another country. This can impact your trip as many attractions will be busier during the holidays. For example, recently when we were in England we visited Legoland and luckily for us, there were minimal queues for the rides. We were told that the day before had been a school holiday and if we’d gone then, we would have faced 2 hour queues for each ride!
- teach your kids the exchange rate in the country you are in, so they learn what they are spending and learn that they have to make choices
- teach your kids some basic language phrases. Kids find this fun and it’s great learning for them and for you too. Foreign language phrase books are a good investment or you can use a translator app on your smartphone or tablet.
Pack light! You’ll be carrying your things and most likely at times, your kids things too. When you are getting on and off planes, buses, trains, boats, tubes, elevators, stairs, fairground rides, and so on, you need practical and minimal baggage.
For each journey or outing, here are some useful things to pack for your child, in your child’s or in your daypack.
- Water bottle and plenty of snacks. Note: If you or your kids have any allergies or food intolerances, carry basic snacks with you so you always have something to eat. It might take some time to find a place to eat and then order food that is safe, or to find what you need in the local shops, so it’s good to be prepared. If you’re overseas, learn the phrase for your allergy or intolerance. Carry antihistamines or steroids if required, and any other medication, with you at all times, in case you or your child react to a local food. Reserve any special meals in advance (on plane and train trips, and so on)
- Book/favourite toy or electronic gadget
- If needed, a coat/jersey/change of clothes
- Sick bag or plastic bag
- Essential medication
If you are overseas:
- when hiring a car, check ahead for any road tolls and make sure you have the right change or payment method for these. GPS is very useful too!
- think about how you’ll get to and from your destination. Sometimes, taking a bus can be part of your sightseeing, instead of, for example, taking a tube in London.
Lastly, always allow plenty of time to get to your destination!
More useful articles and resources on travelling with kids
Find out more about Travelling with Pre-schoolers. Are you thinking of heading overseas, try out Surviving a Long-haul Flight with Toddlers or Travelling Overseas with Newborns. In Auckland? You might like Three Things to do in Auckland with Toddlers.
If you’re planning a roadtrip, you might also like Travel Games for the Whole Family.