As with many good things in life, traveling is a delight best shared with your loved ones. But what if your kids—your own flesh and blood!—don’t care for it? If you even manage to get them on board, they’ll huff and puff and complain along the way. Are they nuts for saying no to all those precious experiences? Are you even sure you share the same genetic material?
Can you do anything about it or is your dream of having fun family trips and cheery Instagram feed completely dashed?
Talk to them
Communicate, communicate, communicate. Get to know what they don’t like about traveling and what they might like about it. Is it the lengthy journey? Is it the boring itinerary? Finding out the root causes may help you tweak your approach to family travel. Share your own views on why you think family travel is a good idea, too.
There is no shortage of travel influencers eager to share their tales online. Show the kids some of your favorite travel pictures and videos to get them intrigued.
Arrange activities that they can enjoy
While trekking tundras and sauntering through souks excite you, consider that your kids may have completely different taste. Sure, you want to expose them to new experiences, but it can all be rather overwhelming or downright boring to the young ones. If they’re not particularly receptive: start slow and start from the familiar. Do your kids like to read? How about a tour scouring for cute bookstores around town? More of a gadget mania? Put the nearest technological museum on your itinerary. By including activities to look forward to and gems to seek out, you’ll ease them into enjoying exploring a new place.
Get them involved in planning
Have a family night where you sit together and plan everything together, from picking the destination to the activities on your trips. It will get them excited about the trip and ensures there are things they will be interested in doing later. Present it as a lesson in compromise: Everyone has a say, which means there will be a few activities they’re less interested in, but there will be other things your kids can look forward to.
Get their friends to join
If your kid and their best friend are practically joined at the hip, why not entice him or her by bringing the friend along? You can invite the friend to travel along with you if it’s an option and is feasible for everyone involved. Having their good friend on the trip will perk your kid up and excite them. Bonus if the friend actually likes traveling and can infect your kid with the same enthusiasm.
Make sure they’re comfortable
Traveling can be a drag. Some hours will be spent waiting, moving, and not seeing amazing views. Even adults have a hard time enjoying lengthy journeys or walking around under humid weather. Minimize discomfort and possible boredom by packing weather-appropriate clothing and entertainment. In between the lull, you can squeeze in downtime for the kids to play, read or watch something. On the grand scheme of things, an hour or two spent not truly living in the moment is nothing compared to a sullen kid.
To make sure the flights and rides will be smooth, try our tips to keep them cozy and entertained.
If you’ve tried it all, revisit the goals you’re trying to achieve by having them join you on your trips. Nurturing closeness and family time don’t have to happen in far-flung locales and experiencing all the best the world has to offer doesn’t come solely from traveling. Just because they don’t share your passion for traveling doesn’t mean they won’t have other avenues to broaden their horizons.
You can nudge them toward it, but in the end, you want them to be happy, don’t you? If, for now, their happiness means something other than traveling with you, perhaps it’s fine to let them fly the other way. Who knows, maybe they’ll grow up to follow in your wandering footsteps.