You’re probably wondering how you can get your children excited for a trip overseas, right?
So you’re ready for a vacation with your family. You’ve picked some place fancy and faraway, budgeted accordingly, and got everything in order. You’re absolutely certain you’ve won parent of the year for your efforts, right?
Except when you announce it to your kids, their reaction falls flat. Whomp. Whomp.
Why? Kids aren’t burdened by the responsibilities of adult life so they don’t view vacations and trips the same way. Most haven’t spent their lives wondering what the Eiffel Tower looks like in real life or been curious about what real Italian gelato tastes like. For most of them, a trip overseas just sounds like a hassle.
Don’t get me wrong — there are some kids that are expert travelers and live for the jetway. All you have to do is mention a trip and they will meet you at the door with their bags packed. But if that doesn’t describe your kids, don’t fret!
Here are some easy, no-fail ways to get your children excited about an upcoming trip overseas!
Reveal the Destination in an Extravagant Way
This is the kids’ first introduction to the fact that you’re about to go somewhere fun. Use that opportunity to get the excitement-mobile running! Some easy ways to do this are:
- Take them to a themed restaurant [French bakery if visiting France, Italian restaurant if visiting Italy, Japanese restaurant if you’re going to Japan.. you get the idea].
- Make a video slideshow of the destination. Be sure to incorporate some pictures of kids so they can see how much fun they can have!
- Watch a film that has scenes related to your destination.
- Turn it into a guessing game like Charades, Pictionary or Bingo.
To announce our trip to Italy, we took the girls to a kids cooking class hosted by Maggiano’s! They made their own lasagna, toured the kitchen, and became “certified” Italian chefs!
Be creative and have fun with this one!
You can still do this even if the kids were involved in picking the destination. Just don’t confirm until it is time for the big reveal.
Find themed events in your area
If you plan your trips out well in advance like we do, then you have almost an entire year to build up anticipation for the trip. Utilize that time to find events in your area related to your destination!
Look for cultural centers in your town that hold classes, festivals, or special dinners. If your city has an International Festival, attend that. If you can find a festival specifically for your destination, like Houston’s Italian Festival, then even better!
Everyone loves food so cooking classes are another great activity to do with the kiddos.
Museums can also be wonderful idea! Keep an eye out for special exhibits that might relate to your trip.
Purchase travel themed clothing
This one might sound silly but our girls love wearing shirts with a foreign language or ones that list major cities domestic and abroad. Almost every time they wear it it sparks conversation with strangers — adults and kids alike. It gives the girls the opportunity to share where they’ve been, what they’ve experienced, and our upcoming trips. Talking about it keeps the memories fresh and further sparks their passion for travel.
But it’s the excitement they receive in return that really helps for upcoming trips. It’s contagious! Hearing folks “oooh” and “aaah” makes them wonder if it might not be so bad after all. In fact, it might even be as great as Mom and Dad promised it to be.
Plus, the shirts are just so cute!
Teach them the lingo
Hola! Bonjour! Caio! Howdy!
OK, maybe not that last one but you get the idea.
Learning a few words and phrases is beneficial to the kids when they’re traveling but it also doubles as an early immersion into the new culture. Communication is vital for kids so this one really hits home. Explaining the language and the nuances behind it does a lot to build up the image of the trip really being a new place.
Teaching just a few phrases can really go a long way. Language and culture go hand in hand so learning one boosts understanding of the other.
Invest in kid friendly travel books for the intended destination
There is a wide range of publications out there that cater specifically to traveling children. Use this to your advantage by investing in a few. They will cover area attractions, some bits of history, etc. all from a kid friendly view point. Some even cover language to land two birds with one stone!
If your kid isn’t quite reading or that just isn’t their thing, there are plenty of activity books as well. They are filled with pictures, games, scavenger hunts, and all kinds of activities to pique your kids’ interest!
Watch YouTube Videos of Family Travel
Every Saturday morning during breakfast, we turn on the TV and cast YouTube videos of folks visiting our intended destination. It inspired the girls to have our own family YouTube channel but it’s also made the trip feel more real to them.
Kids are visual learners. Seeing a place makes a bigger impact than hearing about one. Plus, they get to spot things that might pique their interest and build their excitement for the trip. For example, one YouTube video we saw about Venice featured glass making at Murano and our littlest one flipped out at the idea. She can’t stop talking about it and now we have a must-do for our trip.
So get that YouTube queue going and hit play!
Let The Kids Contribute to the Itinerary
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Hopefully, if you’re following these tips you’ve invested a lot of time in getting your kids actively interested in this trip. So let them get involved too! As their knowledge about where you’re going increases, let them pick a few activities that they would look forward to doing. Create the itinerary together.
If you’re concerned about giving up this element of control or if the trip just doesn’t allow it, no worries! Just tailor their exposure to fit the agenda. Show them an abundance of things related to what you have planned so that they think it was their idea.
Easy peasy, right? Do you have any tips or tricks to get your kids excited about an overseas trip? Share them below!