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Health & Fitness
September 03, 2013 | Posted in: Health & Fitness
Have Kids. Will Travel: A Guide To Vacationing As A Family

Welcome guest blogger Sam, owner of HaveSippyWillTravel.com and noted travel writer. For Sam, traveling isn’t an activity that's reserved for single people, or for those without kids, so she wanted to share a few tricks of the trade when traveling with your family.

There’s no reason that you can’t take your family with you to Europe or anyplace else you desire to visit. Traveling internationally will make memories that last a lifetime, and ones that you’ll want to share with them. Of course, traveling as a family is different in many ways than going without kids. In addition to the normal types of preparation, you need to do extra prep work, do a little research, and plan accordingly. But it's not very difficult, and is something you can definitely do if you plan ahead and keep ages in mind and expectations reasonable. Here are my top five vacationing tips:

1.Get your passports.

  • It can take quite a while to get a passport today, and offices are not always in the most convenient locations. The stated wait time is between six and eight weeks, but they can arrive sooner.
  • Already have a passport? Check to make sure it has not expired and won't while you are on your trip.
  • You can also request an expedited passport. It will cost quite a bit more, but you can get your passport in less than a week using expedited service.
  • Also, fill out paperwork before arriving and make sure you have the documents and photos (in the correct sizes) that you will need when you arrive to apply for your passports.

2.Check out the local language.

  • While many times, there are plenty of people abroad who speak English, it's both helpful and respectful to learn at least a little of the local language and make an attempt to use it.
  • Yes, they will know you are a tourist and will understand if you don't speak flawless Italian or Polish, but just using simple words and phrases shows that you are making an effort.
  • It's also helpful if you or your child really, really needs to use the bathroom and there are no English speakers around.

3.Talk to your kids about cultural differences.

  • The food, accents, language, even bathrooms will be different when you leave the country. Have you ever pushed the wrong button on a bidet? Not something you really want your toddler to do.
  • Things that are culturally acceptable at home may not be where you are traveling to, so do some research and then talk to your kids about the kinds of behaviors that might be OK at home, but aren’t acceptable somewhere else.

4.Get your children excited.

  • Work up some real interest in your destination.
  • Read about locations you will travel to, find some videos or photos online, or get a travel guide.
  • Listen to some of the country’s native music, look through various websites to see what local dress is like, and maybe even try making some of the cuisine before you go.
  • Explore a little bit about children that are the same age as yours, and learn what an average day is like for that child.

5.Talk about food.

  • There will likely be a McDonald’s (or version thereof- ever had a Maharaja Mac?) wherever you end up, and your children might be thankful for that.
  • Even if you cave once to junk food, try the local cuisine as much as possible and eat as the locals do.
  • Talk with your kids about some of the food differences, and ask each child to identify three or four authentic dishes that they’d like to try when you’re traveling.
  • Have them try a variety of things while you are away, since they never know what will truly strike their fancy and it might surprise them what they end up liking.
  • Just in case, pack some Balance Bars® you know your child enjoys. They are filling and will help outlast the long days of traveling.

Most of all, enjoy your time together and don't try to squeeze in every single thing. Better to enjoy yourselves and limit activities then to come home feeling like you need a vacation from your vacation.

Guest blogger Sam, owner of HaveSippyWillTravel.com*

*Sam, owner of HaveSippyWillTravel.com loves veggies is a compensated spokesperson for Balance Bar®.

Tags: Family, Lifestyle, Travel.

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