Usually, we steer clear of resort family travel and use our imaginations to plan memorable family trips. Here’s why:
7 reasons to skip resorts and plan your own family holiday
1. You didn’t travel boring before kids, so why start now?
Stay true to your independent travel style. The more you practice travel with small folk, the simpler and more pleasurable it gets. Sure, unpredictable stuff happens. But you learn to roll with it just like you did on travels before kids.
2. Researching your own unique itinerary engages the imagination of both parents and kids.
It’s the best way to get excited about a new culture, and travel deeper. Two and three year olds already have developed strong interests, whether it’s a specific type of animal/habitat, an activity such as swimming or painting, a dino obsession, pizza-eating etc. Involve them!
If they’re interested in dinos, check out a fossil beach, or camp under the redwoods which seem like dinosaur-sized trees. If it’s pizza, head to Naples! If it’s painting, run around Van Gogh’s landscapes in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence. The mausoleum where he recovered from the notorious ear incident displays his paintings next to the olive groves, haystacks, and irises that inspired them. You get the idea.
Down the road, if you’ll pardon the pun, your kids will learn to plan their own trips as adults, and carry on the tradition of traveling deeper.
3. The more time you spend with your kids, the more time you want to spend with your kids.
Resort holidays separate adult and kid activities into packaged units. Family road trips, backpacking, cycling trips, and other off-the-beaten-track adventures bring families together for unpredictable and spontaneous fun, problem solving, and super sweet bonding.
4. Adventure = “edventure.”
More and more families are world-schooling, edventuring, life-learning — taking a break from school to travel the world for a set periods and school their children on the road. The underlying theory: diversity of experience is the best way to learn.
5. You can skip the line.
Mainstream attractions, whether they’re The Louvre, Statue of Liberty, or Disney World, are basically just one long queue. There’s no better way to get bored, get a migraine, and waste your precious holiday time.
Research smart, more meaningful alternatives. Lyon, for example, offers a condensed cosmopolitan alternative to Paris with its standout architecture, historic murals, awesome food traditions at lower prices, and minimal tourists. Instead of a summer trip to Disney World, try road-tripping from beach park to beach park on the West Coast’s Route 1. You can build your own fancy sand castles. Alternatively, cycle the chateau route in France’s Loire Valley and you can romp in the very castles that inspired Disney.
6. You’ll save money, or spend the same money but do more.
The average trip to Disney World for a family of four costs between $4,000 and $10,000. It’s easily possible to make a road trip across the US, or even Europe, cheaper. The ballpark budget depends on where you start and where you go. Flexible solutions such as using an RV, camping, staying in Airbnb, and self-catering give you far more options than resort accommodation and amusement park rides.
7. Off-the-beaten-track travel becomes the dearest memories for parents and kids.
Manufactured fun is not capable of evoking the same nostalgia.
Lead image: Flickr/faungg