Staticians love to talk about the traditional white picket fenced home with 2.4 children and half a dog, but the truth is that every single family is different. So it makes sense that your Easter holiday should follow suit. Travelling with toddlers is very different to dragging teens away from the TV and it can often be that the success of your holiday (and your sanity) depends on your pre-departure choices.
With the credit crisis and uncertainty that is plaguing the world at the moment, any holiday should be cherished and used as a chance to unwind and destress. So the last thing you need is a screaming toddler, a sulky teen or a bored tween. Hopefully, with a few easy tips, travelling with your particular children should not be a drama and you may even find a little time to yourself.
Travelling with a toddler on safari
Travelling with a toddler doesnt need to be hard one fun activity daily should tire them out enough to stay in the pram for the rest of the day but there are some basic holidays to avoid this Easter, should you be packing a toddler or two.
As South Africans, safaris are often our first choice for a quick, local break, but there are some things to bear in mind if you are going to have a little one in the back seat. Unfortunately, many of the best safari parks in Southern Africa are in malaria areas. Malaria medication is not exactly tasty and can be a nightmare to administer and is usually followed by the delight of having to smother a squirming two year old in stinky malaria lotion.
Another downside to a toddler safari is the age old are we there yet? Unfortunately, on a safari drive, you are not actually getting anywhere. And even more unfortunately, the animals are not always obliging in their distracting, entertaining antics to the point that they may not even show up at all. You could spend a lot of time playing I-spy and distributing juice boxes and sweets in exchange for some quiet time.
However, a toddler safari can still be possible, provided that you choose the right place to stay. Many safari camps and reserves offer child care facilities that allow you to enjoy a quiet game drive while your kids have the time of their lives back at camp, leaving them exhausted and ready for bed when you get back another bonus.
Many places have facilities and activities ranging from cookie baking to sandpits and even ensure that your kids get a mini safari of their own with local bush walks and other specialised activities like bark rubbings and spoor castings. Adjacent rooms at one of these safari camps even means that your toddler can sleep in his own bed not breaking your night time routine and saving you a whole lot of hassles when you get back home.
Just cant resist a safari? Try a malaria-free travel package to take some of the drama out of a toddler safari.
Travelling with tweens to a resort
The next difficult stage of travelling with kids comes around the double figures mark the tweens. These kids are no longer kids, but not yet teens and can be demanding and picky when it comes to their entertainment choices. Sadly, fireside sing-alongs and games of charades no longer set a tweens hair on fire as their tastes run to cooler activities which also happen to have a heftier price tag.
The solution often can be to head out to a resort for your Easter holiday and avoid the expensive shopping malls, bowling alleys and cinemas of the city. Many resorts have recognised that this age group needs its own kind of entertainment and have willingly obliged with events, fun activities and cool places for them to hang out and be seen.
These types of places are the ideal holiday venue for families with tweens as they offer these nearly-teens the freedom and social life that they crave, but in a safe environment that allows parents to relax. Just dont force them to participate, remember, it is their holiday too and if they want to stay inside, let them.
Travelling with teens on an adventure
Lets face it tweens were just teens in training. No parent has escaped a sulky teenager slumped in the back of the car, complete with IPod and defiant stare. But somehow we still love them and want them on holiday with us the challenge is for it still to be enjoyable for all. The answer can sometimes to be to really get our city teens out of their comfort zones and to try something new something that would make an awesome story for their friends.
Think along the lines of safari where they meet the Big Five, go on night excursions with game rangers, camp in the bush or even get to learn to drive on the quiet dirt roads. Or, if you are up to it, really get their blood pumping. White water rafting trips, bungee jumping, mountain biking excursions and shark cage diving are among the many activities guaranteed to excite a teen and allow you to bond as a family. You might even score a few cool points too.
If you are a little nervous of these activities or prefer a quieter holiday, all is not lost and there are other ways to ensure the success of a teen vacation. No matter where you go, there should be something that will appeal to your teen. Involve them in the planning beforehand and let them choose one activity a day that they would like to do. Making sure they get their way at least some of the time can go a long way to ensuring some smiles while you are on holiday.
Whichever T you are travelling with this Easter, good luck and remember chocolate bribes work wonders – no matter how old you are.