We know what you’re thinking: once you have kids, your backpacking days are over. But thankfully, that’s far from the truth. If anything, in this day and age, the internet and Wifi have opened up the possibilities for all kinds of independent travel — even backpacking with children. These days, it’s easier than ever to research and prepare for trips in advance, while apps like Air BnB and online booking services give you the flexibility you need when traveling with kids.
And what better way to raise curious, open-minded kids than to share your love of travel with them? Travelling abroad offers a whole new range of exciting activities for kids they can’t get at home — from trying exotic foods to seeing wildlife in its natural habitat to experiencing unique cultural festivals. And there’s no better way to form meaningful connections with the locals than through a shared, spontaneous play-date between your kids and theirs. There’s lots of great online resources suggesting fun children’s activities at home, but for adventures further afield, here’s a few practical tips on backpacking with kids:
Use Air BnB and similar sites for accommodation
When traveling with kids, renting private flats or home stays offers better value and more flexibility than hotels. Many of these accommodations will come with kitchens, so you can save money by preparing your own meals. On top of that, Air BnB providers are often friendly locals, who can give helpful advice on navigating their city, including resources for families.
If you want a bit more luxury though, Secret Escapes offer hotel accommodation at special rates, in some amazing locations. So you can get affordable comfort in prime locations — with the added bonus of a surprise for the whole family!
Don’t hesitate to meet locals — Travelling with kids can completely change your interaction with locals — for the better. As long as you and your children are open to meeting new people, you may find yourselves the centre of attention and curiosity, with many locals offering smiles, small gifts, even their own children to play with. In other cultures, children aren’t dropped off at daycare and ignored, they’re always included in day-to-day living, so adopt a similar approach when exploring the world.
Always pack light — The same rule of thumb always applies when backpacking: pack as light as you can. With kids, try to cut down on the amount of toys, books, and electronic devices you bring along for them. After all, you shouldn’t need to depend on these to keep them entertained: they should be getting plenty of stimulation from the places you’re discovering. Unnecessary baggage can really dampen the feeling of freedom and excitement that you get from travel.
Get the jabs and read up on health concerns — One thing you shouldn’t skimp on is medical preparation. Make sure your kids are old enough to receive all the necessary jabs for wherever you’re traveling — and that they get the jabs far enough in advance. Pack a small first-aid kit with plasters, paracetamol, and salves for bug bites and scratches, etc. Depending on how old your kids are and where you’re traveling, let them try the local cuisine, but always take the same precautions: only bottled water and hygienically prepared food.
Cities are great for traveling with small children — With so many budget airlines, it’s never been easier to jet off to a foreign city, park yourself for a few days, and soak in what it has to offer for young families. Staying centrally makes it easy to stop back home for naps, temper tantrums, and baby feedings in between sightseeing. And if you can carry your baby in a pouch, what better way to set off on foot and explore a new city together?
Once you get your head around some of these logistics, backpacking with kids isn’t too different from before — just remember to be flexible and travel as slow as you need to. Other online resources like this column provide helpful advice. So don’t resign yourself to all-in-packages for the rest of your life. With kids, travel can be just as exciting and eye-opening as before.
This article was provided by http://www.oddfamily.co.uk
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