There's nothing quite like seeing the glimmer in a child's eye as he or she makes a new discovery. In order to enjoy those priceless moments and see the world through a child's eyes on your next family adventure abroad, follow these five tips for traveling abroad with kids:
Stay a Step Ahead of Pickpockets
Hold your handbag close, with the zippers closest to you, while riding public transportation and at tourist attractions. For added security, don't leave valuables like your camera, smartphone or cash in your back pockets. Alertness is your best defense against pickpockets, so always do your best to stay aware of your surroundings. To be on the safe side, sign up for identity protection monitoring and make copies of your family's passports and credit cards. This way, you'll have all of the numbers on hand if anything goes missing.
Divide & Conquer
To minimize uncertainty, clearly delegate travel duties so that one person organizes all of the travel details and bookings while the other handles all of the packing duties. You can do it all, if you're game, streamlining things to minimize travel stress. With both of you doing the hotel and plane bookings, for example, it's harder to keep track of who has which confirmation number and it's much easier for things to fall through the cracks ("wait, I thought you booked our hotel in Berlin" "no, you were supposed to").
A long international flight is the perfect excuse to spoil the grandkids with a few new toys and books. Choose treats that will keep them occupied while en route to your destination. Make each item even more exciting (and hold their interest a few minutes longer) by individually wrapping up each trinket. Disperse one at a time as the little ones lose interest in their current activity to prevent hours of boredom and tantrums.
Plan a Mix of Activities
While you may have a laundry list of must-see attractions on the trip, it's important to plan a mix of activities that will also appeal to the little ones. Aim to include at least one kid-centric activity each day to minimize meltdowns in the middle of world-class museums. It can be something as simple as a trip to a sweets shop or an hour-long visit to a neighborhood park. Do a quick search on a site like TripAdvisor before your departure to get an idea of the best places for kids in the destination city.
Splurge on Accommodations
Sure, when you travel on your own, you're barely in the hotel room, but when you go with your grandkids, it will be a different story. From nap times and early bedtimes, to just needing a break from exploring due to overstimulation, traveling with kids requires much more downtime than you're probably used to. For this reason, it really pays off to spend a bit more on a nicer hotel or even spring for a kid-friendly apartment rental.