Travelling with tweens is often just as challenging as it is rewarding. Founder and CEO of travel content platform Bound Round, Janeece Keller, would know – as she spends most weekends travelling with kids.
Ms Keller notes that, just like adults, children are curious about what their upcoming destination will be like.
“They have questions about things that are of interest to them,” she says. “These include whether there will be ice cream, how many giraffes there will be and how fast the roller coaster goes.”
By encouraging kids to find answers to their queries, you’ll not only be keeping them busy along the way, you’ll also be helping your kids form their own expectations of what the destination will be like – which lets you off the hook from a barrage of questions!
Here are our top tips for engaging your tween’s natural curiosity and creativity while travelling:
1. Engage them in the future destination
An unknown destination can be a delightful mystery for kids to solve. Ask them to find out interesting and fun facts about where you are going, or challenge your tweens to research free activities the whole family might enjoy.
Encourage your youngsters to look up tween-friendly travel reviews on family and children-related travel sites or check out free travel apps they can download onto a tablet or smartphone. This allows your kids to get the most out of their holiday; ‘exploring’ the location and getting excited about their impending adventure before the fun even starts!
Urge the kids to use apps which can be used offline while at their destination, so they can continue learning on the road – at no extra cost. For example, Bound Round allows you to download content in advance – including video reviews and insider tips by tweens for tweens, plus mini games and lots of photos and fun facts.
2. Create a photo or video challenge for the holiday
Kids are naturally competitive and just love a fun challenge. Using a digital camera, set your youngsters a daily photo challenge to capture the most unique or inspiring image while travelling.
Encourage the kids to take pictures of their favourite experiences and pick one every day to share with friends and family as a digital postcard. You could also print and mail your photos as actual, physical postcards.
If your tweens are on Instagram, ask them to find out what the tourism board hashtag is for your destination (for example, the Northern Territory tourism board uses #NTaustralia) and then your youngsters can share their favourite pictures with them, too!
Get them to create a vlog (video diary) of the trip that they can edit using any of the freely available software packages/apps online. These videos can then be shared with family, friends and schoolmates when they get home. Hint: Some easy-to-use video editing apps/software include iMovie, Vine and Splice.
3. Get creative with journaling
Keeping a travel journal is one of the best ways to capture the many happy memories of family travel. The fact that your youngsters will have something fun to look back on once they’re a little older is also a huge plus!
Put your tween in charge of collecting all tickets, flyers and brochures you gather during your trip, collating them into a scrapbook so that the whole family has a memento. The content can also be used for an online blog, a digital diary or a photo album, whichever method you and your tween prefer. There are a slew of free journaling apps to pick from – including one that is integrated in Bound Round. The only rule? Make the project as creative as possible!
4. Let them be in charge
Let each child have a day (or a few hours) where they’re running the show. Your child can decide on where to stop en-route, where to eat and the activities you’ll engage in (if you’re driving, let them select a music playlist to go along with their day).
To make it even more interesting, set them a budget for their activities so they learn how to manage their money while travelling. Pro tip: You can use Monopoly money so they feel like they’re handing over real cash when making the decisions on where to go and what to do!