When our family gets a chance to travel and get out of our normal family rhythm, I get excited. Yes, it’s a LOT of work to travel with kids…like, A LOT! But, it’s so worth it especially when you have younger kids like mine who are all under 6 years old.
There are many benefits of traveling. Not only do you get to experience new places, but you get to experience them with your family and create memories. Some of the best memories I have with my family growing up is while traveling.
Whatever your reasons for traveling, you should make the most of the trip by having fun learning as much as you can about the area and its people. If you are on a tight schedule, then you may think you do not have the time to go exploring and learning about the area. Thankfully, this is just not true, there are many ways you can use your travels as an eye-opening learning experience to remember for the whole family. Here are a few tips to make it fun and easy!
Before you leave home, do some research on the place(s) you are going to be traveling to. This way you have an idea of what to expect when you get there. This research also helps you to figure out what sights to see and what places to visit. Traveling to a place you have never been, or have been a hundred times, should always be viewed as a new and interesting adventure! You might learn a new recipe or discover a different variety of coffee, the sky is the limit when you are able to visit different areas.
If you have kids, research local museums or educational areas of interest. Research local parks or state parks to check out. Historical attractions can also be low cost and jam-packed with fun history tidbits. My kids have learned a lot from the various traveling we have accomplished over the years. In my book, a field trip or traveling counts as part of their education as well!
Homeschooling While Traveling
We have family scattered all over the States and one of the biggest perks to homeschooling is being able to pick up and travel somewhere on a whim! Homeschooling is so flexible, just pack up your books and pencils (and all the other equipment your family needs), and off you go! Minimalist packing helps ease the burden of packing for your entire family. Just pack essentials because you know your kids will be learning on the go.
To make homeschooling more fun on the road, switch it up a bit and do some unit studies on the areas that you’re going to be traveling to. You can also even look for several read-a-loud books for certain historical people or places in the state. This will require doing some research prior to your travels but it will be a nice break for the kiddos (or maybe you too!).
**Quick Tip For Road Trips: To save money on the way to a destination, you can pack some food for the road. We also like to keep a travel potty in the car for when emergency potty breaks need to happen and we can’t get to a bathroom fast enough. Also, you can’t go wrong with Dramamine on hand!
Ask Locals Questions
One of the best ways to learn about an area is by asking the people that live there. You might be surprised at some of the things they will tell you, such as local legends and directions to some of the local hot spots for fun and entertainment. People are what give an area its colorful history and flavor. Take notes on what you learn so you can refer to them later.
Never miss the opportunity to talk to the local people of the places you travel to, they might be able to tell you an interesting story or two. If you have kids, definitely ask the local moms. They will know where to direct you to all the local kid-friendly places!
Grab these valuable little bits of information every chance you get! They usually contain photos of notable places, directions to get to these places, and other local information. You can learn so much about a place and its people just by reading a handful of brochures. The other nice thing about brochures and pamphlets is that they make wonderful souvenirs because they are free!
**Quick Tip For Air Travel: If you’re traveling with younger kids, to help get you through the airport faster, use a stroller! Once you get to the gate, you can check it there and they will bring it back to you when you get off your flight! I’ve done this several times traveling alone with 3 kids to California!
When you travel anywhere, it is a good idea to take pictures of the sights and important things like information plaques. Even if you do not have time to stop at each place, take pictures from the cab/car as you speed by! It may sound a little silly to try and take pictures from a moving vehicle, but you might be surprised at how good they turn out.
Every time you stop somewhere, snap a few photos before you move on to the next destination. You can always look at the pictures later and do some research on the buildings/sights online or at your local library when you get home for extra learning opportunities. Candid shots of your family will be a wonderful memory to look back on! One of our favorite travel pictures we’ve taken was at Day Out With Thomas.
Visit The Tourist Center
Tourist centers are also a great starting off point if you are on vacation and do not know what to see or do in that area. If you have a limited amount of time to sightsee, then a good suggestion is to make the tourist center a mandatory destination. These centers offer information on the area’s historical sights and the history of the area itself. The staff at these centers are generally very friendly and knowledgeable and are more than happy to answer your questions. Tourist centers are great places to get the highlights of an area when you do not have the time to take a leisurely tour on your own.
Traveling can be such a rewarding and interesting activity in itself. There is always something to see, do and people to meet! Even if you travel frequently for business and have tight schedules and meetings galore, you can still manage to learn a few things about the city and its history. Do you like to travel and homeschool with your family?