Family travel writer Rainer Jenss shares his New Year’s resolutions when it comes to planning trips with his family.
For 2012, instead of making my usual bucket list, I’m concentrating mostly on which places and activities are going to benefit my kids and enrich their lives. With that in mind, here are a few questions I ask myself when evaluating a trip idea:
- What kind of trip will bring the family closer together? Given our busy work and school schedules, we make it a priority to spend our vacations in each other’s company.
- Which destinations will strengthen our connections to wildlife and nature? Going to a zoo or aquarium is a great start, and you can take it even further by hiking in a state or national park or snorkeling in the Caribbean.
- What activities will spark their curiosity? Sometimes it’s a simple as trying new foods. You might not think the kids will like steamed dumplings, but you’d be surprised what a visit to Chinatown can do to expand their palates.
- Where can we expose our kids to new cultures and perspectives? This doesn’t necessarily require leaving the country.
- Where can we learn new life skills? Surfing in Hawaii? Horseback riding out West?
- What activities will enhance the kids’ education? We looked at their upcoming curriculum: American history, volcanoes, Greek mythology. Great trip ideas there.
- How can the trip promote self-discovery? You can learn a lot about yourself by visiting a house of worship different than your own.
- Will we meet new people? We have formed lasting friendships with people we’ve met while traveling.
- Is the itinerary/destination safe? Everyone has their own threshold, so respect it.
- Will the kids have fun? Trust me from experience; don’t underestimate what kids will enjoy.
What about you? What factors do you weigh when booking a trip for your family?
Follow Rainer on Twitter at @JenssTravel