When I was a kid, the idea of spending hours at a museum was enough for me to demand that someone “gag me with a spoon.” Yet, time and time again, I find myself offering the same “we should go to the museum” pleas to my own kids and then being surprised when their eyes glaze over. But after dozens of museum visits and a decreasing number of eye rolls, I think I’ve stumbled upon the secret.
National Geographic Traveler contributing editor Heather Greenwood Davis is the magazine’s family travel advocate, guru, and soothsayer. Here’s her latest advice.
On a family road trip through British Columbia this summer, I had no regrets about seeing it with the whole brood first, but I also made notes about how my husband and I will do it again when we come back one day, sans kids. Here’s B.C. two ways, so you can choose your own adventure.
Fear-packing is what happens in that last 24 hours before your departure—when your mind starts to play tricks on you. In my case, the fears usually surround what the kids might need. I must pack, I tell myself, to account for every possible mishap. Here’s what’s wrong with that approach, and how to make a course correction.
Recently, I convinced my mother and my first-born son Ethan to hop a plane with me to Mexico’s Riviera Maya. For them it was a quick getaway to a sunny destination after a winter we all wanted to forget. But I had ulterior motives. More than anyone else, these two people (my own mother and the child who made me one for the first time) have shaped who I am. And while I’ve spent time with each of them on their own, this was a prime opportunity to celebrate the complex and precious relationship we share.
I’ve heard the horror stories: Hours on end spent in a stuffy car desperately trying to get to some specific event (a wedding, a theme park) on time with a constant chorus of “Are we there yet?” emanating from the backseat. It doesn’t have to be that way. There are some key things you can do to make your next family road trip your best ever. Here are five to get you started.