This month's post is brought to you by one of H&K Luxury Travel's travel consultants, Amber Dixon. She is a great resource for family vacation planning and we are proud to have her as a guest writer for our blog. Enjoy her insights and tips.
As a parent it is so easy to get caught up in the day to day grind of school, homework, activities, cooking and laundry – not to mention making sure you are raising your children to be decent, productive human beings.
One of the greatest gifts I have been able to give myself and my children has been one on one travel. I was recently in New York City with my middle son, Thomas, and it was the best trip ever. Just the two of us – no siblings, no spouse, just us. We were able to focus on the things that Thomas likes to do, move about the city more quickly than if we had more people in tow, and he had my undivided attention. But the greatest part of traveling one on one with one of your children is that you learn things about them that you didn’t know before – like the simple fact that Thomas likes kid shows that aren’t animation and wanted to see the new Beauty and the Beast movie.
Traveling with kids – no matter how many – always brings unique challenges and you can make the most of your vacation by making some simple choices and thinking ahead.
1. Choose Your Flight Times Wisely
Do as I say, not as I do. We live a couple of hours away from the closest large airport so when we travel as a family we generally pick a late morning/early afternoon flight so that we don’t have to wake up and get everyone ready at the break of dawn. I chose an early morning flight for our one on one trip to New York City which required us to leave our house before 6 am. That was a mistake. Thomas was tired by the time we got to New York City and we spent most of the first day just hanging out and had an early bed time. A later flight would have allowed us to sleep later and be more adventurous our first day in the city.
2. Let Your Kids Do Weird Things
Thomas loves pigeons. When we were in Washington Square Park there was a man who was feeding and holding pigeons. Now, this is not normally something I would encourage my children to do because it seems ridiculously dirty. But I could tell Thomas really, really wanted to hold and feed a pigeon as he stared longingly as some other kids joined in. So I handed him a few dollars to donate for the bird seed and he had the absolute time of his life with those pigeons!
3. Consider Your Kids Interest
Maybe the most important thing to consider when traveling with kids is what they are interested in. No matter where you travel if your days are full of only things that interest you as the parent then your kids behavior is going to be less than ideal. Thomas loves candy so we made several stops at candy stores, including Dylan’s Candy Bar. We also took into consideration that Thomas loves dance, drums and was interested in seeing the One World Observatory when planning our days. We also chose to see STOMP off-Broadway and Thomas belly laughed throughout the show because it fit his taste in entertainment and humor perfectly.
4. Be Flexible
When traveling with kids even the best plans need to be tweaked. One of the things we wanted to do was eat at the Cookie Do restaurant that has recently become a viral sensation. But, due to the weather (it was cold and rainy) I knew that no one would be happy to wait in the two hour line. We also spent more time than I would have preferred playing in Central Park but at the end of our trip that was exactly what Thomas needed to do before traveling home.
So take your kids to explore new places! It is one of the most precious gifts you can give your children and yourself.