Let Kids Plan the Adventure

family, Travel

It’s often assumed that mom and dad are the ones that plan travel. They take the budget, and they make something work. It is then that the kids toddle along, after the parents, sometimes exuberantly, from place to place.

In theory, this is not an oddity, it makes sense, parents have the wisdom and wit to know how to plan a vacation or adventure. Yet, when we stop to listen to kids, we often find they are full of creative ideas that can enhance a vacation.

Why? And how do I know this?

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My loves in 2012 in California

Well, while my stepdaughter likes to spout out different places she thinks she wants to go (New York, Paris, Hawaii, Mexico) she often lacks a full grasp on what these places offer for the average family. That is where the education and fun come in. Instead of saying “I don’t think so” we encourage Lily to research these places and why they may be worth visiting.

For instance, she hears from the boy at school that she has a crush on that he spent Christmas in Italy. Well, Lily now wants to go to Italy. Which is awesome! I love Italy. However, while Italy would be fun, she needs to have an idea on why she wants to go somewhere.

Another situation is with the Girl Scout troop that I help lead. The troop likes to take adventures and outings. What kid doesn’t? But in order to make it happen, we encourage thought and discussion in our meetings on how we need to plan the day or weekend away. It encourages the girls to think about money, time, everyone’s needs, and what it means to get to travel. The easy way for the leaders and girls would be for the leaders to just plan, the smart way is to get the girls thinking about the world and what it means to interact with it.

It can be scary to let kids take the reins, but usually it ends up with multiple benefits for everyone. Here are my observations:

  • The child feels included in family plans
  • It teaches budgeting and how to manage money, or how to save money for bigger trips
  • It helps kids work with others to find solutions that make everyone happy
  • It makes kids think about their impact on the world as they navigate life
  • It helps them think about time management and how to maximize days of vacation
  • It creates leadership skills as they take over say one day of planning
  • Their mistakes teach them how to improve next time
  • They develop research skills as they learn about new places

The list could go on, but what I have seen can be life changing for a kid.

My biggest surprise was telling my stepdaughter our planned vacation for this year will have to be a year later, as the wedding we are in was postponed. Instead of being devastated about waiting a year, she happily accepted it and we began talking about our summer/fall alternatives as a family.

So, my encouragement, is let the kids help, and see what magic is in their great little minds.

Happy Travels!

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Spring Cleaning- Travel Edition

Travel

Ahhhhhhhhh

We can finally open the windows after months of cold and misery. In Colorado, this may be short lived, as more snow is on the way. Yet these warm bursts of sun and fresh air sure make everyone ready to clear out some dust. This includes trying to clean off and out old luggage to make sure we have what we need for spring and summer adventures.

Here are my tips on cleaning out the closet to open up your bags and yourself to better travel in 2018!

  1. Take inventory
    • Go through all of your travel-related items and see what you have. Take note of what you may need and what you already have and even keep the list on your phone. Especially if you have a family, then next time you are off to a wedding you know that Sally has a neck pillow and Jason is all set with luggage tags.
  2. Get rid of the broken and sad
    • Here is a fact of life: luggage wears out. Meaning you will have to replace pieces as they get worn out. Now a few snags or scuffs doesn’t warrant a new bag, but if a wheel is broken or a strap is worn down, get something else. I guarantee you will be thankful next time you are running through the airport.
  3. Clean your bags
    • Your luggage goes through a lot to get you places, and it comes into contact with a lot on the way. I take time after every trip to empty out everything, wash it with a mild soap or cleaning wipes and then put it all away when I am done. This way when I am packing for the next trip I know its good to go, and there will be no unpleasant surprises.
  4. Fix the good stuff
    • If you have a bag that is ideal for how to travel, then hang onto it. If you can stitch up holes, if it’s leather condition and clean it, if it’s plastic smooth down scuffs. All around, if it’s a worthwhile item, take care of it. Because you often won’t find another travel friend as good.
  5. Store nicely
    • Make sure when you clean and put away your luggage after a trip that you keep your bags somewhere where the temperatures stay consistent and that is not damp or too dry. Wacky storage damages things, especially plastic and leather which can become brittle and cracked. This is especially true of items you want to keep and use for a while. Don’t abuse your good stuff and it will keep you moving for a long time.

Want an added bonus? NOW is a great time to purchase that new Samsonite you have been eyeing for a year, or that really cute carry-on that you couldn’t justify at full price. Especially department stores, which has luggage on sale for really great prices! Some are as low as 60 or 70% off their original price. The sale comes from new stuff coming in and last year’s stuff moving out, and buying a better brand means more years of travel. It also means Le Sport Sac or London Fog become really reasonable.