Dear Babcia and YiaYia- It’s the New Year and I am so ready to start 2023 off on the right foot. My New Year’s resolution is to travel more! I want my family to experience this world and everything it has to offer! One slight problem…. I haven’t the foggiest idea where to even start! Any ideas to get me dreaming in the right direction?
Oh, yes, travel dreamer! I do have a few good tips! Let’s start with a good book to peruse through and share with your family. I found this gem- called 100 Countries, 500 Ideas- up at the National Geographic Hall (available everywhere, though) and I love just turning the pages and reacquainting myself with all those geographic basics of each country. I think a good reference like this is a great way to keep things flowing. It keeps our minds wandering and our options open.
But let’s be a bit realistic, parental dreamers, we’ve got kids to factor into the equation and that can be a bit daunting. I’m going to let you in on my parenting secret: if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. It seems like a blogger who is talking about global citizenship, should have a better parenting philosophy but that about sums it up (along with: don’t cause an international incident).
I have three great, strong minded young adults now and the last twenty years have taught me that just trying to do my best everyday is all I can expect. So, my kids love animal shows, I took them to see animals! My kids would eat anything put in front of them, let’s go out to eat (this is actually more important than it seems). They love swimming, let’s hit the beach. When it came time to plan trips, I followed the same ideals. If we were Australia bound, it was time for coral reefs, kangaroos and koalas. I was always dreaming but success came when I kept my dreams in focus with those three strong willed spirits.
One thing that you may also want to think about is next December. Yep. It’s one year away and maybe it’s time to have a serious conversation about whether you want to have a traditional holiday or do you want to commit to a holiday travel experience. Think about it, you could start close to home at a mountain resort or perhaps you could celebrate at an airbandb at the beach! The choices are limitless.
From Christmas markets in Germany to surfing in Hawaii, your holiday could go from lots of presents under the tree to lots of adventures to do and see. You just need to make the choice and commit to a shift in your thinking. Wherever my family and I end up, I take out their stockings and we each contribute a little something to each one. An ornament to commemorate the year, a book for something to think about, and a treat that brings back a memory. Nothing is too difficult to pack and everything is from the heart.
Think It Through
December is not the only time to take advantage of family travel. Spring break is another opportunity to pack the kids up and experience the world. It’s springtime, the air is fresh and the flowers are just starting to bloom. The tourist crowds are not at their summer peak and 5 to 6 days in a great location could be just what everyone needs to power through the rest of the school year. How about loving Paris in the springtime under the Eiffel Tower. How about experiencing the metamorphosis of Japan during cherry blossom season. A littler closer could bring you to our Capitol to experience the Smithsonian, take in the new babies at the zoo and with a little planning, see the White House. Your adventure awaits.
January is a great time to dream. Go ahead and get cozy by the fire and you may be surprised that country 72 looks like as much fun to you as to your kids!
New Year’s Day! All around the world, young and old look forward to putting the old year to bed and planning to make the year ahead the best lived year possible. Time to celebrate in style! So how can the global minded family celebrate? Try these activities to make New Year’s Eve a fun and festive occasion for everyone.
Celebrate another country’s New Year! It’s so hard for young ones to stay up so late to watch that ball drop. They get whiny and overtired just to watch something on TV that they really don’t understand! I live on the east coast, so I can conveniently choose a country that is ringing in the New Year at say, a conservative 7 pm my time.
Good choices for me include Iceland, Italy, or Morocco. Different variations would be to count down a different country throughout the day and celebrate by tracking the new year across the globe or having a lunch that represents another country (like Singapore or India) that has already made it to 2020. Little celebrations like this take a normally confusing holiday for little ones and add some global meaning to the change of time. But, in case those activities don’t just quite cut it… you could go BIG! Check out these three last minute ideas….
Why not take off for two or three days and go discover something in your home state? If you think about it, I bet you haven’t taken the chance to see some of the wonderful things that make your hometown a great tourist destination. Try using an app like TripAdvisor or Localuer to find something in your area that you may not have considered before. Be sure to check on hours and holiday schedules on any local destination- you’ll thank me later Smithsonian visitors.
Interested in a balance between kid time and adult time? Need a quick getaway from the cold? How about a family focused resort? There tons to choose from: Great Wolfe Lodge is a kid centric wonderland that keeps kids entertained 24-7. Franklyn D. in Jamaica is known for its family service. Perhaps you are ready to jet set during the cold winter months and need to recharge your batteries on a faraway island! Check out Fiji’s Kokomo Island for the best in southern pacific hospitality. Don’t forget that winter is always time to go skiing and take in those other winter sports. Check out family friendly Beaver Mountain for all your winter needs.
Check out apps like VRBO and Airbnb to see if there are any last minute finds for great picks in the city or on the beach! Easy app rentals are available worldwide and can always be arranged through reputable handlers: just check out the host rating and be realistic about what you are renting.
Okay, so we are done opening presents, the thrills and surprises of the holiday season are drawing to an end, the holiday decor is getting a bit dusty. Yep. I’m there too. I’ve had enough wrapping paper and sweet treats to last all of 2023!
It’s true, secretly, we adults are over it. We are ready to box things up and get on with the chilly trudge through January and February. But hold on just a minute! The cold temperatures of January and February are prime planning and prepping season for the global traveler!
If you are a first time planner, January is prime time to start searching for that perfect trip you’ve always wanted to experience. January is dream time. So, where to? (That’s my favorite question!) Perhaps its time to explore ancient ruins in Greece or maybe its time to relax at a beach resort on some tropical island. Then again, hiking in the Swiss Alps could be just the ticket! Maybe a sporty jaunt to a national park is just your speed. Although, I can’t argue that a cruise wouldn’t be perfect no matter what the destination is!
So, where to? And perhaps, more importantly, how to decide?! What should be your step one? It can be overwhelming to simply choose the place you want to learn about. What would work best for you and the entire fam?
First things first: Set the time of year that you are available to travel as a team. When do all of your calendars magically align to allow everyone some travel time together. If you are like most families, Summer is your optimum season. The kids are out of school and work, while always hectic, seems to usually have a pretty good Summertime groove. Europe or Canada may be good choices for you.
On the other hand, you may be a Spring breaker! Ready to tackle a week-long challenge, places like Japan or Costa Rica could really appeal to you and yours. if you are one of the lucky few who have no schedule constraints, the World is your oyster no matter what time of year! Lucky you! Maybe you are just the type who would choose to country hop all over Northern Europe or dedicate some time to a service project in Africa before a once in a lifetime safari! Wow!
Once you have a time frame, you are ready to strategically pick a destination. Someplace new, far away, a yearly tradition? I ask again, where to? Spring is great for beaches but perhaps you’d like to experience Hanami: the art of cherry blossom viewing for the first time by visiting Kyoto, Japan. Summer is prime time to explore Alaska. If you do like an escape from the balmy weather you might be interested in checking out all the wild life down under- Winter is in full swing! Although, I can think of nothing better than taking advantage of the shoulder seasons in Europe. Things are happening but the big cities are not yet over run with tourist mobs. Whether it’s around the corner or on the other side of the world, January is prime time for getting your travel dreams in order!
So you’ve taken the month to pick the perfect spot to pin on the map….. next stop, February! Let’s start booking! See you then….