For those families considering heritage travel, here are 10 tips from a WACAP family that traveled to India in 2018 with their 15-year-old daughter. You can read more about the family's travel experience here!
- Think about when it’s a good time to travel considering the season, travel logistics, etc.—as well as your child’s age, needs and priorities, etc. (Middle school can be a great age for children to travel, and an age where priorities and obligations may not be as overwhelming as when children are older.)
- Incorporate activities your child values as you plan together. Ask your child what they’d like to see or do? Make it your child’s trip.
- Ask what your child would want to get out of the trip, not just what you as parents envision will be important.
- Consult travel guides and talk with other experienced travelers you know. Travel books such as “The Lonely Planet” are a great resource ... but so are knowledgeable friends and colleagues who may have traveled to or lived in the places you’re going. They may be able to advise on your itinerary, destinations, or ideal routes.
- Ask others who’ve traveled on heritage trips for their thoughts and recommendations. If your child has a sibling that’s traveled on a similar trip, encourage them to talk with each other about the experience.
- Allow time and space for your child’s need to process an array of feelings that may come up, before, during, and after traveling.
- On the trip, allow for a balance of planned activities to open time. Scheduling activities and leaving free time creates room for your child to take advantage of new opportunities and interests during the trip.
- Each day of the trip, allow time for informal debriefing and talking as a family. Dinnertime or before you go to sleep can be a good time to talk about the day’s experiences together (e.g., everyone’s favorite part of the day, things that happened, what was hard, etc.).
- After you return home from the trip, plan a day or more for low-key downtime to absorb what happened during the trip and to talk. Leave time to unwind, process, and reflect (and recover from jetlag) before jumping back into pre-trip routines.
- Make physical photo albums from a collection of the pictures you’ve taken on your trip! It will be a way for you to remember, share and talk about the trip together, and will be a treasured souvenir of your family’s experience.
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