March Break Traveling 101
Are you heading off on a family vacay for March Break? Families are traveling more than ever, with TravelAge West reporting 87 percent of families planned vacations in 2015, up 5 percent from 2010. The 2016 Spending & Saving Tracker report by American Express found 70 percent of Americans expect to travel for leisure in 2016 — and the number is apt to be similar in Canada; it’s a number that’s steadily growing from 54 percent in 2012. If your family is planning a hotel stay with your children, restless spirits and boredom can turn travel relaxation into a need for a vacation from your vacation.
Your resting space should be one that recharges you for excursions while you’re on a trip. Whether you’re winding down in your room after a busy day of fun, or are stuck seeking shelter because of unexpected dangerous weather conditions, use these tips to keep children entertained while you’re at your hotel.
Exercise Your Mind
Tie your vacation into a thoughtful activity by stocking your suitcase with some custom travel-themed word search puzzles. A free word search tool, like this one from Busy Teacher, allows you to input as many words that relate to your vacation as you’d like and personalize the grid size and difficulty level. You could use the word search as a way to get kids excited about the next day’s activities by using words that relate to them.
Pack some blank notebooks and a small set of crayons so kids can explore their artistic sides or start a travel journal. Use hotel stationary to have kids write a thoughtful note to housekeeping or whomever stays in the room next.
Travel-sized games for kids with memory, trivia and spot-the-difference themes stimulate young minds, while stocking a tablet with books before you leave allows for endless story time. For families traveling with multiple children, games like “I Spy” require no equipment. You could also bond as a family and get imaginations flowing by creating a travel-themed narrative as a group, where each person gets five minutes to add to a story you tell together.
Use What’s Available
For high-energy kids who need to let loose so they can sleep soundly at night, family travel blog Suitcases & Sippy Cups recommends working withhotel room amenities to create fun activities. Bedsheets can be used to build forts, mini-shampoos can be used as “pins” in a bowling game where the ball is substituted by toilet paper, and an ice bucket and tongs can be used to develop motor skills through transferring objects from it. You could also use towels and toilet paper as sculptural mediums and encourage your child to build shapes with them, or use them to create apparel for a hotel room fashion show.
Explore the whole hotel with your child to get in some exercise and see a variety of visual stimulation. If you encounter some interesting artwork, ask your child what the piece means to them. Practice spelling by reading signs, then having kids spell out the words without looking at them. Go for a walk on the gym treadmill, or take advantage of an indoor pool. Head out onto the balcony, and ask children to tell you what they imagine goes on in the buildings they see or what their history is.
Get children in a calm state of mind by drawing a bubblebath and adding some bath capsules that turn into sponges in fun shapes to get them excited to get clean. Play soothing music on a smartphone or portable device, or lead them through some yoga-inspired deep breathing exercises.
TODAY Parents recommends contacting the hotel concierge with specific needs for your family, since most hotels often have toys and books on hand to stimulate kids. (4) Put your own imagination to work with whatever is available to you, and be enthusiastic about having fun. With the right outlook, being in a hotel while you’re on vacation can turn into one of your favourite trip memories.