It’s so important to teach and show children other cultures. Nobody grows up understanding that other people may live differently (and why) unless someone points it out to them. The increased diversity that we are now experiencing means that we need to equip our kids with open minds and the ability to cope with other cultures when they grow up. This is more easily achievable if we have exposed them (in a controlled, parent-led way) to people and places that are different from what they’re used to.
When you plan your trip, you should take into account things such as your kids’ sleeping patterns – if the children sleep as much as possible while traveling long distances then that would be best for everyone – and even whether or not an airline is kid-friendly. Big carriers such as US Airlines have a great reputation for working with kids, but if you’re at all unsure, the best signs that an airline will cope with your toddlers and teens alike are things such as a special menu or meal option for kids, bassinets for babies, and some kind of fun and experiential play kit made available.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do
Europe is a hugely diverse place, but one of its most famous cities is also one of the oldest in the world. Rome also happens to be a seriously kid-friendly city to visit. Not only is the weather excellent and the people friendly and welcoming to children, it’s packed full of ancient and medieval architectural remains, which makes it easier for everyone to imagine “what it might have been like.” There’s so much to visit for a hands-on experience, from St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican to the blood-soaked Colosseum where gladiators fought. Food for the imagination, and, of course, real Italian pizza and pasta.
Remember the Alamo
Ever wondered why we’re supposed to remember the Alamo? Fought in 1836, it was one of the bloodiest battles of the Texas Revolution. In fact, several world-famous Americans, including Jim Bowie, Davy Crockett, and William B. Travis were killed defending their state.
It’s also a superb family-oriented vacation, with kid-friendly hotels near to the Shrine of Texas Liberty that make it just that little bit easier. The Wall of History is a great way to impress the children with a 300-year timeline of the history of the place, and there are activity books to keep even the youngest ones focused.
Visit Botswana for an unusual camping trip
If you’ve got teenagers in tow, you might be feeling a little braver; in which case, you could consider something like a two-week camping trip in Botswana, Africa. This kind of trip offers an experience of a lifetime for kids, and it has everything from the mundane, pitching tents and cooking dinner on a campfire, to the exotic, looking for lions and gazelle and even elephants and hippo.
To make everyone happy with the choice of vacation, the real clincher has to be the whole “making memories” thing. If you and your children will be able to look back at a holiday that stands out in your minds for the next 20 years, then you can be pretty sure that your dream cultural family vacation was the right choice.