Colleen Kelly is both a mom of two and a travel guru who has visited more than 20 countries. Those two roles come together in her new PBS show, "Family Travel with Colleen Kelly," the very first family travel show to ever go national. As a family travel expert, she circles the globe to helps her viewers get the most out of every family adventure. Today, she's helping Tween Us readers make the most of family travel this holiday season.
Whether you're headed over the river and through the woods or leaving on a jet plane, these family travel tips from Colleen Kelly will make the journey more fun and enjoyable for all family members.
Ways to keep the road trip interesting:
Have a paper bag with strips of paper with suggestions of things to do in the car or places to stop just for fun to break up the trip. Examples might include, "Stop off at the next exit and get a treat!" Or "It's time to play 20 questions!" Depending on our schedule, we might pull out three or four ideas. It throws in a little spontaneity!
My kids love making crafts so they can enjoy making friendship bracelets, gift tags or bookmarks for family members. It's always nice to show up with a gift in hand!
Best travel games/activities for the whole family:
I love the classics such as the license plate game (find all 50) or the alphabet game (find the letters A-Z on billboards, etc). However, we also really like playing word games such as Taboo, Catch Phrase or Crossword Puzzles - Kids Across/Parents Down is really fun - to keep our minds moving!
Sing! Sing loud and sing proud! If the holiday music is pumping, the stress level comes WAY down because you are all too busy having fun! The other advice that I like to follow myself is build in time. What's the rush? Slow down and take your time getting to your destination in one piece.
Suggestions for setting screen time limits for tweens and teens:
Let the device itself help me set the limit. For every minute on, there has to be 2 minutes off...we literally set a timer. I like to have books on tape in the car as well as a bin of activities that we use ONLY when we travel. My kids look forward to playing games in the car. If you are traveling with other family members (for example, we often caravan with my sister and her family), we will switch around the family members in each car. It is amazing how much faster we seem to get to Grandma's house when the cousins are all giggling together in the back seat.
Give tweens more responsibility:
Tweens can handle quite a bit of responsibility if given the opportunity and a little direction. My kids help me with the planning process from looking up fun family activities online, to helping figure out how to allocate the budgeted money for the trip. It's all about making choices and I find when the kids are involved in the process, they enjoy the experience that much more!
The travel expert's family packing tips:
You can find more information on "Family Travel with Colleen Kelly" here.
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