So, you’ve decided to take the plunge, and take your family on an overseas adventure. A holiday in a strange place, with unusual demands. How should you prepare them? Not too far in advance, is my advice. Children have no idea about time, and springing something on them is actually much more exciting than discussing an exciting trip which will happen months away. When I was ten, my parents packed up our home and took me and my siblings to live in a remote African hospital. For a year. They told us about it a week before we left.
But once you have told them, do get the globe out, show them where they are going and chat with them about what they might see. If you are off on a safari trip in Tanzania, show them pictures of elephants and giraffes alongside ordinary vehicles, so they can imagine how big they are. A tick-book of animals and birds is always a great idea, and will provide familiarisation before the trip.
You might need to broach the issue of injections and malaria pills. Injections are simply a necessity, the quicker got over the better. Malaria pills might require a bit of strategy. I found bribery with strawberry flavoured yoghurt, or chocolate croissants, worked a treat. Try to use something which can be easily acquired on holiday, as you will need to take them every day.
Don’t buy a whole load of new clothes. You are not going on a cruise. This is an adventure trip, and you won’t need to be smart. Equally, the potential for losing things is high, so don’t risk it. I can’t tell you the amount of swimsuits that I’ve left on hotel balconies around the world. There was one time I left an entire bag of clothes in a Zanzibar airport toilet when one of my children decided projectile vomiting was an interesting thing to do. Just pack the bare minimum; T-shirts and shorts, and take clothes handwash with you if necessary. This will mean you aren’t overladen with vast suitcases. Everyone uses backpacks.
On safari? Tell the kids they can take photos themselves or simply observe the wildlife through a pair of binoculars.
For those long waits in airports or stations, a pack of cards is good, and an origami kit is also brilliant, as it is light, requires no power and can be thrown away when finished with.
Challenge your children to leave all electronic devices behind. Once they are released from their screens, you’ll find your children will get hooked on looking around them. And that’s precisely what you want.
To read more of Rosie’s tips be sure to check out our ‘Get Set’ magazine, jam-packed full of exciting travel inspiration, loads of great advice and an exciting photo and video competition!