Taking your children to faraway lands gives them an opportunity to experience the magic and history the world offers. While you can certainly find untouched nature to traverse in America, there is a deeper understanding of the origins of humanity outside the country’s map lines. From the peaks of Machu Picchu to Rome and the ruins of the Colosseum, go exploring with your kids. Travel with family can be exciting and educational.
Machu Picchu, Peru
One of the New Seven Wonders of the World, the “Lost City of the Incas” in Peru is adventure, mystery, history and, well, a really good hike. Not for the faint of heart or really young, Manchu Picchu is the center of the former Inca Empire. This is a history lesson no child can get in school no matter how in depth the teacher takes them. The ruins of the lost city once housed sophisticated architects, mathematicians, doctors and astronomers. The Incas worshiped everything Mother Earth: sun, moon, rain, wind, lighting. A trip to South America is natural-meets-historical exploration at its best.
Also in Peru, whitewater raft down the Urubamba River, and eat a few of the 3,000 different types of potatoes grown in the country. Frommers recommends kids no younger than 8 take this journey. They also suggest you hire a professional guide or travel company to help plan the trip.
Is your child obsessed with “Clash of the Titans?” Does he channel Poseidon in the bathtub? Take him to on a journey to Greece. There is history, mythology and some very cool architecture, along with tasty food, water parks, beaches and unique souvenirs. If it’s more in your personal interest to get to Athens, there are reasonable vacation cruise deals in the Mediterranean. Taking an all-inclusive sail to this part of the world takes the stress of planning out of parents’ hands.
With onboard activities that include XBox stations, basketball tournaments, social activities and water games, kids’ connection to sports, technology and their peers keeps them happy and occupied while mom and dad have dinner, get a massage, hit the slots or simply rest beside the pool.
When you think Italy, several things come to mind—the Pantheon, the Colosseum, the Sistine Chapel. Your kids, on the other hand, probably associate it with pizza, soccer and the movie “Gladiator.” Fortunately, you can experience it all with this family trip.
Rome, in particular, is of the finest family vacation destinations. It’s rich in history, architecture, sports and food. Show the kids how the Romans lived and loved through first-hand experiences at Roman Empire ruins. Take in a soccer game and eat your way through the city. Some advice: Book tickets ahead of time to avoid lines. Enroll kids in Gladiator School. Play in the parks. Eat gelato, take a pizza-making class and go to the local farmers markets.
The best way to get the kids excited about your far-off vacation is to let them help plan the trip. Discuss possible options and come together for the final decision. Once made, get your kids excited by providing them with guidebooks and possible itineraries.
Have you taken a faraway vacation with your kids? I’d love to hear about it! We went to Japan when my daughter was 14 months and Italy when she was 2. Now that my daughter is 8, we are also looking forward to a trip to Colombia. (We travel where we can get free housing!)