Parents who travel a lot are always on the lookout for great advice on travelling with their children. And nowhere is this information bundled together so well as in Ashley Steel’s and Bill Richard's new book.
“Family on the Loose” is packed with advice and information on how to make travelling with children more pleasant. It is divided into three parts, respectively dealing with the time before the trip, the trip itself and the time after coming back home.
In the first part, the book describes everything that needs to be done and prepared for a successful trip. It especially focuses on helping children learn to pack themselves. That part also tackles things like choosing your destination or means of travel and answers questions such as: should we travel alone or with other families? How to find the cheapest plane ticket or hotel, and many more questions that will surely be of interest for travelling families. It helps you get the children excited about the trip with preparation tips, craft ideas, learning useful vocabulary and expressions and above all, putting your children in control of the trip (make it age-appropriate, of course). There is a whole subchapter devoted to choosing the right kind of luggage! And all this great information is not everything because the book also offers printable lists of things to pack (yes, even for children who can’t read just yet!), a list of things to do in advance and a sample budget spread sheet.
The second part deals with the travel itself, from the moment you get on an airplane (it is a book for families who choose far away destination, for longer-term travelling), you arrive at your destination. This part is all about making the travel as pleasant as possible. Here, I found tips I would never consider before: pyjamas as traveling clothes? Yes, please, especially for children. Of course, you would probably think of packing snacks, but plane gifts? The idea is awesome! Plane gifts are things to keep children occupied on planes that are meticulously wrapped and then slowly handed to the children during the flight. I liked the part about getting bumped from a flight on purpose- this way you get to see a destination you wouldn’t have considered before!
The book then takes you to your destinations and suggests fun activities to do, such as a city scavenger hunt or travel bingo! It also explains safety rules, how to help children tackle money for souvenirs, and using local transport. I loved the subchapter called: “Learning as you go”, devoted to making the trip not only fun but also educational. The tip about giving the children your camera is awesome! There is also a subchapter about journaling your experience. Ashley and Bill provide useful and inspiring travelling quotes, and help parents motivate their children to keep a journal. You will find even more awesome printables at the end of this chapter!
The third part is particularly awesome because it focuses on making travel memories last long after you and your children came back home. This part is often forgotten in travel books because they focus more on preparing the trip and actually going to the destination. Not this book! I never knew there were so many great things to do after coming home! Reading and writing about the country you visited is great, but how about looking at your own city through a tourist’s eyes and treating it the same way as some exotic location? I also love the “dessert around the world idea”, it’s all about desserts from as many countries as possible! I believe the closing words are the most important here: “Never stop exploring!”
“Family on the Loose” is an extremely helpful book, and it’s fun to read, too! It is mostly for families who want to travel for longer periods of time and visit multiple countries at one go, but I am sure short-term travellers (for example us expats when we want to go on holiday or visit our families) can also benefit from it. Also check out the great tips for fostering understanding and acceptance of all cultures!
Bill Richards and Ashley Steel are the authors of "Family on the Loose: The Art of Traveling with Kids", from Rumble Books. The book is packed with bulleted lists of travel tips, fill-in pages for packing and journaling, ideas for inflight entertainment, strategies for browsing museums with kids, and much more. It is unlike other family travel books in that it is not about where to go. "Family on the Loose: The Art of Traveling with Kids" details how to make any family trip smarter and more fun! Check out Ashley's and Bill's website and buy their book!