Getting kids excited about family travel

How have we been getting our kids (ranging from 12 yrs old to 2 yrs old) EXCITED about family travel?

Well, like most children, they get excited about whatever WE get excited about.  It really doesn't take much for our children to "read" our excitement about things and want to jump on board.

As we've been talking about starting off our bucket list travel adventures, we decided that transitioning from a good sized home (about 2700 sf) to some sort of RV would be best. 

When we first mentioned the idea to our kids, our oldest, most pensive child wasn't exactly thrilled.  Actually, truth be told, she was pretty much against it.  Maybe she was just asserting her independence or we caught her on a day when her siblings were especially bothersome.

But one afternoon, my husband decided to load everyone up in the van and drive to a local RV dealership and look around.  Insanity and disaster waiting to happen, right?

The way our kids were going from camper to camper would have made you think we'd been RVing our entire lives!  And our oldest followed suit, picking out things she liked about each one and deciding she really liked the teeny tiny, made for one person, pod type camper.  (She was probably thinking about having one like that for herself and letting the rest of us have a big one!)

When we've talked about traveling to Europe, our oldest also was a bit reticent about leaving her friends behind, even though we no longer live in the same town as her BFF.  But with the amazing technologies we have at our disposal like email and Skype, we assured her that we could always stay in touch these ways when mailing letters just isn't practical anymore.

For younger children, it's easy to get them excited about trying something new.  Children are naturally curious and love the idea of doing new things. 

The older ones easily get settled into routines that may be a challenge to loosen them from, but when we leave the lines of communication open and don't squash their anxieties or fears when they come to us, it really seems to help validate their feelings and gives you an opportunity to talk things out.  You can even let them know your own insecurities and fears about travel…just try not to make them anxious about something new!

We have also been checking out DVD's from the library about different countries we'd like to visit.  We watch lots of PBS episodes of Rick Steve's shows.  The children watch "Drive Thru History" episodes as part of their schooling.  (They're our FAVORITE way to supplement history!)

Each one of these, as well as talking about our plans, is how we're trying to ease our kids into a new mindset…that they're not going to have a childhood like their peers because we're going to do whatever we can to help them see the US and the world!

So, how do YOU get your kids excited about family travel?  Do you have some reluctant travelers that needed a bit more encouraging than others?

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