Going on a guided tour has tons of advantages if you’re travelling with a family. First of all, you get to visit some of the most iconic sights the destination has to offer without having to worry about planning anything. Not only that, but you can get access to packages that you wouldn’t be able to on your own, which allows you to make significant savings. However, if you’re travelling with a large group of kids, then the whole thing could easily turn into a logistical nightmare without the proper preparation. In this article, we’re going to give you a few simple tips for enjoying your next family guided tour.
Select the Tour Wisely
Choosing the right tour is probably the most important step if you want the tour to go as planned. There are tonnes of different tours out there, and some might be more suited for children than others. You also have to take into consideration what your children’s interests are if you don’t want them to get bored on a trip. Do you prefer to go for more high paced activities or something more educational?
You could also decide to go for tours designed specifically for children and parents. What’s great about these types of tours is that they will usually include lots of child friendly stops and attractions that will keep your children interested. Think more wildlife museums and less archaeological ruins. It will also give you the opportunity to travel with other families as well, which is always great.
The only issue is that the itineraries tend to be a little more rigid and leave less space for the imagination. If you want a little more leeway, you could work with companies like Fast Pass Tours instead that allow you to pick various family friendly attractions and make choices depending on your tastes. Based in France, you can even purchase tickets that allow you to bypass the queues to famous landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower. Another benefit of going down that route is that you can please all your children and choose tours that reflect their interests. If you have older children who have different tastes than younger ones, then it leaves you more space to keep everyone happy.
You also have to check the itinerary in detail and see how physically demanding it will be. While children can get hyperactive, an itinerary that is too difficult may make them irritable. And the last thing you want is to have a tantrum on your hands in the middle of a tour. So, make sure that you pick an itinerary that will be easy on them if you want them to be happy campers.
Check if There Are Any Age Restrictions
Most of the time, tours will have age recommendations. These are there for a reason. In some cases, it is because the attraction may not be the best suited for children under a certain age. This may be because the tour would be too physically demanding for small children or that the activity wouldn’t capture their interest.
In other cases, some tour companies might be happy to have children, but don’t necessarily cater to families. So, while you might enjoy your time, your children might be the only ones in the group, so be prepared for that. Spending a week with adults can be hard on children and having to entertain kids for a week because there aren’t any other kids present can be equally as hard on parents. It’s always better to do your research on the company you’re thinking of going with to see who exactly they cater to. You can also enquire with them as most will be more than happy to give you more information.
Consider When You’ll be Going
Double check the dates for any tour you’re thinking of booking before you leave. Some destinations cater to specific types of tourists and your children’s vacation may not coincide with their dates. So, make sure to book well in advance if you don’t want to deal with disappointment.
Get Your Kids Invested
Get your kids excited about the destination you’re going to visit and try to get them personally invested along the way. You could watch documentaries about the place you’re going to visit or read books on the destination. While you’re on the road, try to encourage them to take pictures or even write a journal. Encourage them to send postcards back to friends and family if you go on a multi-day tour across various destinations.
Give them the opportunity to make decisions and cast votes as to where you want to go next. While older children will often have very strong opinions, it’s very important to listen to even the youngest ones since they are the ones who are more likely to protest and be difficult. So, make sure that you get everyone involved and pick something for everyone.
Get Ready for a Disaster
At the end of the day, whatever you do, you just can’t get away from a good old-fashioned tantrum. One thing about group tours is that the pace is often out of your hands and can get frantic. This could leave your kids overwhelmed at the end of the day. Even if they don’t throw a tantrum, they might end up being cranky or tired after a day of walking.
The first thing you should do is try to keep your kids under a schedule so that they can get all the sleep they can in between days. Try to bring snacks with you and make sure that you bring lots of bottled water as well to make sure they are well hydrated along the way. This step alone could make a huge difference. Healthy snacks like granola bars and dried fruits are easy to carry and will keep their sugar levels up so that they have plenty of energy.
Find Out What Other Travellers Think
Most tour operator websites are made specifically to make you fall for a particular destination. But they usually don’t tell the whole story and you can’t base your opinion on a tour operator based on pretty pictures alone.
Try to find out what other people have to say about their tours and base your opinion on that. Some operators will be more than happy to refer you to previous clients, and you should take the opportunity, but always make sure that you get an independent opinion as well and see if they match up. This way you’ll know exactly what to expect.
Don’t pay too much attention to overly critical reviews either. Try to look at how many 3 and 4-star reviews there are as they will usually give you a more balanced opinion. You should also go for people who have a similar profile as yours. A single backpacker in their 20’s may have a whole other idea of a tour than you. Check what families had to say about the tour operator. Try to gauge if they felt welcomed and attended to. And also gauge if the stops were conducive to family fun. This will give you a full picture of what you can expect and help you in your decision.
If you manage to follow these few simple tips, you should have a great experience on your next guided tour. Whatever you do, always make sure that you get your children involved as much as you can and make their interests a priority.
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