Whether you’ve been dreaming of taking a family trip or a solo adventure, now is the time to do some research on the places in your travel bucket list.
Coming up with a list of dream destinations is also a great way to engage your children in learning about the world. Even if you’re not planning a trip immediately, working on a bucket list will help you dream now and travel later.
There are lots of ways to do armchair traveling: reading books, watching movies and TV shows, listening to podcasts, songs about traveling or taking online tours. Ask your child’s teacher if he or she has information on organizations that connect pen pals. Writing to someone their own age in another country can help children expand their horizons.
Don’t overlook the kitchen when you’re doing vacation research. You can involve the whole family in searching recipes, making a list of ingredients and cooking a meal that’s from a place on your travel bucket list. When you finally get there, you’ll be able to compare your effort with the local cuisine.
As an easy first step, have your kids interview friends or family members who have traveled to another country or a different part of the United States. Help them draw up a list of questions to ask: How far away is this place? What were their favorite attractions and foods? What souvenirs did they bring home? If it’s a foreign country, ask how the languages, money and customs were different.
Museum websites are also a good way to pique your children’s curiosity about places across the country and around the world, helping them figure out which spots they’d like to visit.
For children obsessed with dinosaurs, New York City’s American Museum of Natural History (amnh.org) has lots of online photos, as well as games and other activities. If your family loves the beach and swimming, check out northern California’s Monterey Bay Aquarium (montereybayaquarium.org), to learn about marine life and view the aquarium’s webcams. From your living room, your children can explore the world of flight at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum (airandspace.si.edu) in Washington, D.C. A virtual tour of The Louvre (louvre.fr) in Paris offers an up-close look at the Mona Lisa.
Books — including novels, memoirs and travelogues — are a perfect way to become immersed in a new place without leaving home. Browse your library’s online catalog or search online book listing to help you put together a list of titles to read that will whet your appetite for travel.
For travel ideas delivered to your inbox, Travel Leaders Group has launched Armchair Explorer. The weekly emails include entries on topics such as the best places to go whale watching, breathtaking online tours of national parks and museums, wonders of the world such as the Taj Mahal in India and Rome’s Colosseum, and links to travel audiobooks. To opt in, visit TravelLeadersGroup.com/advisors to connect with a travel advisor.
For help navigating any travel plans, contact your travel advisor or connect with one through Travel Leaders / Destinations Unlimited.