It’s time to rethink your bucket list.
Too often, bucket lists are checklists of popular or expensive destinations, rather than meaningful ones. Instead, what if we loaded our bucket lists with the kinds of travel experiences we want to have with our kids? Not the trips that cost the most or involve flying the farthest, but ones that connect kids to the world, broaden their horizons, and teach them a thing or two.
We’ve got seven ideas to get you started. They’ll work with a range of budgets, and can be tailored to your family’s tastes.
The Camping Trip
What kid doesn’t dig the idea of sleeping in a tent? Beyond that, camping encourages kids to disconnect from devices, live with less, and connect to the sounds, smells and textures of nature. If you haven’t camped with your kids before, you might be surprised at how quickly they take wading through creeks, collecting leaves and examining rocks. And if a tent is truly beyond your comfort zone, there are other options, like car camping, cabin camping and even RVing.
The Wildlife Expedition
For many families, an African safari is the ultimate wildlife adventure, and it’s on a lot of bucket lists. But safaris can be prohibitively expensive, as well as challenging to plan, especially if you have small kids. But you can have an awe-inspiring wildlife experience closer to home—seeing sea turtles in Texas, kelp forests in California, or bison in Montana. These real-life encounters with animals encourage curiosity about and respect for other creatures.
The Beach Getaway
Some travelers are turned off by sandy escapes because they seem lazy and even cheesy. But lasting childhood memories can be made on the beach–building sand castles, splashing in the waves. A beach vacation can be soothing for everyone, and kids can learn about the beauty and power of the world’s oceans. Plus, what’s wrong with being a little lazy?
The History Trip
To kids, the past can seem distant, dusty and irrelevant. But you can bring it to life through travels. Tailor your trip to what they’re learning in school or to your family’s interests, whether that’s the Roman Empire or the Civil Rights Movement.
The Culinary Quest
“Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are,” said French gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin. For some travelers, every trip is about food. If that’s not you, consider building a journey around food. Book a food tour, take a cooking class, or embark on a search for your favorite version of a local dish. You just may find yourself looking at culture in a different way.
The Heritage Tour
Every family has a history. Give your kids a rich understanding of their ancestry by exploring it together. Show them where their parents or grandparents grew up, or go back even further. Some travel planners even specialize in putting together family-history trips.
The International Adventure
If you want your kids to grow up to be international travelers, start them young. If leaving the country with your children is intimidating, start in your backyard with Mexico or Canada. It will take your kids out of the bubble of their everyday lives and give them a taste of the world beyond our borders.