There are a ton of things that scare parents when it comes to taking the kids on family vacation.
- Crappy hotels
- Bad Weather
- Kids mis-behaving
Not sure which is really worse, fear of terrorists or the worry of how your kids will behave in a hotel restaurant. I'm sure you get my drift here. The list of travel fears could go on and on here.
Fear does serve it's purpose no doubt. There are also people who are anxious by nature so any stroll out of their comfort zone is going to cause them additional angst.
After 15 years of helping families plan vacations with their kids I've heard a lot of their fears. This was what inspired the writing and title of my book "Fearless Family Vacations - Make Everyone Happy Without Losing Your Mind".
Often the fears and anxieties that I hear from parents isn't reality. It's that little voice inside their heads that doesn't always tell the truth. Wheather is it true fear, worry or a simple lack of knowledge, the really sad part here is that often fear is the road block that prevents families from sharing some amazing life changing and bonding experiences with one another. I'd like to change this scenario with some tips to help parents no long fear their fear of traveling with kids....
Get Real - Talk to REAL travelers. Perferable in person but if your circle of friends is as worried as you are then search for travel bloggers or reach out on social media. Travel changes people - their insights and perceptions of the world. Most adventurers love to share their stories and no doubt they will help inspire you to get out and see the world.
Avoid Mainstream Media - Fear and scandal are what TV viewers tune into hear. It might be a great way to build audience to charge more for comercial space but it may not be the WHOLE truth. I have been on cruise ships with norovirus, Have been in destinations during and right after major hurricanes and I was in Mexico during the "Swine Flu Pandemic" scare. In all of these situations the truth was NOTHING like what was being reported in the media.
Admit Your Worries - Speak up and speak out. Share your concerns with others. This is especially true with it comes to travel. Your family members who will be traveling with you can be a great source of care and support when you need it. Often the thing that worries you the most may be a very easy fix for your travel agent.
Baby Steps - If travel makes you extremely anxious or perhaps this will be the first trip you're planning with your new infant then start small. Plan a weekend escape within driving distance of home. If the pressure is too much or if something hits the fan it's a short ride home to your comfort zone. Maybe then a four night cruise or a 2 hour flight. Start adding all these little adventures up and soon you'll be an experienced traveler in no time.
SH&% Happens Everywhere - Keep in mind bad things can happen to you whether you are at home or on vacation. No doubt there are places you know right here in the U.S. that you wouldn't consider safe to take your family but that doesn't mean our entire country is unsafe. The same is true when it comes to visiting other countries. Yes, you need to plan appropriately and follow guidelines but that doesn't mean you should fear traveling to places like Mexico or Central America. Check out what foreigners say about vacationing in the U.S.
Plan Peace of Mind - Travel Insurance can do a great deal to protect you and your family while on vacation. Travel insurance usually costs about 8% of the entire cost of your vacation. Make sure you are covered for Medical care, Trip cancellation and Trip interrurption as these are often the problems that will end up costing the most out of your pocket.
Get A Cheerleader - Everyone could use a bit of encouragement. An experiencedTravel Agent can be a great cheerleader along with the many other ways they can help. To agents, it's not about selling you a vacation, it's about building a relationship and becoming your travel partner for years to come. Why?...because they know how amazing travel experiences can be so they are a great person to "get real" with (see step one)
Travel with a Someone You Know - If you are concerned about being a novice traveler or want to go explore some place where you don't speak the language, a family guided tour is a fantastic option. With this type of vacation, your family will be traveling with other families along with a professional tour guide who will act as your host. This person is highly trained, experienced (often is a local) and speaks the language. Not only will they enhance the enjoyment of your trip they will take over all the logistics and worries for you.
If you need a few more cheerleaders to help give you moral support then plan a group vacation with family and friends. Not only does this extend your support system but it make take some of the money worries out of the equation with freebies and discounts that could also help your vacation budget.
Focus on the End Result - Overcoming your fear doesn't magically happen. It is the result of deliberate intention and conscious actions. Travel like so many other wonderful life skills takes practice. We plan and hope for the best and if it doesn't turn out we learn (and often come home with colorful stories to tell). I am so often inspired by the teaching of the Dalai Lama and I especially love what he says about fear...
Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
One of the most wonderful feelings there is happens when you face your fears and realize you have the strength to grow and overcome those worries. It is what builds our character and helps us to grow.