How to get through a guided tour with kids

Are you struggling with ideas for your family vacation this summer? Why not do something different this year and visit one of Americas most famous cultural landmarks, such as going on a tour in New Orleans or San Francisco? We are big fans of guided tours; we would have been lost in destinations such as Pompeii and Paris (and even Gettysburg and San Francisco) without someone explaining what we were looking at.

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With a tour, you pick the itinerary, and the tour guides do the rest. Activities and accommodations are all arranged for you, all you need to do is arrive and have fun. A guided tour is a fantastic experience for you and the kids, but traveling with children can require some planning on your part.

Find a Reputable Tour Company That Deals with Children

The first step in planning your family tour is selecting the best tour operator in the city you want to visit. Search online for operators that specialize in handling kids. Your choice of service provider should have stellar reviews on both social media and Google.

Most tour companies have family packages offered at discounted rates, with all-in-one holidays that include accommodation, transport, and meals for you and the kids.

Research your Itinerary Beforehand

After narrowing down your options for the best tour operator, download their itinerary and review it with your partner before committing and money to it. Look at the list of destinations on the itinerary, will they be of interest to your children?

Don’t forget to include your kids in your decision, and if you want to show your children areas of the country that have cultural and historical significance, make sure you blend in some fun at a local theme park, zoo, or aquarium to balance the learning with the fun.

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Prep Your Kids for the Group Tour

Group tours cover a lot of ground over a week, so make sure that your kids are up for it. Sit your kids down and review the itinerary with them, show them exactly what you’ll be doing and where you’ll be visiting. Tell them that they’ll be doing a lot of walking, and then take them out to the mall for a pair of new sneakers, and some ice-cream.

Get your kids excited about the activities and search online for pictures of the places you’ll be visiting to get them excited about the trip. If this is your first trip out of town with your kids, make sure that they understand they’ll be living out of hotels. Throwing your children into a hotel environment can be bewildering for them.

It’s vital that you create a separation strategy in case your kids get lost. Make an info card that they can keep in their pockets and tell them where to go to get help if they can’t find you. Being lost in a new city is a terrifying experience for any child, so make sure you have a plan for this possibility, even if it doesn’t occur.

Keep Them Interested

Bored children become unmanageable very quickly. If you don’t keep the attention of your kids, they’ll become unruly and rowdy, or just downright crazy. Make sure you engage with your kids every step of the way and don’t leave them unattended, ever.

While most tours offer meals included, they won’t remember the snacks, so make sure that you have some healthy options on hand in case they get hungry in-between meals. Granola bars, fresh fruit, and low-calorie flavored waters are your best bets. Try to minimize their sugar intake on tour, sugar crashes will make your kids go haywire and ruin the outing.

Remember to check if your tour operator offers discounts on airfare, flying across the country with the whole family can be expensive, so inquire about this service.

About the author

Pit Stops for Kids AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly at a number of travel publications, and contributes to OutdoorsNW magazine as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.

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