TRAVEL for many is now a family affair according to research commissioned by Visa (reported via ehotelier.com).
The study, which spanned eight major Asia Pacific markets, found a staggering 82 percent of its respondents had traveled with their families in the past 12 months.
In Singapore, parents took this a step further. Insights gathered by The Asian Parent found that nearly a quarter of mums and dads surveyed, not only holidayed with their children but actively involved them in the decision-making process too.
As opportunities to relax and spend quality time together can be rare amidst the hustle and bustle of modern living, it’s no surprise that family travel is so popular. Yet, while this is motivation enough to jet off regularly, these getaways are also important for bonding, whether that be through playing games, exploring new places, or making memories.
For some parents, it can even be more liberating than other types of vacation. “We have a bundle of joy and a fun, different perspective on travel now, that we didn’t have before,” explained Mei and Jo, bloggers and chief editors at CCFoodTravel, who include their baby daughter in their globetrotting adventures.
Beyond the mutual benefits, the Telegraph reports that for children, regular travel can have a positive effect on the brain giving them formative advantages. This boost to cognitive development can improve things like concentration and attention as well as stress regulation and mental wellbeing.
However, although there are many positives, traveling with kids does have its challenges.
Depending on their age and eating habits, mealtimes can be tough to navigate.
“Nutrition is always a challenge especially when traveling to third world countries, so we bring our own, and that’s also another huge plus of breastfeeding – nutrition on the move,” said Mei and Jo.
For young children, eating in new and unfamiliar settings can be a harder task to master as good habits may be difficult to maintain when there are distractions and disruptions to their normal routine.
According to Trips with Tykes, the best age to take to the skies is between three and nine months old as babies are more likely to sleep through the journey. Tots aged two and over can also be good flyers as their longer attention spans make them easier to occupy.
However, those that fall in the middle of these two groups can find plane travel more testing. Between the ages of nine and twenty-four months, children are more active and aware of their environment, which could make them less willing to sit for long periods.
They can display greater sensitivity too, to things like air pressure and jet lag. Unlike older kids though, they may struggle to understand what is happening which may make them more prone to tears.
While travel is exciting, new things and new places can make children of any age anxious. This can make it impossible to put together efficient itineraries and even place restrictions on where and how destinations can be explored.
Yet despite this and the other challenges, a lot of parents do make traveling with their kid’s work, and many speak of the benefits as a result.
Although there are no quick-fix or easy solutions to the discomforts that can be inevitable, family travelers say patience, careful planning and limiting the disruption to sleep patterns and other routines can go a long way to help.