8 Unique Ways To Help Your Kids Make Friends When Travelling

8 Unique Ways To Help Your Kids Make Friends When Travelling

Children are curious by nature. Less cautious and more open-minded than us adults, they are able to transcend language barriers and make friends when presented with the opportunity to. Over the course of our travels with kids, we have witnessed how they are able to socialize easily with other children and adults, regardless of nationality.

8 Unique Ways To Help Your Kids Make Friends When Travelling

So, what are some ways you can help your children to make friends while on vacation?

1. Stay in family-run accommodation

8 Unique Ways To Help Your Kids Make Friends When Travelling

With platforms like AirBnb and HomeAway, travellers can now stay with hosts in a vacation rental rather than in hotels. When we stayed at a family-run hostel in Otaru and their family, our boys helped “babysit” the hostel owner’s 1 year old son, who bounced around behind our boys throughout the hostel. He was so happy to have other kids coming to play with him!

8 Unique Ways To Help Your Kids Make Friends When Travelling

The owner of the farmhouse that we stayed at in Kyoto also bought little toys for the boys which he picked up from the local supermarket while doing his grocery shopping.

2. Find a hotel with a Kids Club

8 Unique Ways To Help Your Kids Make Friends When Travelling

If you are not comfortable with staying in vacation rentals, no worries.  Many hotels and resorts these days have a Kids Club for children to gather and mingle during their stay.

8 Unique Ways To Help Your Kids Make Friends When Travelling

If you stay long enough in the hotel or resort, pretty soon your children would be friends with the other children at the Kids Club – and also the staff!

3. Dine in a local home

8 Unique Ways To Help Your Kids Make Friends When Travelling

If you like the idea of visiting a local home, but you’re not comfortable with staying under the same roof as the host, no worries. What if I told you that you could still visit a local home where you will be treated to a home-cooked meal by your host? BonAppetour links travelers to carefully curated hosts who will serve you a delicious meal and wonderful memories.

8 Unique Ways To Help Your Kids Make Friends When Travelling

Send a message to hosts in the city you are visiting to find out if they are able to host your family with children, and where available, pick out hosts who have children of their own. They will be more than happy to have your children over as playmates for their own children! When we were in Phuket, the boys not only made friends with our host’s daughter, they ended up having their own kids-only ice-cream party in the room!

4. Go on a cruise

8 Unique Ways To Help Your Kids Make Friends When Travelling

When you are moving from city to city on a single cruise ship for a few days, you can’t help but make friends with fellow passengers on the same ship. Many cruise ships have organised activities for children on board, and your kids will get to interact with children from all over the world through playgroups (for babies and toddlers) and adventure clubs (for older children).

8 Unique Ways To Help Your Kids Make Friends When Travelling

Chances are that they would even make friends with the friendly waiter who serves you dinner every evening!

5. Join a class for children

8 Unique Ways To Help Your Kids Make Friends When Travelling

Before visiting a city, google around for classes for children. Enrol your child in a kids cooking class like a macaron-making class in France or pizza and pasta-making class in Singapore. If you’re visiting a ski resort in winter, send your kids to the ski school.

8 Unique Ways To Help Your Kids Make Friends When Travelling

These are perfect opportunities for children to not only make friends, but to learn something new!

6. Visit a local festival

8 Unique Ways To Help Your Kids Make Friends When Travelling

A local festival is where everyone lets loose, and locals and travellers alike gather at a common place to mingle. When we were visiting the Hokkaido Shrine Festival, we took a seat along a stream together with the locals to enjoy the food we bought, and our boys went to make friends with the Japanese boy sitting next to them.

Despite the language barrier, they even traded some of their candy floss for the boy’s crackers!

7. Visit a playground

8 Unique Ways To Help Your Kids Make Friends When Travelling

Many kids-friendly attractions around the world have dedicated playgrounds for children. For example, the Singapore Zoo in Singapore and Zoorasia in Yokohama have wonderful playgrounds! If the attraction you are visiting has a playground, allocate ample time for the visit to allow your children to play at the playgrounds.

8 Unique Ways To Help Your Kids Make Friends When Travelling

They will have a great time mingling with other children, and will be much happier than if they were rushed from point to point to check off the attractions you have on your list (admit it, you have that list).

8. Queue up

8 Unique Ways To Help Your Kids Make Friends When Travelling

I know many people complain about the long queues at attractions like Tokyo Disneyland and Kidzania.  But being stuck in the queue – with other kids – is one of the best time for (bored) kids to make friends.

Ditch the smartphone and force your child to try to entertain himself or herself while in line. Chances are, your child will start making friends with the people in front or behind you. Try it!

Over to you

We hope that these tips will enhance your travels by creating opportunities for your children to interact with people from around the world and learn more about the country you are visiting. However, always exercise due vigilance, and keep your children under close supervision at all times.

While it is great to socialize, continue to be alert to possible dangers, and teach your children to be cautious and never follow their newfound friends anywhere without you.

Why Do People Travel? We Asked 14 Top Travel Bloggers, Here's What They Said

Why Do People Travel? We Asked 14 Top Travel Bloggers, Here’s What They Said

Ask anyone what their dreams are, and the resulting list would almost certainly include: travel the world.

For a long time, this ranked highly on my own bucket list as well, but I wasn’t the unique butterfly I thought I was. Wanderlust seems to be a universal desire amongst men and women, almost like a common gene that we all share.

(Or a mental illness. But I digress)

But really, why do people love to travel? Is it simply the effect of reading one too many quotes about travel on social media?

To answer this question, we decided to ask the very people who have made it their job – and life’s mission – to travel the world. We talked to top travel bloggers across several countries, asking them a simple question: what do you love the most about travelling?

As if we needed any more reasons to travel. Disclaimer: we are not to be held responsible for any sudden onset of wanderlust whatsoever (or are we?).

Here’s what they shared with us.

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Johnny Jet from Johnny Jet

why do people travel johnny jet travel blogger

Last seen: Skiing at Mad River Valley, Vermont.

Why he loves to travel:

My favorite thing about traveling is seeing new places, meeting its people, trying their foods and sharing my experiences with my friends/family/followers.

Sabrina Iovino from Just One Way Ticket

why do people travel just one way ticket travel blogger

Last seen: Driving an ATV across Namibia, South Africa.

Why she loves to travel:

For me its definitely trying new cuisines and experiencing a new culture. We can learn so much by seeing how the world works on the other side of the planet.

Yaya and Lloyd from Hand Luggage Only

why do people travel hand luggage only travel blogger

Last seen: Getting a suntan at the Maldives.

Why they love to travel:

One thing that we love most about travel is the diversity you experience, nothing is ever the same. Travel really does open your mind and broaden your horizons… it has an infectious ability to enrich your life and truly appreciate how special our world is.

Also, travel is all about the experiences and the emotive connection you have with a place or time. For us, travel creates lasting memories and beautiful experiences that are invaluable.

Anette White from Bucket List Journey

why do people travel bucket list journey travel blogger

Last seen: Diving through the waters of Raja Ampat, Indonesia.

Why she loves to travel:

I travel because of a pure fascination with the world and desire to get to know it better. But, mostly I travel to learn, not only about the places I visit and people I meet, but also about myself.

Anton Diaz from Our Awesome Planet

why do people travel our awesome planet travel blogger

Last seen: Exploring burial traditions at Sagada, Philippines.

Why he loves to travel:

I love discovering other cultures through food and staying with the locals when I travel but what I love most about traveling are the misadventures that happen along the way and how it brings out the best (or worst) from your travel companions.

Sharon Gourlay from Where’s Sharon

why do people travel wheres sharon travel blogger

Last seen: Touring the beaches and markets of Ballina, Australia.

Why she loves to travel:

I am an experience junkie – I want to experience everything! Travel helps me achieve this and that’s what I love most about travel.

Mervin Marasigan from Pinoy Adventurista

how do people travel Pinoy Adventurista travel blogger

Last seen: Hanging out in Tagaytay City, Philippines.

Why he loves to travel:

What I love about traveling is meeting new people and learning new cultures. That is something that we don’t learn in school or read in books.

Mark Wiens from Migrationology

why do people travel migrationology travel blogger

Last seen: Eating his way through markets and restaurants in La Boqueria, Barcelona.

Why he loves to travel:

When I travel, there’s nothing I enjoy doing more than eating local food in a typical atmosphere, preferably at street foods stalls or family run restaurants. It’s a thrill to taste dishes and different combinations of ingredients, and to connect with the local culture through food.

Christy Woodrow from Ordinary Traveler

why do people travel ordinary traveler travel blogger

Last seen: Seeing the great outdoors in Alberta, Canada.

Why she loves to travel:

The thing I love the most about travel is how it opens our eyes to other cultures. People around the world may have different life experiences, speak another language, or practice a different religion, but the ways in which we similar are far greater than the ways in which we are diverse.

Lin Ying from Bumble Bee Mum

why do people travel bumble bee mum travel blogger

Last seen: Checking out child-friendly board game shops in Singapore.

Why she loves to travel:

What I love most about travelling is experiencing something that I cannot find in Singapore, like touching the snow, viewing autumn leaves, tasting authentic local food, and so on.

Nick Wharton from Goats On The Road

why do people travel goats on the road travel blogger

Last seen: Preparing to leave Grenada, where they spent 1.5 years.

Why they love to travel:

The thing that we love the most about travelling is learning about new cultures and interacting with the local people. We love learning about what their lives are like and forging friendships with the people of the countries we visit. That’s what travel is all about to us.

Erin Bender from Travel With Bender

why do people travel travel with bender travel blogger

Last seen: Enjoying the facilities in a luxury resort at Marival, Mexico.

Why she loves to travel:

The ability to see that the world is all the same. Everyone smiles, everyone cries, language is universal and all cultures are beautiful. And if you can see it with a child, it becomes even more magical!

Dan Miller from Points With A Crew

why do people travel points with a crew travel blogger

Last seen: Trying to book a lie-flat flight to Peru (yes, such things exist).

Why he loves to travel:

The part I love most about traveling is seeing new places, and introducing my family and 6 kids to different ways of life and different ways of doing things.

Maria Wulff Hauglann from Nerd Nomads

why do people travel nerd nomads travel blogger

Last seen: Spending 2 weeks instead of 5 days in Tokyo because why not?

Why they love to travel:

We love that each day is different when we travel. When waking up in a new place we never quite know what the day will bring as we step out the door. And that is exciting.

Bonus: 2 more top bloggers who love to travel!

Clelia Mattana from Keep Calm And Travel

Why Do People Travel? We Asked 14 Top Travel Bloggers, Here's What They Said

Last seen: Enjoying sun, sand, and sea in the Philippines.

Why she loves to travel:

What I love the most about travelling is the constant challenge. Everyone else rightly empathise how meeting new people and discovering new cultures can open your mind, and I couldn’t agree more. For me in particular, given that I’ve been suffering from panic attacks since the age of 17, travelling is also a way to push myself, face my biggest fears, and as a result grow as an individual. You can also do it at home of course, but it’s a lot more challenging (and rewarding) when you are in a completely different environment!

Jacob Fu from Local Adventurer

Why Do People Travel? Here's What 14 Top Travel Bloggers Told Us

Last seen: Exploring the world’s smallest park in Portland.

Why they love to travel:

We love that you can never be bored in this world because there’s always something new to experience. It could be photographing a new landscape, or trying new foods or activities, or learning something new about another culture.

Over to you

Do you love to travel too? Tell us why (or why not) on Twitter @BonAppetour!

Why Travel Is About More Than Clichés And Selfies

Why Travel Is About More Than Clichés And Selfies

Exploration has driven humans to expand to new frontiers for millennia. The pull of the unseen and the unknown has been enough to convince intrepid travelers to give up the comforts of home and set out for the great beyond.

The problem is, the great beyond now seems to be filled with selfie sticks and tour buses.

travel tourists selfie sticks

I stood in line for my first passport at the not-so-tender age of 19 because I could feel the idea of travel weighing upon me. But never having left my home country, that same idea felt completely out of reach. The passport booklet, filled with its 40 pristine pages, was the essential first step to seeing the world that lay beyond the boundaries of my hometown.

To break in my new found freedom, I booked a trip to Italy. The 10-day tour took us from the canals of Venice, through the Renaissance streets of Florence, and straight into the picture-perfect ancient mishmash of modern Rome.

Everything was new, exciting, and borderline infuriating.

travel tourists tours crowd

Here’s why: around every corner was yet another line for yet another monument. The sites themselves were stunning, but being forced to wait behind throngs of tourists destroyed some of the grandeur.

Our attempts at dining sometimes fared no better. White-aproned hosts beckoned to us with tempting English language menus, but we left the red-checkered tables unconvinced we had really been served authentic home cooking.

We walked the cobblestones streets wondering if this was really what travel was all about – selfies and social media check-ins.

travel tourists food pasta

Following that fateful trip, I have since moved to Rome and stood in line at the embassy to add more pages to that same passport. On a plane or a train nearly every two weeks, I have realized that there will always be other tourists.

However, I prefer to leave them to the bucket list sites and chart my own path in every new city.

Dare to say yes

Travelling has taught me that a lot of the experience is about taking a risk and saying yes. Yes to the plane tickets, yes to the off-the-beaten track neighborhood, and yes to the invitations to see sites that are off the beaten path.

That was why I said yes to the lunch invitation from the front desk girl at my hostel in Marrakesh. One hour and one horse-and-cart ride later, we were watching her brother’s wedding video, sipping mint tea and eating couscous with her entire family in their 800-year-old Berber home.

Able to communicate mainly through pointing and smiles, it was one of the best meals of my life.

travel tourists morocco

Wandering through countries and continents, I have learned that I prefer to skip the typical guidebook must-sees and take a seat at the table. And food is undeniably the best gateway into a new city.

The dinner table is where you go to be nourished, but also where you can learn the norms of a new culture, including how to fare la scarpetta (sop up the sauce) at the end of your homemade pasta dinner.

travel tourists home cooked food pasta

The flavors on the plate in front of you represent the history and traditions of a given place. At the same time, each meal is a chance to simultaneously make very new and very modern real-world connections.

This simple travel tip holds true away from the table as well. I have found that the best place to feel the pulse of a city is at the market rather than at a museum. While you will find few Romans waiting in line at the Vatican, I guarantee you will find every local sitting down for a meal each day. The next step is to be invited to join them.

Social media (and selfies) keep us connected to home while traveling, but it is the unpretentious of act of eating that makes the experience of escape more unique.  That’s why my FOMO (fear of missing out) has more to do with tracking down a rare craft beer than it does with a major monument.

travel tourists tours colosseum

Plus, everyone knows that the best way to see the Colosseum is from a private dining room table.

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Tired of doing the typical touristy stuff? Go beyond clichés and selfies in your travels by dining in a home restaurant instead. 

Image credits: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

7 Non-Touristy Things You Should Definitely Do In Rome

7 Non-Touristy Things You Should Definitely Do In Rome

As a newly minted college graduate, I headed to Italy with my Italian art studies class in the summer of 2001. Our group visited cities such as Pompeii, Rome, Florence, and Venice, and I also detoured to Munich, Germany from Venice on a free day.

While these three weeks were among the best of my life, I experienced massive art overload. On some days, it felt like every other building in Rome was a church, with gelato shops taking up the other half.

If I return (and I’m determined to), I plan to do a lot more non-touristy things such as eat like a local in Rome. Here’s my hit list below.

1. Head over to the Parco Degli Acquedotti

7 Non-Touristy Things You Should Definitely Do In Rome

The antique stone aqueducts – or waterways – found in this park make for one of the most tranquil spots in the Roman environs. It’s a spot frequented more by the locals as opposed to tourists.

If you want to practice your photography skills, you’ll get an excellent head start right here.

2. Dine with locals

The food in Rome is amazing, but my experience was limited to restaurants. How awesome would it be to dine with actual Roman families and to enjoy authentic, non-touristy food?

You can find unique home restaurants (such as a meal on a rooftop home) with BonAppetour, and then kick back and relax with host families for a truly Italian experience. Their Rome page includes many awesome food experiences happening in the Roman capital.

While most of the tourists are busy rushing to “top-rated restaurants” they’ve seen in their cliché tourist guides -so they can tick off one more item on their “must-do lists”- you can sit down with home-chef Alessandro and enjoy his truly Roman feast overlooking the Vatican City or join a 3 Course Pasta Making Cooking Class in Rome.

7 Non-Touristy Things You Should Definitely Do In Rome

Don’t worry about language barriers. Many of the hosts speak English – there is always at least one person present who speaks English. Besides, if you are looking to improve your Italian-speaking skills, this is a fantastic opportunity to grab.

3. Go to San Lorenzo

Local culture flourishes in the trendy San Lorenzo neighborhood. College students and alternative forms of art (think graffiti and street art) proliferate here.

4. Explore Rome’s gay culture

Rome has a fabulous gay culture that is fun for all types of people. Clubs such as Glamda will spice up your nightclub experience, and be sure to explore Gay Street, as the gay area of Rome is known. It’s near the Colosseum, and easy to get to.

5. Take in the Municipal Rose Garden of Rome

The Municipal Rose Garden of Rome (Roseto Comunale di Roma in Italian) is another spot that tourists tend to skip. Which is great for you, as it is one of the most enchanting spots in Rome, even if you are not a huge flower lover. But if you are, all the better!

7 Non-Touristy Things You Should Definitely Do In Rome

Living here are more than 1100 rose varieties donated by many different countries. This is an ideal spot to walk, relax, and catch your breath from the busyness that can be Rome.

6. Watch a film flick at Cinema Farnese

Cinema Farnese is a family-run theater with balcony seating. It’s popular with the locals, and you can choose from both artsy movies and commercial successes. If you want an authentic Italian experience, this is one that you shouldn’t miss.

Show up during a festival or premiere at the movie house, though, and you may also experience a bit of glamour (as well as films in languages other than Italian).

7. Simply wander

One thing I do whenever I am in a new city is to start from somewhere – anywhere – and just walk and wander. It’s one of the best ways to find spots off the beaten path, and to become familiar with a place. You never know what adventures await around the corner.

7 Non-Touristy Things You Should Definitely Do In Rome

If nothing else, walk or bike along Via Appia – and if walking is not your thing, you can still do a spot of wandering via the bus or subway.

Image credits: 1